Lighting Your Garden Oasis.
By Curt Roland
Installing landscape lighting, luminaries and fire features can transform even the dullest garden into something original, exciting and functional. The investment in landscape lighting for your garden or landscape will amply repay the time, effort and expense involved.
Lighting and fire features outside the house have a positive effect on the interior by integrating the two areas. Flowing seamlessly between inside and out and without abrupt changes in intensity, landscape lighting will harmonize the two spaces and will increase functionality of your garden oasis.
Cleverly positioned flood lights can define one
area with a wash of light. If positioned high
up in a tree or wall, a flood light can create
a moon glow effect. Placed upward, a flood
light will illuminate a statue or majestic tree.
Careful selection of color and position is
the key. Lamps with a blue hue are best
positioned high up to give the moon glow effect.
Remember to carefully select placement while
installing flood lights in trees. It is
difficult to reposition the lamp once in
position. Flood lighting can also act as
security lighting. With motion sensors, flood
lighting can add extra protection to your home.
Spot lights can be used to highlight a particular area or plant. Use spot lights so their narrow beam focuses on the surface of a plant or bush.
Often times a spot light can be used to highlight a particular plant, bush or tree at a specific time of year. Japanese Maple trees are an example. When their foliage turns a bright, beautiful red in the fall, a spot light can highlight this unique specimen. Be sure to conceal the source of the spot light so as not to attract attention to the source but to highlight the subject.
Functional lighting is designed to identify features such as doorways, walkways, steps and pathways. This type of lighting is fixed permanently in the most effective location. Lighting for a gathering area needs to be set at a low intensity to exude a relaxed atmosphere.
Walkway lighting should be positioned to illuminate the path but not distract from the other lighting features. In the same sense, step lighting should focus on the steps and should not distract from the other lighting features of the landscape.
Special Occasion Lighting
Special occasion lighting, which includes luminaries and torches, looks particularly attractive in night setting. They produce a warm, gentle glow when dotted in a gathering area or pathway. Luminaries that use eco-friendly denatured alcohol as a fuel produce a beautiful, warm blue dancing flame. The best part about denatured alcohol burning luminaries is the byproducts of the flame are only heat, water vapor and carbon dioxide. If you are interested in green living, this type of luminary is a good choice.
Fire features (stone fireplaces, fire pits, fire rings and chimineas) have become very popular in landscape settings. Fuel sources for fire features can be a combination of natural gas or propane, wood or glass and rock media. Often times fire features are placed in the landscape as a focal point in a gathering area. Providing warmth, dancing flames and illumination, a fire feature can focus attention on one specific area of the landscape. Careful attention to available horizontal and vertical space is necessary. Size, shape and venting of the fire feature are constrained by these factors. Local building codes may also affect your choice of fire features.
Putting Landscape Lighting All Together
Harmony is the key to a magnificently illuminated garden oasis. Choosing the right elements to illuminate while providing your guests with a warm and inviting spot to enjoy is the trick. Start with the big picture like a gathering spot with a fire feature, or a dining or conversation area. Accent the pathways or walkways between each area. Throw in a couple of unique accents with flood lights or spot lights. Once in place, your illuminated garden oasis becomes a functional space throughout the year.