Landscape architects create advanced home landscaping designs for the express purpose of transforming properties into true outdoor living environments. The success of these environments depends greatly on residential landscape lighting, which serves a number of important functional and aesthetic purposes essential to the experiential elements of landscape design. Accessibility, appreciation, and varying emotional states are all inextricably tied to this highly specialized discipline essential to superior landscape design.
On a practical level, residential landscape lighting makes a yard safe to enjoy at night. The human eye, once it adjusts to night vision, needs far less light than we have been led to believe. In many places low-voltage fixtures are often all that is required to create enough visibility for human safety.
Pathways through gardens, stepping stone walkways, and small patios around gardens and ponds are just a few of the areas where a minimal amount of light creates just enough of a comfort zone to safely walk without diminishing the aesthetic of the surroundings with too much intensity or glare.
Such a carefully planned approach to illuminating a pathway or landscape element allows the residential landscape lighting designer to take what would otherwise be a purely necessary function-that of making mobility safe and convenient-and turn function into an aesthetic in its own right. What we mean by this is very simple. Whatever we make visible emerges from the shadows as a three dimensional form rich with color, texture, and unique points of differentiation.
Home lighting fixtures illuminate the house as the preeminent feature on the lot and help set the tone for the aesthetic of the property as a whole. Garden lights of all varieties allow guests to see even the smallest details of the most ornate and formal designs on even the darkest of nights. Gathering areas, pathways, and seating areas appear clearly visible and accessible from all major points of the yard.
In order to create such a diversity of forms visible without creating a blinding outdoor glare, residential landscape lighting experts must to treat each subject individually and use a wide range of fixtures to accomplish the task. Lighting a line of boxwoods surrounding a French garden is not the same as lighting an organic wall of yew trees that grow along the property line.
Lighting large, standing trees requires a special type of fixture mounted in concealed spaces between branches. Illuminating a home or outdoor building requires a combination of fixture types and some very creative mounting techniques that will make both the general form of the structure and the entirety of its surface area clearly visible from all viewing angles.
Once general visibility is established, the residential landscape lighting designer can turn his or her attention to accenting the most unique and distinguishing features of structures and organic elements. This layering of accent light is extremely important to the aesthetic of the property because it creates points of interest that, when viewed in relationship to one another, create a thematic linkage that emphasizes style, tradition, or personal customization through imagery and emphasis.
Architectural highlights, for example, can be brought to the forefront with special spotlighting techniques created with hidden fixtures that reveal the cultural or stylistic origins of a particular type of house. A parterre garden planted around intersecting axes can be highlighted by path lights that bisect the greenery and establish the visual importance of linearity and right angles to French garden design. Custom patio design can be emphasized with a variety of energy efficient fixtures that magnify the decorative aspects of stonework and decorative design.
The emotional responses that viewers will have to the decorative aspects of residential landscape lighting can then be extended beyond pure enjoyment and actually work to support activities and events. Pool and fountain lights of all varieties can be used to illuminate the water and create a myriad of special effects that help create a sense of mystique and timelessness to special occasions. Low-level lighting in entry gardens and outdoor fireplaces helps set the tone for quiet conversation. Brighter lights inside custom kitchens, outdoor rooms, and around swimming pools help establish a tone of festivity and high energy.
When we consider all the varying and important roles played by residential landscape lighting, it becomes clearly evident that this discipline is far more than a minor supporting element to landscape plans and garden plans. It is a complex and highly evolved science in its own right tied to architecture, art, and outdoor design much in the same way as our own discipline.
Professional landscapers always make it a point to partner with only the very best and most exclusive residential landscape lighting experts in order to ensure that any outdoor living environment we create for our clients will provide residents and guests with a truly superior outdoor living experience.