Light vs Dark: A Guide to Creating a Balanced Landscape Lighting Design

Light vs Dark: A Guide to Creating a Balanced Landscape Lighting Design

There’s a high level of pride that comes with having a beautiful yard.

During the day you can enjoy a beautiful lawn, decorative shrubs, a wonderful porch or deck, and all the other fabulous features of your yard. However, once the sun goes down, all that hard work goes to waste.

Having the right landscape lights can make your yard the favorite place to be in the evening. It can also bring out the beauty of your yard that you’d never see in daylight.

Think About the Atmosphere

The first thing you need to think about when you’re doing a landscape lighting design is what sort of atmosphere you want to create.

The way you light your yard will determine the feel of the space, whether that’s warm and romantic, bright and festive, mysterious or modern. Before you can decide on anything about your lighting design you need to have a vision in place for the space.

If you want something warm and romantic that evokes the feeling of sitting outside a café in Rome on a late summer evening, you’ll want to go for more yellow-toned lights. If you want bright and modern, similar to the feel of walking around outside an art museum, go for bright white LEDs that are strategically placed to highlight architectural features of your landscape. If you want something bright and festive, consider using light fixtures that make a bit more of a statement or even different colored lights.

Path and Driveway Lighting

One of the first things you need to account for in your lighting design is path and driveway lighting.

No one wants to stumble down a dark path, so having driveway lights can help you keep from running into the beautiful grass you spent so long cultivating. Also, burglars are less likely to rob a well-lit house than a dark one.

For path lights, you may want to use lights that point downward. This will help illuminate the path better, as well as avoiding having lights that glare in people’s eyes. You can use your path lights as an opportunity to show off some of the flair and style you’ve picked out for your yard.

Entry Lighting

Entries are also one of the first things you need to plan for in your lighting design. A lit entry will make your home more welcoming to guests and keep anyone from sneaking up on your home. You need to light all entrances to your home, whether you regularly use them or not.

Decide whether you want one overhead light for your entryways or sconce lights that sit on either side of the door. You need to make sure these lights blend into your overall lighting aesthetic. You don’t want to have warm lights around the paths in your backyard and then bright daylight LEDs on your front porch.

Deck and Patio Lighting

Decks and patios are where you spend time enjoying your yard. From backyard barbeques, to a glass of wine on a summer evening, it’s your own slice of backyard paradise. Your deck needs to be lit well enough that you can enjoy those times without squinting to see your relatives or against the glare of too bright lights.

Use your lighting to highlight the areas of your deck that you use the most, whether that be a seating area or an outdoor kitchen or grill. You can use up-lighting to show off a patio umbrella or a porch ceiling while creating a nice ambient light source. You should also highlight railings to give your patio some definition and boundaries.

Architectural Feature Lighting

You’ve worked hard to build a beautiful home and yard, and your lighting can show off the beauty in all new ways. Your lighting shouldn’t only show the same beauty that the daytime does, it should also bring out all the new dimensions of beauty in your home.

An interestingly textured wall can be highlighted with a raking light that catches on all the edges and features. Spotlights placed at the foot of a large tree in your yard can highlight its elegant reach and curves. Talk to a landscape lighting designer who has experience looking for these opportunities to bring out new features in your yard.

Lighting Plants

You’ve worked as hard on your landscaping as you have on your home, and you should show those plants off. We’ve already mentioned that lighting a tree can help show off its lines more than even daylight can. The same is true of the rest of your landscaping.

Set small spots in ornamental bushes to show off their colors and shapes, as well as to define the boundary of your yard. If you have a flower garden that you’re especially proud of, set up some lights to show it off. Even a well-lit herb garden near an outdoor kitchen can be a beautiful way to bring an Italian class to your home.

Avoid Light Pollution

Although you want to make sure your home is well-lit, you don’t want to light the place up so much that you can’t see the stars. Light pollution can also wash into your house, making it hard to sleep and wasting energy. It can also make it unpleasant to sit out in your yard if you’re squinting against lights that glare into your eyes.

Make sure when you’re installing your lights that you aim them carefully to make the most of them without having to crank up the wattage. In fact, you should try to minimize wattage as much as possible, as it won’t improve the aesthetics and will create a harsher effect.

Try using shield bulbs with reflectors to concentrate light where you want it, making the most of that illumination.

Learn More About Landscape Lights

Having a good design for your landscape lights can transform how you experience your backyard. The right lighting can make even ordinary landscaping seem magical and elegant. With a beautiful landscape lit correctly, every evening can feel like a scene from your favorite movie.

If you’d like to build the best lighting design for your yard, come see us at Lighting Distinctions. We’re your LED lighting experts and we can help you transform your landscape. Request a free consultation today and discover the beauty that can come out in the right light.