Where We Left Off
In our last blog, we spent a great deal of time on two of the four main objectives of landscape lighting: safety and security. Now that you have a firm grasp on those two important goals, we’ll take a look at the final two objectives of landscape lighting: beautification and usability. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of meeting these goals as well as how to best achieve them with certain fixtures, techniques, light levels, and beam spreads.
The Purpose Behind Beautification
We always say here at CAST Lighting that good landscape lighting is a feast for your eyes. Our goal as landscape lighting designers is to use light to define different textures of plant materials, the shapes and structures of a property and home, and to make them stand out—to beautify them. At the same time, our goal is to evoke a wide range of positive emotional responses. As humans, we feel more comfortable with the presence of light. Our mood instantly changes when light is introduced to darkness. Landscape lighting gives you the ability to masterfully control that mood, creating soft and subtle lightscapes to dynamic and dramatic ones, whatever the homeowner desires.
Tips on Beautifying Properties
Beautifying a home with landscape lighting isn’t the simplest of tasks. A lot of people make the mistake of “setting and forgetting” them, but this is far from what needs to be done to make a home beautiful and bright.
Fixture Placement & Fine Tuning
Three major factors go into creating a magnificent landscape lighting design: fixture placement, light levels, and beam spread. During the daytime, you can place light fixtures in the general area they need to be, but nighttime adjustments are a requirement. Fine tuning is everything. By moving fixtures just a few inches, you can dramatically change the effect. We can’t stress enough how imperative it is to go back to the property at night with the customer to dial in every single fixture until they work harmonious within the scene.
Correct Use of Quality Landscape Lighting Fixtures
Quality landscape lighting fixtures should also be looked at like good tools. They are used to help achieve a certain look, and knowing how to use them properly is of utmost importance. Many people first make the mistake of choosing landscape lighting fixtures that don’t have settings; they don’t have different beam spread options, lumen levels, or dimming capabilities, making them insufficient tools. You can’t use the same fixture throughout a property with the same light level and beam spread. The design will look flat, boring, and unemotional. Good landscape lighting creates moods, layers, and depth. Good landscape lighting design accounts for plant growth over time, too, and static light fixtures don’t offer that versatility and scale. When contractors and other landscape professionals begin working with CAST lighting fixtures, we help educate them on how dynamic and flexible these tools can be. The multitude of different beam angles and lumen outputs of CAST light fixtures help achieve any look or feel, and we help teach which beam spread and light level is appropriate for each scene. Our next blog will focus on this art and science, so stay tuned.
The Purpose Behind Usability
To date, outdoor living space is the No. 1 fastest growing area in our industry. Homeowners are investing big money into outdoor kitchens and dining areas, wet bars, water features, ponds, hardscape patios with fire pits and fire features, recreational areas, wooden decks, pergolas, trellises, and the list goes on! But, a critical investment that they may overlook is outdoor lighting. After work, homeowners will come home to their gorgeous, but pitch black outdoor living area, making it a completely unusable space. It’s our job to illuminate their public and private spaces so they can enjoy their property at all times of day.
Tips on Maximizing Usability
When it comes to making outdoor living and recreational spaces usable at night, placement and spacing is everything! As discussed earlier, landscape lighting designers or contractors should come back at night to make any needed adjustments. Generally speaking, lower level light fixtures work best to create usable outdoor spaces. Deck lights, engineer wall lights, wash lights, path lights, and a mixture of downlighting or moon lighting fixtures set to a lower level are used primarily to improve usability. Creating separate zones for certain tasks or moods is another key factor in producing usable outdoor living and recreation space. What we mean by this is giving homeowners control of a certain area, giving them the ability to turn lights on or off or to dim them as needed while the rest of the landscape, such as the home and pool area, remains permanently lit on a timer. This optional zone space could be a romantic area like a hot tub that needs the mood set by either dimming or turning a light off; or, a functional area like an outdoor kitchen that needs a light brightened in order to see properly when grilling and entertaining.
Bringing it All Together
As landscape lighting designers ourselves, we don’t just manufacture fixtures, we create gorgeous and durable products that produce beautiful lighting scenes and experiences. Through an expert combination of planning, placement, fine-tuning, and the correct usage of fixtures, light levels, and beam spreads, a landscape lighting design can truly be brought to life. And of course, this combination will always meets our four core objectives—to make a property safe, secure, beautiful and usable.