Outdoor lighting is as important as indoor lighting. With the evolution of lighting technology, backyard outdoor lighting has seen its share of breakthroughs. Lighting up the spaces immediately outside or surrounding our living areas is extremely vital for visual orientation, safety and security, as well as for balancing out the indoor ambience.
The outdoor milieu prepares and provides a preview to the life and living style within your home. Outdoor backyard lighting is equally important in reflecting the external persona of a structure and its surrounding area. It sets a particular mood and provides a visual treat.
Backyard outdoor lighting presents enormous scope for experimentation.
It’s a virgin canvas waiting to be colored by unique lighting approaches, ideas and techniques and comprise the areas surrounding the structure, pathways, swimming pools or fountains, landscape surrounding the structure, patios, balconies, decks, porches, etc.
There are a variety of options for backyard lighting on the market, including low-voltage lighting, flood lights, tree lights, post lights, lanterns, string bulbs for festive occasions, recessed lighting, scoops, pagoda-style louvered faced lights which granite finish that easily blend without door environs, and even solar lights devoid of wires and operating on batteries.
Various techniques of lighting can be used in backyard outdoor lighting.
- While spot lighting, focuses light on architectural features, silhouetting is placing the light sources behind the object to bring out the shape of the object rather than the exact color and texture.
- Key light or shadowing requires placing the light source directly in front of the object of interest to create a light and shadow effect.
- Moonlighting requires a fixture to be placed on the trees and aiming it down to provide a natural peaceful moonlit effect.
- Deck lighting, grazing (light focuses on the object at a sharp angle) and washing the surface (light focuses on objects at a wider or blunt angle),
- Step lighting, walkway lighting, pond and fountain lighting, and sign lighting are some of the various techniques used to light up your garden.
When it comes to backyard outdoor lighting, a basic thing that has to be kept in mind is that the lighting fixtures are exposed to all the elements outside. In case of lighting water features, the light source is sometimes from the inside to create a magical glittering and rippling effect. Therefore, appropriate lighting fixtures and lights should be chosen. Self-lighting kits of low voltage are also available for those who wish to try out their creative lighting talents.
Decorative backyard outdoor lighting.
The interior of a house or commercial place should complement the exterior, and vice versa. This can be achieved by creating an artistically balanced ambience by using decorative garden lights at different angles and points. For example if for a small garden or deck canister sized lighting fixtures create a loud and crass effect. To get the right balance the area should be highlighted by using small lights closer to the ground, on tree trunks or eaves of structures around.
Light designers and manufacturers realizing potential of decorative outdoor lights introduced shapes, styles and finishes in consonance with changing times. Decorative backyard lights in neo-classical designs, informal or contemporary and stylistic create harmonious setting matching the interior with the exterior.
Purpose also decides design of decorative outdoor landscape lighting. For pathways, lighting with top covers or shades are preferred as light is directed out and down but not on the face. There is nothing worse than to be momentarily blinded by instant glare. One does not need a beacon on private property but a decorative light to focus on special features of the house as well as safeguard it. In commercial places such as malls, hotels, schools, colleges, clubs the decorative outdoor lighting should be artistic as well as utilitarian. Compact fluorescent lights, ground level moon lamps, post lanterns are some of the designs that help control glare and spill.
After sunset, backyard party lights are an essential feature of your party decor. If you are going to decorate for garden party then get some Chinese outdoor lanterns or create a partition in the lawn by planting tiki torches available in different sizes and color.
Another transformation from old to new is the use of timers and photo cells. One can visualize the gas-burning lamps of 1800’s used to light streets. We have come a long way but nostalgia plays a hand as same idea is incorporated in electricity bulbs available in flame shaped designs. Whatever the design or style from diamond shaped to opal, antique lamp posts and shades, lights with frosted exterior, guests and visitors should not be inconvenienced by faulty placement and design selection. Instead of being influenced by neighbors, store catalogues or particular shape and color consider requirement, budget and appropriate lighting.
Choices are unlimited but require a level headed thinking mind to select the right backyard outdoor lighting.