Buyer’s Guide to Landscape Lighting Design
If you have ever taken on any large task you probably had some sort of game plan before you started. Without planning, you will likely end up with an unfinished project, leaving you defeated, frustrated, and disappointed. Attempting to do your own landscape lighting design is definitely one of those projects that will require tons of planning, time, and labor. Beginning your DIY quest without having a big picture of your goals and what is required to achieve the goal, would be a mistake.
Many groups can benefit from landscape lighting designs, not just homeowners. This is because there are many reasons for lighting landscapes. Because not all lighting fixtures produce the same results, how you apply the fixture to your lighting design is important. There are many helpful tips you can use to help you create the landscape lighting design of your dreams. But keep in mind that safety requirements must also be met during the process. There are also other factors that should be taken into consideration such as lighting control, the different types of bulbs, Dark-sky and UL ratings, uniform brightness, and cost and maintenance. So, let’s start by addressing the most important aspect of landscape lighting: the purpose of your lighting design.
Reasons for Landscape Lighting
Generally, people want to feel safe within their surroundings, especially their home. When guests enter the premises, they have the expectation that you will not put them in any danger. Landscape lighting offers safety and security to make all guests feel at ease. Lighting prevents tripping and falling caused by safety hazards, such as objects that are difficult to see to see in the darkness. It also deters intruders from entering the property due to brightly illuminated fixtures.
You also want your landscape lighting design to be visually appealing. Lighting can be used to highlight architectural designs, be decorative, and create an ambiance. In those situations, your focus is typically on the effect of the light, rather than the fixture itself. Eyes will be directed towards the details of the greenery, structures, and trees that you light. In Contrast, path lighting fixtures will be on display, so the style of your fixture will be seen. So, think about the purpose of you landscape lighting design.
Who Can Benefit from Landscape Lighting
Homeowners, pool owners, rental property owners, businesses, and restaurants can all benefit from landscape lighting designs. Homeowners can use the lighting to serve as an accent or decoration, for safety from tripping hazards and security against unwanted intruders. Landscape lighting can also help pool owners look after their children who are playing in or around the pool at night. If you are a swimmer who enjoys doing laps at night, especially after a hot summer day, you don’t have to worry about the sun ruining your workout. Lighting is also extremely convenient for finding objects, such as phones that may have fallen in.
Rental owners can utilize the designs to light storage units, warehouses, and areas where surveillance cameras are located. Those who live in apartments on desolate and poorly lit streets will also feel a sense of security knowing that they can see any suspicious strangers heading their way.
If you are a business, highlighting products on window display inside businesses is a great marketing strategy. Lighting designs can be used during the day or night. Using flashy signage can also attract customers from the distance, who may not have stopped in without it. This is a great way to drive in business for the company.
Restaurants can utilize the landscape lighting design on a patio to create a fancy or cozy eating experience using deck lights. Providing an enjoyable ambiance for patrons may keep them coming back for more. Perhaps word of mouth of the restaurant’s inviting atmosphere will turn it into a local hotspot.
Color and Intensity
There are some principles that apply to both indoor and outdoor lighting. Kelvins are used to show the color and intensity of the light. The lowest kelvin is 1800K and produces a red tone, or warm tone, while the highest kelvin is 7500, which has a bluish white, or cool, tone. Lighting has three layers - overall, task, and accent. Overall light illuminates an entire space. An example of this is an overhead light. Task lighting has a specific purpose, such as lighting the BBQ grill. If you want to draw attention to a focal point, use accent lighting. Spotlights and floodlights serve this purpose. Also, take note of the finish and color of your fixture. The finish refers to the type of material, such as brass, stainless steel, and copper of the fixture. These fixtures will always have their shine and are long-lasting.
Choosing between 12V or 120V
Another important factor to consider is the landscape lighting system that you would like to have. If you have an existing landscape lighting system, then that will give you an idea about the type of voltage that you will use. Also, the size of your layout will play a role in helping you choose your voltage system. 120V lighting system works with a large landscape. However, a 12V low voltage landscape lighting system is safer and uses less energy. It is also easier to install and supplied by a central power source. DIY installation should take a few days and can be done using low cost fixtures and transformers. If you decide to go with a professional be aware that the system installation will run you at least $2000.
A 12V low-voltage system includes a transformer, bulb, fixture housing, stake, and a cable. A transformer converts a 120V lighting system to 12V. Bulbs dictate brightness, color, beam width, and the amount of electricity that it uses. To protect the bulb from outside elements, the fixture housing shields the bulb and shapes the light beam. The fixture attaches to a stake that is fixed into the ground, keeping it in place. Current is then carried through the wires of the fixture which lights it up!
