Stone walls are a great way to add beautiful, natural accents to your property. Although it looks beautiful upon completion, alot goes into perfecting them from choosing the right materials to location. It doesn’t end there. A great way to enjoy your outdoor stone wall, regardless of the time of day, is by properly lighting it.
In the same way that you may have had a set of questions to consider when creating your stone walls, there is likely a litany of questions for how to light stone walls. Whether you want to create drama with uplighting or highlight unique textures with wall grazing, there are alot of styles and functions to choose from.
Top 4 Ways to Light Outdoor Stone Walls
Before we jump into the top 4 ways to light your outdoor stone walls, it’s important to note that a big challenge facing wall light installers is that once a light is mortared under the capstone, it's nearly impossible to remove, and traditionally, lights must be installed during the wall construction phase. These are both logistical nightmares for contractors and homeowners. It’s important to consider lighting prior to construction (Click here to learn more about our Set-In-Stone Technology) or alternately use a surface mount engineered wall light for post-construction lighting.
Regardless of what installation process you choose, here are some ways to add light to outdoor stone walls.
Photo by Steve Middleton of Treasure Coast Landscape Lighting in Hobe Sound, FL.
Create drama with uplighting
Since uplighting fixtures shine light upwards and can be placed on or in the ground, there’s no need to lay a finger on your stone walls to achieve the lighting effects you’re wanting. Uplighting can be both dramatic and practical, adding to the overall atmosphere while specifically highlighting the interesting textures of those beautiful stone walls.
Photos by James Leid of Green Side Up Landscaping & Maintenance in Alma, MI.
Add safety with downlighting
Downlights can be used to shine light downwards, and they serve a dual purpose: adding a pleasant, moonlight effect, and most importantly, safety for the areas they illuminate. They are often attached to large trees, fencing, and soffits, and in the case of stone walls, they can be attached under roof-like structures, eliminating the need to damage the walls to add needed lighting.
Highlight unique textures with wall grazing
Unlike wall washing, where fixtures are placed to provide an equal light distribution on mostly flat or lightly textured walls, wall grazing employs directional lights that are placed close to the wall to highlight the unique textures of the wall through creating shadows. This shadow effect can be increased or decreased by moving the light closer to or farther from the wall, allowing a high degree of customization to achieve the intensity of light that is desired.
Photo by Visionary Lighting.
Focus on beam angles
When considering lights for stone walls, the width of the light beam is crucial depending on the desired effect. For example, to illuminate a pillar, opt for a narrow beam of light to achieve a vertical lighting affect. For a large wall or surface, a wider beam will distribute the light in a way that illuminates more surface area.
While it’s important to choose the right lighting style/function to fit your needs, here are common pitfalls to avoid:
- Placing spotlights on the ground under wall sconces: This creates a shadow on the wall where the two beams of light meet, negating the lighting effects of each fixture.
- Illuminating downspouts: When deciding on the placement of the fixtures to light those stone walls, make sure the light from those fixtures won’t highlight downspouts, taking the focus away from your beautiful stone walls.
- Creating light pollution: If you’re not familiar with light pollution, it happens when too much light is directed, unobstructed, into the nighttime sky, and it has several negative effects: wastes energy, causes negative health issues, dims the stars in the night sky, hinders astronomical research, and interferes with ecosystems. Especially where uplighting and wall grazing are concerned, make sure any beams of light do not go directly into the sky, which will help eliminate light pollution while achieving the desired lighting effect on stone walls.
Outdoor stone walls are a thing of beauty, so why not enjoy them both day and night? With the above suggestions and tips, you can achieve the lighting effects that will highlight their beauty 24/7/365. Contact us for more information on how to illuminate your stone walls.