Landscaping Services

Landscape Lighting in Interior Design

Landscape lighting allows a home to be more visible after dark, which promotes additional safety and security. It can also enhance a property’s curb appeal and provide a variety of visual effects.

Before meeting with a landscape lighting designer, list must-haves and wants. It’s best to be frank about budget limitations, too. Read to learn more.

landscape lighting

Focal points are a great way to create a visual stepping-stone for guests navigating your landscape at night. They draw the eye and leave a lasting impression. While it may be tempting to light everything in your yard, having a few major and minor focal points is important. It’s a lot like painting: you don’t want to highlight every inch of your canvas but rather focus on key areas that will make an impact.

Often, focal points are naturally occurring features in your landscape, such as a tree or rock feature. However, several landscape lighting options exist for more unique elements and structures that could be more natural. For example, if you have an artistic water feature, a statue, or even your home, you can turn these features into landscape lighting focal points and enhance their overall effect at night. Special lighting options for some special items, such as LEDs or fiber optics, can help them shine in ways they never could during the day.

If there are areas of your property that you’d like to make more noticeable, such as a dark hiding spot where potential thieves might be able to hide, it’s important to let your landscape lighting designer know about them. They’ve seen a lot of landscapes in their time, and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll have some good ideas for making them safer at night.

After thoroughly discussing all your needs and wants, your designer will put together a formal design document with a plan of what each fixture will look like. That is also a great time to ask any questions you have — after all, this investment will affect how you use your outdoor spaces. Many contractors now offer interactive designs, video “tours,” and similar tools to give you a real sense of your landscape lighting once installed. That’s a huge benefit that can save you from miscommunications later in the process, leading to costly mistakes.

Landscape lighting can illuminate pathways and other walkways on your property at night, primarily for safety reasons but also to create attractive lighting effects. Pathway lights can also help to highlight and define the edges of retaining walls, patios, ponds, and other hardscape features on your property.

The most common path lighting style is a simple fixture resembling a small lantern or lamppost with a single or dual light source. These fixtures work well in almost any environment because they don’t draw attention to themselves or conflict with architectural styles. They also tend to have a lower price tag than many other fixtures.

Decorative path lighting is often available in more ornate styles that make a statement, adding visual intrigue to pathways and gardens. These fixtures are usually larger than the classic style and may also be available in more elaborate designs. Whether the institution is an ornamental feature or not, it should be placed carefully in the landscape to ensure the overall effect is visually pleasing.

For example, the fixture in the image below is positioned next to a planter bed, enhancing the garden and creating a focal point. The fixture’s hard angles complement the lines of the retaining wall, stairs, and pathway it illuminates.

Illuminating a swimming pool, fountain, or other water feature is another popular use of landscape lighting. In addition to the visual appeal of these lights, they can serve a practical purpose by showing swimmers where the bottom of the pool is at night. This type of lighting is usually recessed into the pool deck and controlled by timers, photocells, or motion sensors that turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.

When installing landscape lighting, the most important consideration is always safety. A well-designed system will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries by making it easier to navigate your property after dark. However, even the safest methods will only prevent some accidents from occurring, and you should always be aware of your surroundings.

Often a major focal point of a home, a deck should receive the same landscape lighting treatment as other elements on your property. Illuminating the structure will reveal its beauty at night, make it easier to enjoy your favorite seating area, and help guests navigate stairways safely.

Stair lighting can be as simple or elegant as your deck’s design. Linear step lights can be spaced closely along a stair to illuminate each step as they climb, while recessed fixtures in the risers can be more discreet. Your landscape lighting designer will help you decide what type of stair light is best for your deck.

You may have other architectural features of your landscape that you’d like to highlight with landscape lighting. For example, a large mature tree or a freestanding wall might be a great focal point. Using a combination of techniques, your landscape lighting design professional will highlight your feature’s unique shape and color with varying intensity levels to create a dramatic effect at night.

A gazebo or other screened-in outdoor areas can also benefit from adding landscape lighting. They’re often used for entertaining or relaxing and are a nice way to add additional living space to your property after the sun goes down. Similarly, a pool or spa can be an impressive part of your landscape at night when it’s lit up with underwater and illuminating lights.

Your landscape lighting professional will take a thorough walkthrough of your property to look at each of the features you want to illuminate. That will also allow the designer to see what angles you’ll view each component from and how it might look when adorned with landscape lighting at night.

Once you’ve discussed your goals for landscape lighting with your consultant, they will create a detailed plan. The plan will include the type of fixture you’ll need and a schematic illustrating how each light will be installed on your property. The schematic will also show a timeline for when the project should be completed so you’re ready to illuminate your yard at night with ease.

Your landscape lighting design may include several different fixtures that offer a wide range of effects. Choosing what you want to highlight is about personal taste and the property’s unique features. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Whether you’re highlighting a stone patio, a fire pit, or another feature of your outdoor living space, focusing light on these structures can elevate their appearance. For example, a linear fixture can cast a soft glow that makes a masonry wall more interesting or draw attention to the graceful curve of a set of steps.

You can also use lighting to create special effects by playing with shadows and light. For instance, Dubreuil suggests filtering light downward through the canopy of a large tree to create a lacy effect, and Barton suggests aiming lights upward to emphasize the shape of a focal point or to project dramatic shadows on the home’s architecture.

Use decorative lights like sconces or hanging lanterns to add a little pizazz to a patio or deck. Alternatively, you could opt for pendants over a dining area to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

A well-lit deck is an inviting gathering spot after dark. It can be even more enjoyable for parties and dinners that extend into the evening when guests can easily move about the deck and enjoy the view.

Landscape lighting can also illuminate a pool, spa, or other water features, making them safe for guests. Decorating these spaces can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries when guests venture into unlit areas after dark.

In addition to the functional and aesthetic aspects of landscape lighting, it can help your property stand out from the neighborhood, boosting its resale value when you’re ready to sell it. To achieve the best results, consult a trained professional to develop an illumination plan uniquely suited to your property and lifestyle. Your designer will be happy to work with your budget and any specific goals you have in mind for your yard.