Illuminating your landscape is a necessary part of landscape design, and surprisingly enough, it’s much more complex than just setting out a few torches or turning on the porch light. One of the key principles of landscape lighting is that less is more. Overwhelming your landscape with too much light will make your landscape seem sterile, taking away from the aesthetic effect that you should be seeking with your lighting choices. Taking a cue from the experts, you can use layered lighting to add depth and character to your outdoor spaces, and with the assistance of a landscaping expert, you can successfully plan your outdoor lighting in Peekskill, NY.
The first layer in your layered lighting plan will be to provide ambient lighting in appropriate outdoor spaces. Ambient lighting is the overall illumination of a space. Pools, outdoor kitchens, and other areas where social activities take place are all appropriate spaces to include this base layer of illumination.
It is noteworthy, however, to remember that the wattage and color are key. You do not want overly bright or inappropriately colored lighting in your outdoor spaces. It’s also important to provide ambient lighting using multiple sources. This ensures that glare is reduced and that a single overly bright source does not cause discomfort. Keep in mind that your eyes will be somewhat adjusted to the dark already, so keep ambient lighting low and comfortable for the best ambience for your outdoor setting.
Functional, or task, lighting is equally important while designing your landscaping plan, particularly for walkway safety, outdoor cooking and other food or drink preparation areas. This level of lighting is brighter and cleaner than any of the other layers, but it will be specific to a small area designated for a particular function.
Task lighting is appropriate nomenclature because its purpose is to facilitate a task specific to the space, so planning this level will obviously require a consideration of how your outdoor spaces will be used. Likely, these plans will be somewhat similar to how you would use the areas during the day; you simply need to add appropriate lighting in order to make these functions possible. For this layer, you may consider timers, motion detectors, or some other type of system to limit its use to when needed, but a limited inclusion of task lighting does add depth to your nighttime landscape when incorporated with the other layers. These features also typically involve downlighting to limit the effect they have on the ambience of the space.
Finally, accent lighting is used to ensure that your landscape features remain focal points even in the dark. Your landscape aesthetic shouldn’t suffer simply because the sun sets. To achieve this purpose, a strategically placed, appropriate wattage light or spotlight highlighting your features will suffice. Water fountains, majestic trees, outdoor fireplaces, and even walkway benches can be focal features. Typically, the same features that you consider focal points during the day will continue to be so at night; you will just have to shine a bit of light on it. For parties and gatherings, you can also add accent light with string lights, torches, or hanging lights to add a bit of glamour and interest to your existing layered lighting system.