Enhance Your Older Home's Curb Appeal With Garden Lighting
If you thought you needed to be an electrician or a landscape architect to know how to install garden lights, think again. Low voltage outdoor lighting systems have changed all that. No permits are required, the cables don't need to be heavily protected and buried, the only special equipment you need is a step-down transformer, and D.I.Y. kits are available at most garden centers.
Why Install Garden Lighting?
Garden lighting serves 3 main purposes: safety, security, and decoration. Keep all these purposes in mind when planning your garden lighting layout. You want to show off your plantings to best advantage but also keep guests safe and secure. Your garden light design, therefore, should always include low lights along pathways as well as along steps, walls, and railings for safety as well as for aesthetic reasons. An appropriately designed lighting system for your main entrance area can also provide additional security for your home.
The more artistic use of garden light design will be to showcase and illuminate your flowers, shrubs, and trees in a dramatic or subtle way. Whether you wish to highlight a particular plant feature or perhaps imitate moonlight, you can employ garden lighting layouts to create the desired effect.
5 Types of Garden Lighting to Consider
There are five main positions for garden lighting fixtures. Each can be used to highlight elements of your garden or home in a specific way.
- Uplighting involves placing light sources in front of taller elements like trees or sculptures and angling them upward, accentuating textures and shapes.
- Downlighting involves mounting soft, diffuse lighting at least 20 feet up, usually in a tree, allowing the light to filter down, imitating a gentle moonlight effect.
- Silhouetting is useful if a small tree or shrub with attractive symmetry or unusual form is growing in front of a wall. With this type of lighting, a light is placed behind the plant to show it in full relief.
- Shadow lighting is another treatment for a tree or shrub in front of a wall. Aiming a light source from the front will do double duty, both illuminating the plant and casting its form in shadow against the wall.
- Crosslighting involves placing fixtures high in trees so that beams of light cross each other to accentuate depth and texture and soften shadows.
You've invested time and money in your older home, so why not enhance its historic exterior by using garden lighting to highlight unique aspects of your garden and home? When used effectively, garden lighting layouts provide dramatic emphasis, surprise and interest to your home, bathing the evening landscape of your home and garden in unique and alluring ways. If you still think your yard could use a little more work than just some new garden lighting, check out this article about creating a garden refuge for more information and ideas on how to enhance your home's garden.
Joshua Covington lives and writes in Southern California. He is a connoisseur of good books, bad movies and esoteric jokes. In the past he has written for a software company, a literary magazine, the website of a city paper and, during the late middle