However, if you have an existing lighting system that is 120V, then you should continue to use that system. The downsides to using 120V are that it’s costly and will most likely require a professional because of the difficulty installation process. This landscape lighting system must be installed at least 6 feet below surface level in galvanized conduit. Converting to 12V is usually a better option.
After you have figured out whether you are using 12V or 120V, you must look at your power source. GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter, outlets are the most common and are typically used by low-voltage systems. If you’re unsure of whether it’s a GFCI outlet, you can use either the reset button or a GFCI tester, if there is no reset button, to find out. An easier power source option is solar-power because no electricity or wires needed. It obtains its power directly from sunlight. So, during the day the solar-powered panels soaks up energy and at night it uses that energy to turn on automatically. They also work during power outages and are low cost. However, these panels must be in an area where it will get direct sun exposure, or it will not work properly. Another downside to solar lighting is the noticeable and unattractive solar panels.
Pay attention to scope and scale. Look at the area where you are setting up the lighting design. The height and size of the fixture should be appropriate for the surroundings. So, if a pathway is large then use large path lights which project light farther and are larger in diameter.
Materials and engineering
Not all fixtures are built the same. Look at the quality of the materials and its engineering. So, even if you like a certain fixture, if it’s of poor quality then it won’t last and won’t be worth the purchase. Corrosion is hugely problematic when it comes to fixtures due to outdoor elements. Therefore, stay away from aluminum materials. Instead, opt for copper, steel, or brass since their shine never fades. But just because a fixture is made from good material doesn’t mean it will last. Engineering is just as important as quality. For example, if the design of a fixture allows for water to seep in, then you will be paying to replace that product, adding to the cost of your overall project.
Types of Landscape Lighting
If you are looking for accent lighting or to highlight structural details, then use a spotlight. These lights are usually placed in greenery, architecture, and sometimes pools. A spotlight shoots out a narrow beam spread of 45 degrees, perfect for focal points. Create a dramatic effect by casting a shadow of an object or showcase the natural features of trees. You can also add a motion detector to a spotlight and install it against the wall for functionality.
When installing a spotlight, the power pack needs to go near the GFCI outlet. Pick an area where you want to place the spotlight. Note that you must create a trench for a cable if one is needed. Then create a stake hole where you light will placed. Next, connect the spotlight to the power pack. The power pack will then be connected to the GFCI outlet.
Angles and distance play a significant role in spotlights. Simply place the spotlight closer to the structure and aim a sharp angle upwards to make a focal point. For even lighting, put the spotlight further away from the object. Be sure to always aim the spotlight in the direction you are looking and from a perspective that won’t blind people. Factors such as the kelvin temperature of the light, the color of the object, how reflective the object is, and the location of the spotlight are important for optimal lighting.
Floodlights would be your best option if you are looking for a source of landscape lighting for driveways and big spaces. It has a wide 120-degree beam spread that helps to protect against unwanted guests. Floodlights use the same wattage as spotlights and can also be used as an accent.
To install a floodlight, find a power source and a high point of a building. You will then need to cut a hole in the wall which will hold the light. Place the light in the wall. The electrical cable for the light will need to go through the hole and then connected to the power source.
During the day, in-ground lights blend in with their surroundings. They remain unseen at night and are used for highlighting details of your landscape lighting design. In-ground lights are great for trees and walls to create accent lighting. These lights also illuminate walkways, driveways, and sometimes pools. If you are installing in-ground lights into a driveway, make sure that the lights can withstand the weight of the vehicle. LED lighting is the best choice since it lasts longer and is a strong source of illumination. LED lights also minimize the hassle of having to replace the bulbs, especially if it is pool lighting.
As the name suggests, in-ground lighting fixtures are placed or buried directly into the ground, such as pavement or gravel.
Whether you want to guide guests to different outdoor areas or to their cars, protect plants from being trampled over, deter unwanted intruders by brightly illuminating property, or take a simple design and enhance it, path lights are the perfect solution. A common type of landscape lighting, path lights are miniature light posts. They line walkways making it easy to travel to different locations of your outdoor space. Try not to use too many or it will overly illuminate the path. Place the fixtures an appropriate distance away from each other to prevent cluttering. Downlights will prevent glare. The fixtures will be visible at night, so style is important. Choose a fixture to your liking that will blend in with the theme of your lighting design.
