Outdoor lighting is an important, but often overlooked, component of good landscape design. As you consider how to integrate lighting into your yard, a good place to start is understanding the three layers of landscape lighting. Here's a short guide to each and how to use them.
The Safety Layer
Safety is one of the most important reasons to add light to any landscape. Certainly, it should include good lighting so anyone using the porch, deck, walkways, outbuildings, and play areas at night won't injure themselves. But safety may also include clearly marking obstacles dogwalkers might encounter, keeping the pool or spa safe at all times, or providing markers for snow removal.
The main parts of the safety layer include overhead (or flood) lights, pathway lighting, spotlights, and stake lighting. When possible, some of these should use motion sensor or timer technology to automate them. Safety features, after all, work best when they don't rely on anyone remembering to use them.
The Security Layer
The second layer of lighting provides security. These lights often overlap with safety lighting, such as with flood lights or pathway lighting. But the focus should be on how the yard appears to those coming in from outside. It includes brighter lighting — as opposed to all low-voltage lighting — and motion sensors.
Most security lighting is placed around the perimeter of the property, on well-used traffic paths, and around doors and windows. While its goal is to secure the yard, it can be done attractively, such as employing soft wash lighting around the home to reduce hiding places for trespassers.
The Accent Layer
Finally, you have the accent lighting layer. Common accent lights include solar lights, pathway lighting, up-lights and down-lights, wash lights, string lights, and colored light bulbs. Accent lights might highlight parts of garden beds, shine up into trees for a moonlight effect, and highlight structural elements or trees.
This layer is where you can have fun and employ lighting solely for the purpose of being decorative. It's generally considered after first arranging for safety and security features, as they should take priority. But the decorative layer can then soften these necessary elements and harmonize them with your yard's style.
Where to Start
Are you ready to begin work on your three layer outdoor lighting plan? Start by meeting with an experienced landscaping service in your area. They'll work with you to design a great system which minimizes energy usage and maximizes beauty, safety, and security. Call to learn more today.
When I was young, I loved helping my mother in the garden. Our yard was filled with plants and flowers that she kept in immaculate condition. Once I was an adult and bought my first home, I learned that there was much more to landscaping a yard than I ever imagined! After a little trial and error planting a few flowers in my yard that died quickly, I realized the technology that is available to aspiring gardeners makes trial and error a thing of the past. After I found out what my "hardiness zone" was, I realized I was planting flowers made for much cooler climates, and I played around with software that let me design my yard very easily! I learned a lot throughout the experience, so I thought I would share my tips with everyone who needs them. Come back often to check out my new tips!