So you’re beginning to imagine that perfect landscape around your residence. Each person’s ideas are unique, and our passion is in helping to bring these visions to life. One common question we receive is about how to make the final product shine after dark. Read on to learn about some of our favorite residential lighting trends on the Emerald Coast.
The primary function of landscape lighting is to bring attention to the existing beauty of your landscape design, so it’s no surprise that many are opting for next-level creative solutions. Decorative area lights are an interesting choice for two reasons: First, the fixtures themselves can be beautiful in their design, often by daylight blending into the scenery as a work of sculpture. But the more important element is that after dark they cast their light in a manner that creates eye-catching texture and shadow. Today’s lighting designers are using light of varying brightness and color to create tranquil and inspiring visuals, and sometimes what you don’t see, hidden by spots of intentional shadow, can be an important element of a striking presentation. If you’re interested in transforming your landscaped space into something more akin to a work of visual art after sundown, tasteful use of decorative area lights can definitely be an attractive option.
In an ideal world, the full moon would be out for us any time we had company over or wanted to enjoy the splendor of our manicured green spaces after sundown. Luckily, we have an innovative method in order to achieve a consistent, soft glow over a wide section of your landscaped area. Downlighting, also known as “moonlighting,” is the ultimate choice if you’re after a more natural illumination effect. Typically our team will place one or more LED tower lights in discreet spots high in the branches of trees, sometimes adjusting their coloration to bring out additional blue hues to more closely replicate natural moonlight. Many times we find that downlighting is especially effective for areas that have a variety of groundcover and low-growing plants, as these can be difficult to accentuate with uplighting but tend to shine beautifully when lit from above. A couple of added benefits of this technique include lower power consumption thanks to energy efficient LED bulbs, and infrequent maintenance because of their long life.
Many landscaped spaces will include some combination of sidewalks, stepping stone walkways, or garden paths. Of course it’s important to highlight these features as a matter of safety, but we also want to consider aesthetics. To strike a balance between security and beauty, we suggest decorative and ornamental bollard lights. While one of the general rules in landscape lighting is that we want to see the effect of the lights, but not necessarily notice the fixtures themselves, this is not true when it comes to pathway lighting. Because these fixtures are often in plain sight, we’re especially fond of those with an artistic look, so that they’re interesting to admire by day and cast beautiful shadows by night. Similar to the decorative area lights discussed earlier, these bollard lights are often designed to “play” with the light they cast in order to add flair and style to the pathway (but of course they’ll still emit enough light to keep you on the right track).
In 1988 a group of professional and amateur astronomers became increasingly concerned about the effects of light pollution around the world. They banded together to form the International Dark Sky Association, and their research and recommendations have become the gold standard for landscape lighting designers who want to help preserve the wonders of the natural night sky. Maybe more significant to some however, is the association’s findings which concluded that inappropriate artificial light greatly impacts circadian rhythms, a biological mechanism that helps us regulate sleep patterns. To achieve the coveted Dark Sky seal of approval, commercial and residential lighting fixtures must achieve a certain level of energy efficiency. This is not only better for the planet and your sleep schedule, but also for your wallet. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to design a Dark Sky Compliant landscape lighting package that is both affordable and beautiful.
There are many considerations as you consider how best to illuminate your dream landscape. In addition to these ideas, we have a wide variety of creative and beautiful options depending on the scope of your project. If you have any questions we’re always excited to discuss the possibilities. Feel free to contact us or call (850) 276-5797 any time!