There are only three points to remember when it comes to mastering outdoor lighting. We call them the three S’s: Safety, Security, and Seductive.
Safety, because good lighting will prevent you from breaking your neck (be careful of this).
Security, because it will discourage thieves and the bogeyman (who will no longer have a dark place to hide).
Seductive, because well thought out, good lighting brings a touch of sophistication, a flavor, a spicy side, creates an atmosphere, an ambiance… The first two S are obvious, and it is the third, which is more subtle.
Go for a night walk in your garden, a torch in your hand. Where are you at risk of tripping? Where do you risk leaving the path and finding yourself in the dark? To get the car out of the driveway? Where will you regularly go (for example the trash corner)? See if the orientation of your lighting is well defined: the idea being to be able to go from point A to point B without risking breaking your neck.
In terms of safety, the lighting (quantity, arrangement …) depends on how your garden was created and your requirements, but keep in mind that we are talking about a garden, and not from the courtyard of a prison…
The world of outdoor lighting has its own vocabulary. Some of these terms relate to the orientation of the lighting (downward or upward lighting, backlighting); others, to the types of places where they are installed ( staircase lighting or aisle); still others, to the desired effect (highlighting, accentuating lighting); and the last, to the effect obtained (light touch, lighting imitating the light of the moon, clipping, shadow work). To simplify, we will retain only three main styles of lighting.
The target is illuminated from below. The luminaire is fixed at ground level or directly on the object to be illuminated.
It consists of fixing the luminaire at the top of a tree, on a trellis or an eave to illuminate a large area. This technique creates the perfect mood light for having fun in your garden and also meets the requirements of safety and security. To cast shadows on the ground similar to those created by the moon, hang a light with wide scattering, but of low intensity, on a tree or a trellis.
Place two lamps so that they form an angle, aiming at the object to be illuminated. A sharp-angled light will emphasize the texture of the object (like a touch) and/or create shadows. Use directional light to create a silhouette or to illuminate a work of art, sign, your address, or any focal point. In this photo, the low-angle lighting highlights this nocturnal landscape. To create this striking effect, a spotlight was installed at the foot of each tree trunk. The more the trees have a particular shape, the more successful the effect!
Or what I also call “the murderous light in the eyes”. After installing your lights, check that none of your spotlights are likely to dazzle anyone passing by. You can adjust the orientation of the spots, install a “shield”, reduce their power, move them, or remove them, quite simply. Low voltage fixtures are a great choice to avoid these glare concerns.
It does not make a difference if it is summer or winter. When spending time outdoors we have to keep safety in mind and outdoor lights can help us with that.