Outdoor Lighting Design Checklist
Using different light sources to layer your exterior lighting is a key component when lighting your outdoor space. Layering your outdoor lighting design, from outdoor wall sconces to path lights and spotlights add depth and interest to your home without appearing like a landing strip. No single light source can perform all the lighting functions needed around your landscape. Here is a checklist to assist in creating a lighting scheme for your landscape that provides safety, security and style:
1. Plan the lighting for your exterior patio, kitchen, water features or sculptures first. An effective lighting design accentuates your landscape and provides useful lighting for you to enjoy your space.
2. Try to get everyone involved in planning the lighting scheme for your exterior space; this would include the homeowner, contractor, landscape professional and lighting designer. If you are a DIY type of person, keep all hats in mind, this will ensure a cohesive design where all elements work seamlessly with one another.
3. Create a lighting plan that works from all angles; when you are in your garden, looking at your house from the street, or inside your house enjoying your landscape.
4. Your exterior coach lights flanking the entrances to your home should be the only light sources that are seen. Everything else should be soft washes of light that create a calming environment without blinding your guests. Shielded light fixtures with light directed up or down will create this effect.
5. Be mindful of the color quality of light on your plants – incandescent fixtures create a warm light that becomes even warmer when they are dimmed. This can make your plants look sickly, so try a daylight blue color correcting filter to eliminate the amber quality. You can also opt for LED landscape fixtures which do not change color when dimmed and will save you money in operating costs.
6. Locate light switches by all major entrances – front door, garage, etc. A “panic” switch in your master bedroom is also a great security measure for you outdoor lighting.