What defines a landscape is its unique features. Any property benefits from green grass and well-manicured shrubs and bushes. Additionally, landscapes with distinct features also stand out. It can be something as simple as a retaining wall or as complex as a water feature. Whatever it is, it needs to draw the eye, while complementing the greater appeal of the property.
Lighting is the simplest way to (literally) illuminate property features. When the sun goes down, the light you cast on your property dictates what passersby see and focus on. Lighting your features also brings attention to what matters most and can profoundly improve the broad appeal of your property as a whole.
But how you light your features matters. Lighting is not a simple topic. For one, flood lighting creates a different effect than spotlighting, which differs from up-lighting.
Here’s a look at how light affects the way onlookers perceive your property’s distinguishing features.
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Light for dynamic appeal
Consider a statue. Angle and perspective play a big role in how you perceive the statue when looking at it. It’s why there are numerous university studies about the best angle to view the legendary statue of David from! Needless to say, statues have a dynamic perspective.
The easiest way to capitalize on unique statue lighting is through light placement. The position of your lights and how they cast illumination will have a dynamic effect on the feature you’re spotlighting.
Here’s how light placement makes a difference:
- Up-lighting makes your feature seem bigger and more imposing
- Backlighting your feature creates an instant stand-out against the backdrop
- For bold appeal, lighting all the way around a feature establishes it at any angle
To see how it affects the appeal of a statue or other feature, play with the placement, position, and distance of your lights. It’s surprising how much a few feet of difference has on the way lighting interacts with your landscape features.
Create depth through light placement
Depth is also an important aspect of landscape lighting. If you line up your lights parallel to one another and cast light at the same angle, it’s going to flatten the scene. Consider placing lights at different points on your property to create inviting depth to onlookers. To do this, borrow from a three-point perspective—an artistic technique for creating depth on a flat plane.
Bringing depth to your property through lighting is easier than you think. Up-light your home from a few feet out, spotlight a detaining wall six feet in front of it and backlight a cluster of trees from 10 feet out. Just avoid placing lights at the same depth with the same intensity.
Add a splash of color
Nothing stands out quite like colored lighting. No, we’re not talking about stringing Christmas lights all year round or lighting every feature on your property with a pinwheel of crazy colors. Instead, consider tasteful, understated lighting that’s purposeful and complementary.
- To enhance the appeal of a water feature, use gentle blue or aqua lighting
- Seasonal tree spotlighting (soft orange in fall, gentle yellow in spring)
- Purple shrub lighting to complement natural coloring
The idea isn’t to go wild with color, but it’s to gently accent features using complementary tones. The color should draw the eye; the natural appeal of the feature should be what people find beautiful.
There’s also warmth and intensity to consider. Warm, dim lighting and bright, white lighting are two ends of a spectrum of possibilities for bringing attention to your features.
Consider the surroundings
Features may stand out on a landscape, but they’re meant to raise the standard of the entire property—not act as standalone installations.
As you light the statues, retaining walls, trees, foliage, and other features of your property, consider how you’re lighting them. Play with light placement, depth, color, and intensity until you find a combination that illuminates the feature and raises the broad appeal of your property.