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Highlighting Your Landscape

Highlighting your landscape, especially certain features of it, can set your home apart from all the others around the neighborhood. Be it the front or backyard, with the right type of lighting accenting certain features of your house, plants, or walkways, you can transform the ordinary yard to something amazing.

Start by stepping out to the curb of your home right around dusk, and think about what you would like to highlight. Think about how much light you want in certain places and even the type of light: soft, bright, colored, etc. Now do the same for the back, but as you do so, walk around and consider pathways, water features, special areas, or corners, and think about how they might look highlighted in the evening light. What do you really want to stand out or reflect light upon?

Once you have an idea of where and what you want to highlight, look at the styles, types, and designs of lighting that will accomplish your desire. There is so much to choose from and the Internet is filled with ideas and suppliers. Some types of lighting to consider are:

Accent Lighting: These put out controlled beams of light, accenting flowers or small points of interest in your landscape.

Down Lighting: These are spotlights placed high, out of sight, in trees. These fixtures shine down, illuminating details surrounding the tree. This should be a more ambient light for entertaining purpose, but is strong enough for security and safety. A professional might even recommend mercury vapor outdoor tree lights that are designed to render the moon’s natural glow, with an increased bluish cast. Use colored lights sparingly, since they tend to appear less natural and too much will overwhelm the effect you are trying to achieve.

Up Lighting: Place these lights at the base of a structure or tree for a dramatic effect. Your autumn colors will be slightly captured as breezes blow through leaves.

Spot Lighting: These are more like floodlights that are directly aimed at stronger elements, such as statues or maybe water features.

Moon Lighting: These are floodlights placed high in trees to wash large areas with light and replicate the shine of a full moon. Angle a series of lights to achieve this effectively.

Shadow Lighting: Place these lights in such a way as to cast shadows from trees or sculptures, creating the contrast of light and shadow caused from a full moon.

Cross Lighting: Light up a tree or statue from two or more directions to give it a three-dimensional aspect.

Mood Lighting: This is an effect captured by mixing different light intensities. Layers of soft light, blended with stark shadow and bright spots will captivate the eye.

Mirror Lighting: This is achieved by lighting up a garden element so that it will be reflected in a pool of water.

Path Lighting: For obvious reasons, this is lighting that will make walkways safer and highlight any special effects of your pathway, such as flag stone. This lighting is most often low-voltage or solar powered and is easy to install.

Back Lighting: This is special effect lighting for large surfaces such as walls. The effect will cause objects in front of the lighting to appear as silhouettes, much more defined than shadowing.

Graze Lighting: This light will highlight raised edges of a surface as it casts deep, dark shadows in crevices. Position lights close to interesting, deeply textured surfaces, such as a brick wall, for emphasis on the texture.

Diffused Lighting: This type of lighting is most often used to cover a wide area with low-level illumination of soft light, such as patios, decks, and driveways.

Layering some of these types of lighting will produce strong contrast, creating an effect of a brilliant full moon. Set a mood or showcase the features of your home and landscape to their fullest advantage.

Large jobs should have some help and advice from a professional as the traditional landscaping lights require more work and need underground installation. They are connected to an outlet and operate from a switch and with dimmer switches added, the effect can convey the amazing view you were going after.

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