One can create similar patterns by the skillful placement of 12 volt lighting fixtures to create intriguing shapes, colors, shadows and reflections.
At the beginning of designing a landscape lighting system, one must visit a sight at night multiples times to fully understand all aspects of the sight. Some of the main focal points of a sight during the day can disappear at night such as a large sprawling Oak tree in the back of a lot. One cannot determine a lighting plan for a site if they have only seen it during the day. This would be something for the installer to note and later find the most effective way to light the specimen tree. Surrounding areas of the site should be considered during the design process. Our company does lighting demonstrations to get just what the client wants for their property. One should not place a light that is going to bother or burden a surrounding neighbor.
We want to accomplish three main goals when installing landscape lighting: beauty, safety, and security. We encourage our clients to drive around at night looking at other places with lighting and pick out elements they view as beautiful. Creating outdoor entertaining spaces or living areas with outdoor lighting can be a beautiful space. Lighting along paths, steps, change in elevation, along water edges are all ways it can help protect people as they use a sight. We want a client to feel as if their home is secure. We do this by eliminating dark corners at entryways or doorways were intruders could lurk. Often times with lighting project less is more. With the philosophy quality not quantity of lights we believe we can create a beautiful lighting plan which is also safe and secure.
Another very important part of landscape lighting is the clients view from inside the home. Our company highlights plants, fountains, and other important areas of your garden from living, dining, and entertaining areas within the home. Water is an element that is not normally seen at night unless highlighted with outdoor lighting. Water movement makes the light bounce and reflect emphasizing the water feature.
Our company is very careful to have no directional lights in anyone's eyes, and we use the proper lights and equipment to prevent this. Our company is also very careful to not create any glare most importantly with path lights. We reduce glare by using fixtures engineered to just that. A change in grade can cause a glare in a person's eyes as they walk down a path, so our company is very careful to install all lighting in just the right spot that no one has this issue.
One of the key elements our company has mastered to a great landscape lighting plan to be a success are quality products. Halogen lamps last longer than incandescent lamps and plants will retain their natural color under these lights. Because Charleston, SC areas are near the ocean we use corrosion resistant materials and always use water proof materials when slicing or attaching light fixtures.
Pleasant Landscapes has found that one of the main ways in creating the beauty is to focus on the light not the fixture. By hiding the fixtures whenever possible, the light given off is the main focus creating a magical effect by not seeing the fixture from which it comes. Lighting should be placed along path ways and at path intersections. Lighting can also be used to show perimeters of a property, but can also be used to make the perimeter look much more expansive. Using a variety of light fixtures and types of lighting makes the lighting plan more intricate and adds to the property. Every inch of the property does not need to be lit. Once again, we believe less can be more. Highlight specific elements and leave some dark areas when needed if it does not compromise the safety or security of the area.
Background Lighting: A lighting technique for creating a background. Beams of light are focused on a wall, fence trellis or dense planting. The other plants and lights then appear to sit within this backdrop.
Contour Lighting: Low fixtures are used to emphasize landscape forms and structures. It is good for defining the borders in gardens and paths.
Cross Lighting: One can create a three-dimensional effect with cross lighting. By lighting an object with floodlights from above and below with several floodlights a 3-D form is created. The multiple beams cross one another to soften the shadows and highlight details.
Deck and Step Lighting: This type of lighting is a great safety feature. Recessed lights are available for flush mounting onto stairs or walls and fixtures can also be mounted under the hand rail for subtle illumination and safety.
Down Lighting: Down lighting is created by placing lights high in trees or on elevated areas. It creates a broad illumination of the objects below. Down lighting is a great type of lighting for outdoor entertaining areas because of the multiple lights create a broader light source. The light is a soft light. Lights can be mounted on trellises, gazebos, facades, eaves or trees. It is often better not to light the entire tree.
Grazing: This type of lighting is great for areas with a lot of texture such as hardscapes including cobblestone, brick, stuccos, or even a tree with very intricate bark. The highest point of the surface is the brightest while the lower points remain dark. The contrast is amazing.
Moon Lighting: Moon lighting is created by casting light down through tree branches creating a softer light. The effect this lighting has is as if the area is being illuminated by a full moon. A dappled pattern of light and shadow is created as if it is being illuminated by the natural moon above. We put light fixtures invisible to the eye at night up in large mature trees. We point them up and down to get the full affect of the whole tree.
Mushroom Lights: The point of these lights is a large top that point the light down to the path or small shrubs.
Path Lighting: Path lighting is one of the most popular types of lighting. It is a low level lighting for walkways or paths. It can be considered a safety feature because if its ability to illuminate a paths beginning and end. Path lighting directs people where to go as they enter a driveway or a walkway to a doorway. If not used carefully, path lighting can be overdone and resemble an airplane runway.
Perspective Lighting: If a clients home has a focal point such as a path way creating an axis or a beautiful line of trees, this is a great type of lighting to use. It can accent a statue or fountain beautifully.
Shadowing: Shadowing is used to cast shadows from a object to a flat upright surface behind it. The fixture in front of and below the object creates a shadow on the upright object behind based on the amount of light intensity used and the distance the fixture is placed from the object.
Silhouetting: Shrubs and trees appear to stand out because the background appears to be lit. The light is concealed behind an object and then reflected. This makes the shrubs and trees appear to standing out against a lit background.
Spotlighting: By aiming a floodlight directly at objects such as plants, statues, surfaces or architectural design they can become the spotlight.
Step or Surface Mount Lights: These lights provide accent lighting and are used in areas where safety and security are important on places such as boardwalks.
Tier Lights: Tier lights cast light down towards the base of the fixture like a path light. Tier lights are used to define paths, walkways and steps with a soft ring of light.
Underwater Lights: These light fixtures can be above or below water and enhance the beauty of any pool, fountain, or pond. Above water lights are called floating lights while below water lights are submersible lights. Either type of light one uses draws attention to the water feature in the yard adding another layer to the design.
Uplighting: The name of this light gives it away. A fixture is placed on the ground facing up to illuminate a tree, statue, or other feature.
Well Lights: Well lights are disguised by hiding them in the ground. The shine up to illuminate from their hidden below ground spot.