Landscape Lighting 101

Many homeowners have to get versed in landscape lighting 101 before undertaking a major exterior project. There are a lot of moving parts to every project, and both placement and fixture selection will make a major impact on how the home looks following installation. For some homeowners, security is the first priority, while for others, curb appeal is more important. Fortunately, it’s possible to get both when working with an experienced professional, and with emerging fixture technologies, like LED fixtures, it’s also possible to get a system that is efficient and reliable.

The Basics of Landscape Lighting 101

The standard fixtures for every exterior project are path fixtures, up and down fixtures, flood fixtures and bullet fixtures. Each one has a purpose, and is intended for certain settings. When combined by an experienced professional, with help from their photometric software, it’s possible to illuminate elements precisely and deliver illumination where it is most needed. A professional can even generate a mood with proper fixture placement, making a property feel inviting or imposing. This is what a typical exterior illumination project looks like:

  1. Bullet fixtures – Bullet fixtures are multipurpose and are named for their shape, which does look like a bullet, though not all manufacturers stick to this form factor. Bullet fixtures are highly versatile, though they are most often used for spot installations. They can be used to show off architectural features or aimed up into trees to create different levels of illumination.
  2. Path fixtures – Path fixtures, like their name suggests, are installed along pathways to provide soft task illumination. Because these fixtures are clearly visible from the road and from a path, they are designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Path fixtures are almost always run on low voltage to maintain safety.
  3. Flood fixtures – Flood fixtures are designed to illuminate larger areas, and are also relied on to illuminate trees. In this latter role, flood fixtures are installed at ground level and aimed up into the tree. Flood fixtures are also ideal for enhancing security, as they can output a great deal of illumination. Finally, flood fixtures are often brought out when working outside at night, also because they can produce a lot of illumination.
  4. Wall fixtures or sconces – Wall sconces are often the first fixtures that people see from the curb, as they are typically placed on either side of the front door. Sconces are designed with aesthetics in mind, and may look like lanterns or something more contemporary. Wall sconces are fitted with soft fixtures to help the property feel warmer.

Although halogen technology has long been the primary choice for exterior installations, LED fixtures are quickly gaining on halogen. LED fixtures are extremely efficient and long lived, lasting up to 100,000 hours in some instances. LED is also safe and controllable, and can be attached to timers or occupancy controls to increase efficiency further.

Experienced professionals have landscape lighting 101 down, and can bring a sophisticated approach to illuminating an entire property, no matter its size or its features.