Feel free to install motion sensors and program them to light the path as guests walk by for visual appeal or to save power. You can set the timer to turn path lights on for when you arrive home late at night from work or to turn them off before bed in case you forget. If you are not near a power source, solar-powered lights are a great choice because it’s convenient and energy efficient. However, be mindful of where solar-powered lights are located since they require direct sunlight exposure to work.
There are various styles of path lights. People are probably most familiar with the traditional path light, which looks like a post with a helmet. However, there are many variations of these lights. Don’t be afraid to explore other options. Try to stay away from fixtures that will look dated in a few years. There is also the directional path light. It is a post with a swiveling head, which allows you to control the direction of the light and reduce unwanted glare. Contemporary path lights are versatile because not only do they work with contemporary designs, but there are models that can be used with traditional homes without looking out of place.
A bollard path light is a type of path light that is larger than the other path lights. Because they have more intricate designs, they work great as decorative fixtures for lighting up paths. Their stout design makes them sturdy enough to stand in ground where other path lights can’t. There are even larger bollards that are better for framing entrances and gateways, rather than paths.
Post lights and pier mount lights
A post light has a lantern that sits on top of a post. The lantern spreads light around a large area. So, be sure to place the post far from your house. The post light comes separately from the lamp post which will be mounted into the ground. For energy efficiency, use LED or solar-powered post lights. You can choose to mount a post light using a pier-mount adapter onto a wall. Screw the adapter at a shallow height and place the lantern on top of the adapter. You can use these lights on the side walls of your driveway.
Place these lights on the outside area of an outdoor deck or patio to illuminate the surface at night. They are typically installed into the deck or patio material, increasing safety by making a lit boundary of the surface that prevents trips and falls. There are good for places where there is heavy foot traffic.
Like deck lights, step lights serve as protection against stumbling at night. They are installed into the material or even nearby to light the steps and stairs. Aside from functionality, such as lighting areas where people commonly walk, step lights can have a decorative purpose.
Light the base of your tree and flowerbeds with well lights. They are partially buried into the ground and subtly light the area, which helps to conceal them. Use them with underwater lights to give the landscape area a glowing effect for ambiance. If you want a sleek yet simple lighting design, combine well lights with recessed lights. They can also be used to highlight details just like a spotlight.
Due to their design, pond lights can be installed into the water and illuminated day or night. Pond lights can also showcase the details and features of ponds, such as moving water.
These fixtures are installed onto or into your landscape area and are used to light hard materials like stone, brick, or tiles. Hardscape lights use small LED lights but still manage to emit a lot of light. You can keep them exposed or out of sight. Use them to light up handrails, decks, stairs, walls, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and patios.
Hardscape fixtures are growing in popularity and light deck handrails and steps. For short tight areas, a 3in strip of light will do. However, when lighting under deck handrails, steps, or retaining walls use a 6in size strip. The more light needed for an area, the larger the size of the strip.
Application of fixtures in landscape lighting and design
How you use fixtures, whether for decorative or functional purposes, determines the method of lighting. Place the fixture on the ground and create an accent by positioning the light upwards or towards the feature, such as a tree trunk, tall structure, or even ponds. Apply the method with spotlights and well lights for a dramatic effect.
To down light, the fixtures must be placed within the leaves and branches of tall trees. This will cast shadows below. Use a wide-angle fixture for ambient glow and a narrow-angle fixture towards a focal point to highlight details. Spotlights and floodlights are typically used for this effect.
You can also use spotlights and well lights for silhouetting to dramatically highlight certain landscape features. The light goes behind the object, making sure the fixture is hidden, and then light the main vantage point using the up lighting technique. If you use multiple fixtures, then you will get a blend of shadow and light.
The opposite of silhouetting, for shadowing the light is placed between the main vantage point and the object you’re are lighting. Aim the light at the landscape feature. Note that the light is placed farther away from the object than when silhouetting and up lighting. For optimal shadowing, use spotlights, well lights, or floodlights on a wall or flat surface behind the object so the light can catch it and display it on the wall.
Great for when you have large trees, a spotlight is placed in the tree and aimed down, keeping the fixture hidden. The light will filter through the branches and create a bright moonlight effect. When using this method, it is best to choose trees that are at least 25ft or higher for easier placement of lights in the branches. Many lights are needed in addition to hard, flat surfaces. Deciduous trees are perfect for producing this effect. If you want to make the space feel like the woods, then uplight on trees close to the house and moonlight trees that are tall and farther away from the house. This also eliminates the need for path lighting fixtures.
