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Landscape lighting is becoming increasingly popular and is a growing part of our business.  This is with good reason because, when landscape lighting is done well, it’s a great way to add a whole new dimension of beauty and drama to your landscape.

But what does “done well” mean when it comes to landscape lighting?

To give you an idea, we’d like to post an excerpt from an article that appeared in the 2011 issue of Dwelling in the Great Lakes Bay magazine.  The article is entitled “Landscape Challenges – Add Aesthetically Pleasing Outdoor Lighting for Function and Charm” and it features an interview with Dave Fletcher, Landscape Designer for Reder Landscaping:

Question:  I’d like to add night time lighting to my home’s yard, but I don’t want my walkways lined with “runway lights”.  Can you help?

Answer:  “Landscape lighting is a great way to add beauty and value to your home, when it’s done well.”  says Dave Fletcher, landscape designer with Reder Landscaping of Midland.  “The runway effect is a common mistake but it can be avoided by choosing the right fixtures and developing a balanced plan”.  The goal, he explains, is to see the effects of the light and not the bulbs.  He recommends concentrating first on lighting the home itself, then the pathways, and then key plants and focal points.

Lighting archways, corners, and columns on your home highlights the architecture and is the foundation for the lighting plan.  Fletcher mentions silhouetting, grazing, and shadowing as potential techniques.  “Casting light onto a wall through an ornamental grass that’s swaying through a breeze creates beautiful dramatic shadows,” he says.  

For garden paths or walkways, stagger lights (with hidden bulbs) along alternate sides of the walk to cast pools of light for both aesthetics and safety.  “You’ll see path light fixtures during the day,” says Fletcher, “so choose a model that’s attractive and suits your style”.  The copper fixture installed for the homeowner (see above photo) throws light and shadow through the holes in the shade creating a charming dappled effect on walls and plants. 

Finally, lighting objects in the landscape – art pieces, arbors, bird baths, or key plants – adds depth. “Uplighting a birch tree, with its curling bark, makes it a feature all on its own, especially in the winter,” says Fletcher.

“In a balanced plan,” he concludes, “these techniques work together to create a beautiful and inviting night time setting from outside, and just as importantly, from inside your home, while avoiding the dreaded runway effect.”

To learn more, visit our Landscape Lighting Services page or our Landscape Lighting Idea Gallery.  Or contact us to speak with one of our landscape designers to see how well planned landscape lighting can enhance your yard.