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Lighting Techniques and Terms

  • Displays a dark image of the subject by lighting a vertical surface directly behind the subject. Effective to show shape but does not show the color or texture of subject.
  • Choose a subject that is close to a wall and place the fixture out of sight behind the subject. Flood beam spreads work best.
  • Creates a shadow on a vertical surface by placing the fixture directly in front of the subject.
  • The closer the light fixture to the subject, the larger the shadow. General-purpose lamps create a better effect.
Tree Up Lighting
  • Up lighting from base of tree.
  • If flowers are on the outside of the canopy or foliage is dense, fixtures must be placed outside of the dripline.
  • If flowers are allover branches or foliage is light, fixtures can be placed under the tree close to the trunk.
  • The addition of a pale blue or mercury vapor lens adds a subtle moonlight color to the trees.
Tree Down Lighting
  • Downlighting from within the tree.
  • Use with smaller ornamental trees to cast light around the base or through the tree with the fixture. Add a pale blue or mercury vapor lens to create a moonlight effect.
Step and Deck
  • Lights high traffic areas.
  • Consider placing fixtures under built-in benches for a clean, inconspicuous look. All changes in elevation in the landscape such as steps or terraces should be illuminated for safety.
Path Lighting
  • Creates symmetrical patterns of light for illuminating walkways and steps.
  • Use in open area where plant growth will not interfere with light distribution. Avoid the runway look by staggering spacing.
  • Enhances texture of a vertical surface by placing a fixture directly against the surface and aiming the beam directly up or down.
  • Try grazing on brick or stone walls. It is not effective on siding, due to the shadows caused by the siding not being a flat surface. Wide floods work best. Fixtures should be placed 6-8" from wall, aimed straight up.