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Should You See the Light Source, the Light, or the Effect?

There are so many places to shop for outdoor lighting fixtures – online, home improvement stores, garden stores, etc. You will find a full range of fixtures from beautiful to functional and likely everything in between. So, how do you decide? What’s most important – the light source, the light, or the effect?

Take a look at this gorgeous house pictured above. If you focus on the home itself, it’s beautiful. But if you take a look at the landscaping that greets you as you enter the yard, you are struck by the clam shell lights that just don’t match the grandeur of the home nor the elegant landscaping.

At night, they may or may not fade into the landscaping to illuminate the front wall but during the day, they are more of an eyesore.

With good landscape lighting, your goal should be to see the effect of the lighting. Many of your fixtures will be hidden in landscaping – for example – in your hedges that line your home’s architectural facade. These fixtures you use there are most likely well lights. But, the challenge becomes when the lights need to be placed in plain sight so they can accomplish other lighting objectives such as safety lighting and/or security lighting. There are other times when lights will need to be placed in limited sight view such as when the landscaping has a higher canopy and when landscaping is not in bloom.

Take a look at this picture. You will need to look closely to find the copper fixture that sits within the landscaping bed.

copper fixture hidden in landscaping bed

The flood light in this picture is solid copper so it blends very nicely into this pruned and un-bloomed landscaping. Unless you are looking for this fixture, you would not see it. The nice thing about copper outdoor lighting fixtures is that they patina beautifully. When the fixtures patina, they continue to blend into landscaping and compliment your walkways, pathways, and walls beautifully.

The flood light used to illuminate the back wall of this property is a mini soft adjustable directional copper flood light. Made of solid copper with a brass elbow, this flood light is very versatile. The light source can be adjusted to direct either up or down. It’s ideal for uplighting a wall but it’s also perfect for a roof line, arbor or archway. The lighting effect is broad in this light and the light color is a pure white light. With the broad throw of this fixture, the light washes a longer horizontal span. Therefore, fewer fixtures are needed to light up a long wall as seen in this application. This brick wall runs the entire length of this very large property. The owners desire was a gentle wash of the wall so guests could see all the way across the very long yard to the landscaped wall. They did not want uplights that made “spikes” of light where the fixture was placed. They wanted a wonderful wash of light across the entire wall.

flood light on brick wall

You have to look closely at this picture to see 2 light fixtures and this picture was taken standing in the bed of pine straw.

So, what’s most important when designing your outdoor lighting and selecting fixtures is the effect that the lighting has in the evening.

Please read the next article about viewing, or rather getting blinded, by the light of outdoor lighting in the evening.

Click to see more flood lights at Click here to contact the local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office for a free demo in your area.