12 common landscape lighting mistakes to avoid
A well-lit landscape instantly enhances visual appeal, making it more conducive and inviting for any event, from elaborate parties to quiet barbeque evenings. Pleasant outdoor lighting can single-handedly elevate the ambiance and set the right mood for occasions held in these spaces. Landscape lighting involves considering several aspects, including shortlisting lighting equipment, installing lights, and testing their efficacy. However, avoiding a few common mistakes given below while lighting a landscape can ensure a hassle-free process:
Causing direct glare
Direct glare is when a light source is directly exposed to the eye without any shield to filter it. Such direct exposure to light can cause severe discomfort and affect one’s vision. Studies have shown that direct glare increases one’s risk of developing cataracts and other eye conditions during one’s later years. Thus, lights should be covered with glare shields and spotlights to prevent glare from directly entering the eyes.
Placing lights in a straight line
Arranging lights in a straight line gives rise to a rather uninteresting design resembling a runway. Arranging lights in curves or innovative shapes and patterns is a good idea to facilitate visual appeal. LED string lights, spotlights, chandeliers, balloon lights, etc., arranged esthetically across a landscape, can create a subtly radiant ambiance for an event.
Overlooking centerpiece lighting
Centerpiece lighting ensures a festive atmosphere and sets the mood for an outdoor event. It also enhances the dining experience and quality of interactions. Cubical table-light centerpieces, elegant crystal lamps, or classic table lamps are ideal centerpiece lighting options for events and parties. Moreover, installing high-lit tables, or tables with subtle lighting underneath them, can add to an outdoor event’s splendor.
Not exploring unique lighting ideas
Good lighting serves the practical purpose of illuminating the surroundings and the aesthetic need for a visually appealing environment. Thus, even though conventional lighting can increase the radiance of a landscape, walking the extra mile to think out of the box can significantly elevate its look and feel. Today, several unique lighting ideas have been devised to enhance the aesthetics of a landscape, from the architectural lighting of pathways and entrances to laser and LED string lights.
Compromising on light quality for the price
Cheap outdoor lighting fixtures may be attractive options to reduce costs, but these can increase one’s expenses substantially in the long run. It is essential to thoroughly research different lighting brands and designers and opt for ones that optimally balance quality and cost.
Not paying attention to the shadow effect
While lights illuminate a landscape, shadows create depth perception and textures. Opting for indirect light fixtures and strategically installing lights to facilitate shadows can help ensure a light-and-shadow effect in landscapes.
Not using the proper beam spread
The ideal beam spread for a landscape depends on the size of a landscape feature. Thus, taller landscape features require narrower beams, while shorter and wider landscape features lend themselves to beam spreads of 35 or 60 degrees.
Failing to create a balance in lighting
Balanced lighting refers to ensuring that the adjacent sides of a landscape complement each other. For example, the left and right sides of a landscape viewed from a distance should appear thematically connected, even though not necessarily identical. Such symmetrical integration significantly enhances a landscape’s visual appeal.
Over- or under-illuminating
Excessive lighting can not only spoil the look of a landscape but also give rise to light pollution, the phenomenon of artificial light contributing to an increase in carbon-dioxide levels. In contrast, under-illumination defeats the practical and esthetic purposes of lighting. Therefore, it is essential to balance these extremes, consulting a lighting designer on the number and types of lights that may be installed in a landscape.
Not considering automated lighting controls
Automated lighting systems entail built-in timers that can automatically turn on and turn off lights at dusk and dawn, respectively. Utilizing such automated controls for landscape lighting can reduce energy consumption levels and the amount spent on electricity. It is a good idea to check out these systems and the total installation expenditure and make an informed purchase decision.
Failing to plan landscape lighting
Approaching landscape lighting without a concrete plan can pave the way for chaos and inadequate or excessive lighting. Moreover, it can lead to excessive energy consumption and failure to fulfill one’s core requirements. Therefore, it is essential to understand one’s lighting requirements and chalk out a sustainable and practical plan to install lighting across the landscape.
Not consulting a professional lighting designer
While installing lights may seem easy, it requires considerable planning and expertise to integrate aesthetics and functionality perfectly. A professional lighting designer can conduct a needs analysis and suggest the ideal types of lights to install on a landscape. Moreover, lighting designers are also aware of the best ways to reduce one’s installation and electricity costs while not compromising on the landscape’s visual appeal. It helps to discuss all such aspects with a professional before starting the installation process.
Landscape lighting can help establish a vibrant and safe atmosphere, making it conducive for inhabitants and visitors. The key is understanding one’s lighting requirements and budget range and consulting a professional to integrate visual appeal with functionality.