Great for homes with a lot of hardscapes, well lights and hardscape lights are placed close to a flat surface and aimed up or down the surface, preferably one that has a textured wall. This grazing effect produces unique shadows and creates a dramatic effect. Hotels and restaurants typically use this lighting method.
If you want ambient lighting, then consider the washing method. Use floodlights on flat features, such as walls, or hedge to “wash”, brightly illuminating it. The entertainment area is a good place for this effect. Place the floodlight between the main vantage point and the surface to light the entire area.
Don’t assume that this is an easy technique. Oftentimes, people use too many lights for the pathway and don’t space them far enough apart. What you’re left with is a space that feels cramped rather than inviting. The best fixtures for the job are path lights, and bollards.
Deck, step, and specialty lighting: deck lights, step lights
Outdoor entertainment areas are perfect for these lights because of the heavy foot traffic. It is a good idea to light steps with risers and treads for safety. You can also light railings and seating areas, as well as tasks areas on a deck or patio. An example of a task area would be an outdoor kitchen. Although it may be difficult to do, up light an umbrella or deck “ceiling”. Pergolas can be brightly lit when viewed from the house, but a dimmer switch will give the area a cozy, inviting vibe.
Design Tips and Ideas
Hydrangeas have the ability to produce different lighting effects throughout the year. You must think about what plants look like throughout the year to decide on light placement. For example, hydrangeas reflect light dramatically when in flower, but during the colder months when they have faded leaves and blooms they produce a dancing shadows effect.
Recommended method: Path lighting
Be sure to plan your landscape lighting design before installing the object you want to light. This is because when you install hardscape and plants, placing the light will be difficult. Statues need to be viewed from a certain direction for the best effect. You may not be able to get to the area where the light should be placed because of already-existing landscape features. If you are up lighting statutes, use a yellow or orange light, which produces a warm effect. Plants should be lit with a cool light, which is a whitish bluish color.
Recommended method: up lighting
For a narrow porch with pillars next to the door, backlight the pillars. Behind the pillars becomes the focal point. This produces depth and a dramatic effect to the front of the house. If your door is made of dark wood, then use an amber lens on the fixture to make the wood darker and richer.
Recommended method: silhouetting
Water features and natural beauty
You can choose to make water features the focal point by lighting from within and up lighting. While water is not naturally lit like that, this lighting method creates an amazing effect. If you don’t want the water features to be the focal point, then use soft downlighting. It makes the features look natural. Instead of being drawn to the features, the sounds of the water will most likely be heard before people see the pond and its lighting design.
Recommended method: up lighting
Cool light & warm and cool lighting
To achieve a natural moonlight effect, the color temperature of your lighting should be 5500 kelvins. Moonlight has a cooler, bluer look than artificial indoor lighting. Place a spotlight overhead in the trees to softly illuminate the area. You can also combine warm and cool lighting. Candlelight has 2000 kelvins which produces a yellow effect. This warm light will stand out with overhead moonlighting for an eye-catching effect.
Recommended method: moon lighting
Less is more
Placing path lights is important when you use inexpensive fixtures or stakes. Less lights are better in this situation. Path lights should subtly guide, not brightly illuminate the area or focus your attention on the outline of the path. It is up to you to decide the amount of lead wire you want to use for final adjustment of the fixtures. Most landscape lights have 6 ft of lead wire. Path lights typically illuminate walkways and stairways to protect against hazards that may obstruct your path. To properly light the area, they should be 14 inches high and one foot from both sides of the path. Do not fully illuminate the pathway.
Add color and texture
Create color and texture by placing path lights near unique plants to display its charm.
Work with what you’ve got
Forget about path lights altogether and instead opt for up lit trees and downlighting from your house. This is another method of lighting your walkway without relying on path lights.
Recommended method: path lighting
Spotlights and in-ground lights
Use 1-2 fixtures for small objects and roughly 4 fixtures for large objects, such as large trees, that you can look at from many different angles. Be sure to buy extra lighting accent and in-ground lights. The great thing about these lights is that you can adjust the beam angle and light output on them after they are installed. So, if you have a tree that grows significantly, you can always add fixtures and adjust them all.
This light produces the most ambient lighting. Install these fixtures 1ft to 2ft from the wall, which will produce an even illumination, and spread them out 6-8 feet apart. Use the floodlights on flat features, such as a wall or hedge.
As mentioned before, these lights typically are placed where there is heavy foot traffic, such as steps, decks, and patios. For indicator lights, the perimeter borders should have at least 2ft of spacing.
