By Dr. Atif Riaz and Asif Riaz Taj
Outdoor lights are not meant for protection and safety always and there's no cause to restrain demand of home restricted to the daytime. The plants you feel love for, green spaces in which you work hard to grow, the green spaces made by your capital and all the other landscape accessories purchased for your backyard can show their best results at night with the effects of outdoor lights. Landscape lighting may be used to create a wide range of illusions at night. It can transform a landscape into a soft ambiance of understated elegance during the evening hours, using low voltage accent lights. With the correct accent lighting, you can create a variety of effects from the romantic to the dramatic. It can also draw attention to a sculpture, fountain or tree with beautiful branch structure you like the most in your garden, hiding any daytime disasters. To achieve these spectacular benefits from garden lights, it is very necessary to understand use of light its right place, angle and appropriate type.
Outdoor Landscape Lighting: Design and Installation
First of all it is necessary to decide the core idea for the designing and installation of lighting system. Whether they are for expediency, safety, security of home during night, to add appeal to in garden at night, or simply to create the passionate effect are the most common purposes for outside lighting. There are many ways of designing and adding charm into landscapes that includes;
Path Lighting: It uses those materials that focus light onto walkways. Principally it is used for security and aesthetically these still lights still create pleasant effects for outside landscape. For this purpose, fully shielded fixtures may be positioned along landscape cutouts and pathways to add safety, security and visibility at night while, partially shielded lights may be positioned behind taller greenery, allowing light to filter through onto paths and to distribute more illumination in and around the landscape.
Step & Deck Lighting: These lights can be used to brighten up decks and patios with fixtures that can be installed beneath benches, as recessed lights in the risers of steps, and as surface lights on vertical posts and underneath railings. These applications contribute to safety as well as security by illuminating changes in elevation and effectively lighting up deck drop-offs or edges, allowing visitors to negotiate stairways with ease.
Accent Lighting: Still focuses light onto a specific item or landscape element, but allows for more marginal lighting and dim lighting of adjacent vicinity. Causes limited plea but focuses single areas like a tree or a garden.
Spread Lighting: As the name shows it spreads light amongst outdoor landscape and causes more common frame of mind. Certain areas will still be emphasized but in contrast to accent lighting, generally it is not focused around a single object or feature. It is mainly used to produce low-level, evenly dispersed illumination for flowers, shrubs, and other types of ground cover. Fully shielded luminaires work best to reduce glare. However, partially shielded fixtures may be positioned in deeper foliage landscapes where the additional light will serve to backlight greenery. Spread lighting may also be used underwater to enhance an ornamental pond.
Tree Lighting: Up-lighting provides an excellent way to highlight the beauty of trees, especially flowering types. Place fixtures on outside of dripline if the foliage is dense while, place fixture close to the trunk if the flowers are spread throughout the canopy and/or the foliage is light.
Silhouetting: Trees and plants having unique branch structure create an engaging appearance when silhouetted. This technique is produced by placing a fixture directly behind the subject and pointing it at a vertical surface. The dark image of the subject is displayed when the observer is viewing from the foreground. Silhouetting is good to show off the shape of an object, but not the color or texture.
Shadowing: This technique casts a shadow on a vertical surface by placing a fixture directly in front of the subject and aiming the light through it. The shadow can be enlarged by positioning the luminaire closer to the subject. This is a great method of showing off the unique branch structure of unusual greenery and adds security to home as well.
Grazing: It is accomplished by positioning a luminaire within six to eight inches of a facade and aiming at 90 degrees vertically. This approach works beautifully with the texture of stone or brick retaining walls, privacy fences, building facades, chimneys or anywhere else. Shadow and light may enhance the surface quality of masonry materials.
Moon Lighting: It is an art imitate nature by creating the tranquil appearance of light filtering through the branches on a moonlit night. It can be achieved by placing a fixture in a tree and aiming it downward. When using this technique, fixtures should be hidden and positioned as high as possible.
World is facing severe energy crises. In current circumstances using cheap and readily available energy sources has become inevitable. Sun is a great source of energy and world is moving that way to use that solar energy for electricity production, with has opened an avenue for solar garden lights which charge up during the day, light up garden, porch, or pathway automatically when the sun goes down, and stay on all night. Special LED light bulbs last for years. It does not require wires and auto on and auto off saves worries as well.
Note: Google is the source of all pictures.
About author: Dr. Atif Riaz is working as Assistant Professor at Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. He is specialized in the field of Floriculture and Landscape and currently working on development of a sustainable landscape strategy for stress conditions including, drought, salinity, and temperature extremes, by using plant species tolerant to these stresses.
Copyright Hortist, 2013