Outdoor Lighting Techniques
As summer approaches, it is time to start thinking about how to gear up our backyards and patios for inevitable outdoor entertaining. As hot summer days melt into warm summer nights, your backyard will need to be equipped to handle the transition. Here are a few different lighting techniques that will help make even a small space a lighting masterpiece and ensure the party doesn’t die when the sun goes down.
Spotlighting. Use a spotlight placed at least 3 feet away to illuminate a large object or seating area. A spotlight can accent an outdoor piece like a fountain or statue or it can be used to draw attention to a bench or furniture set that may otherwise be lost to darkness. If used for a seating arrangement, make sure the beam is on low power so to avoid blinding your guests.
Shadowing. A lot like spotlighting, shadowing requires a beam of light pointed directly at an object. However this technique places the light closer to the focal point so that large, long shadows are cast onto a flat surface like a wall or a fence behind it. Place the light source about a foot away from the object and cast the beam upwards for maximum illumination.
Silhouetting. This lighting technique is the exact opposite of shadowing. The light source is placed directly behind the object, usually an interesting-looking branch or tree, with the light cast upwards to create a dark outline of the feature.
Cross Lighting. The use of different sources of light can create dramatic shadows and gentle ones all at once. Play with different angles, strengths and heights to construct a suitable effect.
Grazing. Highlight an interesting surface or texture by placing a light close to it. Bark, fences, doors are perfect places to experiment with grazing. Fix the light at different levels and angles until you get the desired illumination.
Remember that the most important part of lighting any space is safety. Make sure potentially dangerous parts of your yard or patio are well lit and don’t forget about potential hazards to children and pets too. Solar lighting is a great option to save money and hassle, not to mention eliminating the risk for electrical fires or electrocution. Safety should be your primary concern and after that you can create the mood and style that best suits your tastes.