Landscape Lighting Design
Assess your landscape & determine focal points
Walk through your landscape during the day and night. Observe which areas and features need highlighting, these are your focal points. Look at walls, gardens, ponds, the textures of objects and walls. Note your focal points and features where you want attention to be drawn. Then select the lighting for other landscape features like pathways, deck areas, porches, and driveways. It is a good idea to look at the landscape at night with a high-powered flashlight with a dimming optic. Use the dimmer to play with the lighting to see what works and what doesn’t.
Begin with a sketch
Sketch the landscape by starting with a perimeter. Add buildings, decks, trees, vegetation, and any decorations that should be showcased in the garden. Add the focal points that were defined, noting their approximate height and length. Think about lighting areas such as the driveway, path, entry, steps, deck, patio, gazebo, and other architectural features. Look at features you like and areas where you’d like to draw attention to that currently doesn’t have it. Note the areas that could use functional lighting, such as pathways and deck stairs. Keep in mind that entryways should always be lit!
Select fixtures and wattage for desired effect. You can play with color, beam width and brightness levels on accent, flood and in-ground landscape fixtures. Select the appropriate fixture and wattage for the look you want.
Determine power source, total wattage, transformer, and cable needs
Locate the GFCI outlet which should have a reset button. If there is no reset button, then use a GFCI tester to find out if it is a GFCI outlet. Add the wattage of all the light fixtures to determine total fixture wattage. Then select a transformer, which should be 20 watts higher than the total fixture wattage. It’s a good idea to buy a transformer with more wattage than you need in case you want to add lighting in the future. Measure the distance from the power supply to the farthest fixture. Add 1-2ft of extra cable for each fixture to determine the amount of cable and gauge this project will require. Use a 12-gauge cable if your total fixture wattage exceeds 200. If it is less than 200, use a 16-gauge cable. Lastly, follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to proceed with installation.
You can use a regular switch that you can flip to turn the lights on and off. Another control is a motion sensor. You can also opt for special timers with photo cells. This gives timers the ability to turn on when it senses the sun going down and turn off at the first hint of light. Timers can be used in all areas, but not recommended for pathways and entryways.
Advantages of LED lighting
LED lights has its perks. Let’s go through a rundown of what they are. The life of a LED light wins by a landslide against a halogen bulb. One LED light can last 40,000 hours, or 20 years of regular use. A halogen bulb, however, has only two years of life. Using only 1 to 11 watts, the energy efficiency of LEDs is much greater than the 20 to 60 watts halogens burn. Because LED lights have smaller transformers and cables they cost less to install. Throw in lower operating costs and maintenance, you save about 50 percent compared to halogens over the span of 15 years.
But before you set your heart on an LED lighting system, there is one major thing you must know. LED lights are expensive. They cost roughly $40 a bulb, while halogens go for $5. They tend to also have a temperature of about 6,000K, a cold blue light color. Try to get a LED light of about 3,000K which is yellowish orange, a warm color temperature. Another downside is the light output, or lumens. The lumens, an indicator of brightness, is much greater in halogen bulbs. Because solar-powered lights use LEDs, they aren’t the best choice for lighting up your house. However, you can use their soft glow to define edges, such as flowerbeds and gardens.
Dark-Sky and UL ratings
When fixtures emit too much light or are improperly installed it may cause lights to shine brighter than intended. This effect is called light pollution. The brightness of light pollution can disturb people who are indoors, makes star-gazing impossible, and poses a danger to people driving by, creating a blinding glare. And think about the high cost and great amount of energy used! The good news is there are simple ways to prevent light pollution. Be sure to frequently check the positioning of the lights, making sure they are properly aimed. Try to use fixtures that have reflectors and shields that direct the light to the areas you want lit. When you lower the wattage, it still emits a good amount of light but decreases the harshness. Lastly, turn the lights on only when you need to use them. Control the lights with dimmers, timers, controls, or motion sensors.
There are a few lights that work well as outdoor fixtures. Incandescent lights provide good illumination. However, they use quite a bit of energy. Halogen bulbs are one step above incandescent bulbs, lasting longing and using even less energy. Even better than both incandescent and halogens are fluorescent bulbs. Not only do they provide a broad color range of lights, they last longer and use less amount of energy of the other two. But LED lights come out on top, consuming not only the least amount of energy, but also lasts decades. While they are the most expensive out of all the lights, in the long-run LED lights are a good investment.
