The Outdoor Lighting Expert on 'Landscape Lighting Design'

By Maria Bargellini

Help is here for the do- it- your-selfers and researchers wanting to find out more about landscape lighting design. If you know what you want to light but don’t know what to use below is a short and sweet list of which fixtures to use for the most commonly illuminated areas of a home.

Lighting Trees

What to use: Well lights, Bullets, floods or tree lights

How many fixtures to use: 4-6 depending on how big the tree is, where it is, B and from how many degrees you want to view it.

Plan: Typically you’ll see that most outdoor lighting designs will have 2-3 well lights on the ground illuminating the foliage and grazing the trunk and 2-3 down lights in the canopy highlighting the trunk, foliage, or other areas.

Don’t: Make the tree a lot brighter/dimmer than the rest of B your design. Don’t put the lights in open grass areas. Don’t angle the lights into windows or cars

Bulb: Depending on which fixtures you buy and the wattage your using for the rest of your design. For 35-30′ trees I like to use 50 watt bulbs on the ground and 20-30 watts in the canopy.


Planting beds

What to use: Path or Area lights. If it’s a heavily trafficed area during the day consider a more stylish fixture.

How manyB fixtures to use: 1 every 8 – 15′ for long paths and every 4-6′ for short paths . It depends how long the path is and if there are safety concerns.

Plan: Plan to layout lights next to elevation changes B (tripping hazards) first, B then layout the rest of them.

Don’t: Never put them across from each other or put them to close together. Less is more.

Bulb: These type of lights typically come with or max out at 20 watts.



What to use: Bullets or grazers (wall washers)

How manyB fixtures to use: 5-8 lights

Plan: Flanking windows, by ornamental trees, or at the ends of the home are good places to start.

Don’t: Flood light into the home and don’t allow your design to be unbalanced. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical but it does have to be balanced.

Bulb: 20 -50 watts depending on the color and height of the house. Lighter house can use less wattage.


Walls, Fences etc

What to use: Well light, bullets or deck lights

How manyB fixtures to use: Depending on beam spread and what you’re trying to accomplish 1 fixture every 6-8′ (middle of fence panels)

Plan: If you are illuminating a fence line without any landscaping you can place them at every fence section (middle) or every other panel. If there’s landscaping forget the fence and highlight the plants.

Don’t: Light every section of fencing. if you are doing all 3 sides you can do just the corners, 3 on each side etc. Having all the panels lit will not only be a waste of money but will not be pleasing to the viewer.

Bulb: Most people use up-lights but I prefer using 10 watt deck lights, which are down lights.


Focal Points

What to use: Flood, bullet or grazer.

How manyB fixtures to use: 2-3 uplights, or 1 -2 grazers. Depends on how wide the item is.

How: If you cannot hide the fixture when using up-lights use down lights mounted up high instead. If you can use up-lights. make sure to cross your beams to ensure even lighting.

Don’t: Create dark spaces. Illuminate the item fully to see detail.

Bulb: Just because it’s a focal point doesn’t mean it has to have a higher wattage than the other lights in your design. Fully lighting the item should make stand out on its own.

For pictures and more information clink on these links:B Alliance Fixtures Kichler Fixtures

Related articles:B Outdoor Lighting Fixtures Whats up with up lights DIY landscape lighting Choosing the right size Transformer Area Lights / Path Lights





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