Friday, May 2, 2014

Putting the Spotlight on Landscape Lighting

 A quality job of landscape lighting will turn an ordinary home and garden into the extraordinary. It allows you to showcase trees and other focal points, as well as to take the spotlight off of areas you’d rather people not see. Lighting also provides safety and security, and a good way to increase the value of your property. Whether you choose to go dramatic or subtle with your lighting effects, you can create a whole different level of beauty at your home.

There are a variety of options when it comes to landscape lighting.
  • Up-lighting – To achieve dramatic effects, up-lights are a great way to illuminate small trees or ones with interesting trunks. Experts usually recommend using mercury vapor lights for up-lighting purposes.
  • Down-lighting – The idea of down-lighting is to mimic the effects of a full moon shining down on a yard. When properly done, it creates unique shadows on the ground. Mercury vapor is also a good choice for down-lighting because it highlights the green colors in plants.
  • Feature lighting – This can be compared to using a spotlight. Feature lighting is perfect for highlighting fountains, address signs, sculptures, and benches. Incandescent bulbs are recommended for this purpose because they bring out the colors in materials like stone, brick, and wood.
  • Incandescent lighting – As stated, incandescent lights emphasize colors and features of your home and landscaping. A great benefit is that incandescent lights can be dimmed, which allows for added drama. They are well-suited for lighting arbors, columns, and other landscaping elements.
  • Architectural illumination – This describes the use of various lighting techniques to focus on a home’s architecture.

In addition to selecting the type of landscape lighting that best suits your goals and your property, there are some other important things to consider. The voltage is one element to decide upon. High voltage lighting illuminates large area of lawn and big trees. An example is mercury vapor lights. Low voltage lighting usually requires 12 volts and are common for illuminating residential paths and small items like sculptures, outdoor fountains or fireplaces, and urns. Unlike high voltage lights that require conduit, low voltage is less expensive; however, the wiring may be damaged during yard work.

Another consideration is the type of controls for your lighting system. Mechanical time clocks avoid wasting electricity and going through lots of light bulbs, and are recommended for up-lighting, feature lighting, and architectural lighting. Such timers are also helpful because you don’t have to remember to turn the lights on and off. A different type of control is called a photocell, which monitors natural light. Photocell controls are commonly used with down-lighting.

One of the most important choices you’ll make about landscape lighting is who will design, plan, and install your system. Expertise is required to determine the ideal placement of lights so that you don’t see too many fixtures or end up with glares. The experts at C4 Landscape and Design are qualified to handle your lighting, whether it’s a big job or a small one.


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