Landscaping lights need to meet certain safety guidelines to avoid the hazards of coming into contact with moisture. Wet and Damp ratings are given by Underwriters Laboratories (UL rating) to make sure these safety standards are met. If the landscape lighting fixture is directly exposed to moisture, then it must have a Wet rating. On the contrary, fixtures that will likely be covered or not in direct contact with moisture should have a Damp rating. These ratings must be followed to maintain a safe environment for you and your guests.
Do not attach fixtures to one cable in a daisy chain. If you do, then that might cause the lights closest to the transformer to shine brighter than those lights farther away. The alternative is to run a cable to a waterproof junction box. Use equal lengths of cable to branch out from the junction box. If the runs are less than 50ft, then power should make it to a halogen fixture at 10.8 to 11.5 volts. LED lights will receive 8 to 15 volts of power. Bury low voltage cables a minimum of 6 inches and anchor the fixture into the ground with a plastic spike.
Cost and maintenance
If you do plan to take on this DIY project, it’s important to break down its cost. Not only will it help you stay on budget, but you will get a better idea of whether you will need a professional for any of it. You can get a fixture for as low as $20 but keep the quality of the fixture in mind. Remember, if you are worried about cost and stick with low costing fixtures, you may end up paying more to replace them in the future. Transformers can cost about $200. If you decide to go with a professional, a 10-light system will cost at least $2,000! Make sure you maintain clean fixtures, removing any leaves or dirt. This protects the fixtures from overheating. Immediately replacing any broken bulbs to prevent other working bulbs from shortening.
Your lights should always be in working order. Be aware of the warranties on your fixtures and transformers. Their warranties can last from one to ten years. Think about investing money into good quality lights. Pick material that will have a long life and won’t rust, such as stainless steel. and Though expensive, LED is the best option for long-lasting, cost-effective, and energy efficient lights. So now that you have a guide to help you through your landscape lighting design, go ahead and put a plan together. Lastly - this project is labor-intensive so make sure to set aside enough time to work on it. And don’t be afraid to seek the advice of a professional who can help keep you on track!
Different groups can benefit- from landscape lighting, from homeowners, pool owners to rental property owners, business owners, and restaurants. Safety and security for homeowners and allows people to still swim in pool after sunset. They can see what’s in and outside around the pool. Can keep kids safe because parents can see them. Rental owners will have residents feel safety, can light storage units, warehouses, and can light under surveillance cameras. For businesses, can highlight certain products and attract people from the outside in. Can also feature signs at night. Patio lighting can offer luxurious eating experience and mood.
Determine how much work you want to put into the job, because the volts used will dictate whether a pro does the installation. Setting the budget requires knowing what type of voltage you need and what is within your budget. There are various angles and distances that create different effects, such as shadows and soft glows. Blue tinted bulbs will create a moonlight effect.
Spotlights result in dramatic lighting that is eye-catching. Can brighten up the air with colored Chinese lanterns or create a soft romantic ambiance with globe lights. Can surround spotlights with rocks to hide the fixtures.
Discusses how to choose the best path light and the many types that exist. Traditional pathlights is a post with a top hat but they come in many style. Choose one that won’t look dated after a few years. Directional path light has a post and a head that can swivel in any direction, giving more control over where light is being cast. This allows reduction of glare where it could be produced in certain areas. Contemporary path lights come in various shapes & sizes, are unique. They blend well in contemporary homes and not homes with traditional looks. Bollard path lights are created for a larger scale, used in commercial settings or when going for a particular look. Constructed and built to stand in areas where other lights would fall
Scope & scale is important as the height and size should match the surroundings. If lighting a large, winding path, then large pathlights are appropriate that cast light further in a larger diameter.
Quality materials & engineering are other important factors that must be considered. Not all fixtures are built the same. You may like the style but if it’s poor quality it won’t last. Aluminum materials won’t last because they corrode quickly due to elements. Copper, brass, bronze, and steel are good materials. Engineering is just as important as quality materials because even if it’s made out of good materials, if it is built where water will seep in it will ruin the fixture.
Path lights should be part of the overall landscaping design. Motion sensor can add visual appeal by lighting one at a time as a guest walks, giving a dramatic feel. However, it will not work for all landscaping projects as they will not be turned on the entire time. Pathlights can also be on a timer in case you forget to put the lights on for guests for forget to take them off once you get home. Solar-powered lights may be a good option because it is energy efficient and convenient for when you are not near a transformer. However, you must be mindful of where the lights are located. They must have direct sunlight in order to work. Don’t be afraid to go after different styles of path lights, rather than the traditional look of a short post and globe on top.