The how-to’s of outdoor landscape lighting design and installation seem intimidating. Low-voltage and LED intricacies are subjects worthy of college textbooks. Here are some tidbits of info, design tips, and tricks I find helpful in creating and installing outdoor low-voltage lighting.
15. Silhouettes of plants and garden ornaments are dramatic and can be created by lighting walls behind the element to be silhouetted.
16. Shadowing is the opposite effect of silhouetting, created by casting light directly on plants or ornamental objects to cast shadows on blank walls.
17. Safety lighting is one of the most important functions of outdoor lighting. It goes without saying that it is important to place lights by stairs, steps, and any other area that could otherwise cause injury.
18. Hoods on step, stair, and pathway lights are important for safety lights, so as not to partially blind those using steps and stairs at night.
19. It is easy to include underwater lights in a low-voltage system; lighting ponds, streams, and fountains from beneath the water’s surface.
20. If a body of water, i.e. pool or pond is near, mirror lighting is still another beautiful effect that can be created. By lighting trees on the other side of the body of water from a viewing area, the mirroring effect is cast.
These 20 rules are the primary considerations I use when designing low-voltage lighting, including LED systems, into my landscape designs in the San Diego area, but these tips should be useful anywhere outdoor lighting systems are installed.