Landscape and home exterior lighting are two of the most important investments a homeowner can make, since they showcase a home's exterior, yard and garden for literally half the hours during a 24-hour period. Lighting also provides other benefits such as security or even added warmth for plants. However, it is important to properly install and utilize lighting to obtain maximum benefit and avoid causing aesthetic harm. Below are three principles that you should follow to maximize your home's landscape and exterior lighting:
Hide your fixtures and accessories
The first principle to keep in mind when adding landscape and exterior lighting is to keep your light fixtures and various accessories, such as transformers, cables and poles, out of view as much as possible, particularly at night. For example, a mistake often made by homeowners is to place a light fixture in such a manner that the light source itself is visible to observers; in scenarios involving uplighting, spotlights and other feature lighting, the only thing that should be seen from the outside-looking-in is the light on the target, not the source.
In addition, be sure to conceal other components of your outdoor lighting system. While cables and transformers aren't likely to be seen at night, they are visible in the daylight and are distracting to landscape observers. Burying cables provides the benefit of not only shielding them from view but also protects them from damage or becoming trip hazards. Transformers can be concealed by placing them behind shrubs or by constructing facades from fence boards or the use of other creative "micro" structures. Just be sure to provide adequate ventilation to your transformer to prevent overheating; for example, don't place it a tightly-enclosed small space.
Use the proper size fixture for the location
Another important consideration is to use the appropriate fixture size for your landscape or home exterior. Fixtures that are too small or too large relative to their setting will look out of place and will either distract from or dominate the scene.
When sizing fixtures, keep in mind that builder-installed fixtures may be too small for a given home due to a builder's desire to keep costs low. This means you should consider stepping-up a size or two for replacement fixtures that you decide to purchase. Just keep in mind that fixtures often appear extra-large in the store, so don't be afraid to purchase a fixture that is sized correctly, on paper, for your particular need. A lighting consultant can be helpful in ensuring you choose the right size for your needs; bring in photographs of your landscape for them to reference, and a rudimentary sketch with dimensions can be helpful, too.
Select the appropriate bulbs for the setting
Lighting fixtures are sold with a maximum wattage capacity or rating; this number indicates how much electrical power can be used with a given fixture. A mistake sometimes made by homeowners is to install a bulb equivalent to the maximum wattage rating in their fixtures, regardless of need or setting. Excessive wattage is not only wasteful and costly, it can also dramatically reduce the effect desired for landscapes or exteriors. Bright lighting can create harsh shadows and cause colors to "wash out" under the glare. By stepping down the watts, your home's exterior features are more likely to be seen by observers as you wish to display them.
In addition, keep in mind that bulbs are available in a variety of color hues and with added effects. The widespread advent of LED lighting now provides homeowners with a variety of color choices, including changeable colors if desired, and adds sophistication and warmth. Bulbs can be coated with different materials, such as silk or ceramic paint, and this lends itself to different looks depending on the desired outcome. You might also want to consider Toronto Vintage Lighting by Victorian Revival. If you have questions about how to select an appropriate bulb or light source, seek the assistance of a landscape architect or home improvement expert. They can provide guidance that will help maximize your existing property and lighting fixtures.