We hear this question all the time: How do you figure out how many lights are needed to properly illuminate my property? The answer to figuring this out is simpler than you might think. The answer can be summed up in just two words: it depends. I know what you are probably thinking: ha-ha that’s amusing Mr. Landscape Lighting guy. Very funny. But come on, what’s the real answer? I wish I was kidding, it would make what I do a whole lot easier. It really does just depend. Each property is different, and each will need to be lit differently.
Maybe it feels like I’m not being very helpful. I’m sure you’d like to hear a simple answer like how many lights are needed for X size property. However, trying to figure out size and numbers isn’t the most important thing when trying to create a lighting design. The most important thing you need to do, before you do anything else, is decide what kind of scene you’d like to create. You should determine what aspect of your home or landscape needs to be underscored with light. The biggest question to ask yourself is WHY. Why do you want lighting? What are you trying to create?
Landscape lights can be used to create all types of scenes. Consider, especially if you’re on a budget, which feature of your home’s outdoor living space and landscape is most important to you. For example, perhaps you often entertain guests and want to create an atmosphere for your back patio’s parties and events. In this situation, you might consider using light for not only form and function, but also for visual appeal. This is your chance to set the mood and use light to create ambiance and atmosphere. In this situation, you might consider some bistro lighting or some moon lighting. Sure, you could keep using the ol’ flood light by the back door. But just because a flood light provides functional light, sure doesn’t mean it provides an inviting atmosphere.
Another example might be that Koi Pond you spend your afternoons and leisure time tending. If that pond has become a ritualistic part of your routine, a serene characteristic of your landscape, then why not extend that enjoyment into the evening? You’ve already created a beautiful scene that you get to enjoy during the day. Now you can take the opportunity to turn around and create a striking scene for your evening enjoyment as well. Pond lighting is a great example of how your focus should be on creating a scene with light.
If you are trying to create a scene and don’t know where to begin, consider the three key lighting elements: greenery, architecture, and task.
1. Plant life, the tall grasses and shrubs, the undergrowth/ground cover, and the various trees are all essential. Never underestimate the power of lighting your trees. Your Japanese maples, aspens, red buds, pines, etc., all have the potential to create a striking aspect in the overall effect you are trying to form. 2. Architecture plays a significant role in the conception of any lighting scene. Lighting your architecture doesn’t just create a back drop for your curb appeal, it creates the foundation for the overall effect. If you don’t carefully consider how to incorporate architectural lighting, then some of your home’s best features will be lost.
3. Lighting for task means that you are lighting for function and safety. When task lighting is done correctly, when it’s done with an artistic eye, it can be functional and beautiful at the same time. Lighting your pathways, stairs, side entry, etc., can be done tastefully without overlooking practicality. It’s for this reason that task lighting should be planned carefully.
We often hear people question, “is that going to be too many lights?” It might sound like a lot of lighting to consider. In our experience, the transition and composition between these three elements, the shift between light and shadow, is the secret to fashioning a beautiful lighting design.
In conclusion, don’t allow yourself to become caught up in fixture numbers. Try to remain focused on the scene. In the end, the scene that’s created, the ambiance of the aesthetics, will be the most important part of the lighting design. Remember: it’s about the scene, not the number of lights.
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To Learn more about how to light your outdoor living space, call us at (801)440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form.