Mood lighting is an essential element of any outdoor living space, creating atmosphere and enhancing the ambience of a garden or patio. Properly placed landscape lighting can make a dramatic difference to any outdoor space, not only making the area more attractive, but also enabling it to be used in the evening or at night time. While the concept of landscape lighting may seem simple, there are a few key elements to consider to create the perfect mood with your lighting design.
When designing a landscape lighting setup, understanding the two main types of lighting is essential.
Accent Lighting: Accent lighting serves to highlight certain features or plants within a space, creating dramatic effects and highlighting specific zones within the garden. Soft light from accent lighting creates an ambient atmosphere and helps to create mood.
Area Lighting: Area lighting is used more to provide a function, such as lighting up patios, walkways, and outdoor seating areas. Area lighting can be brighter and can use either up or downward lighting to achieve the best results.
With the two different types of lighting in mind, the next step is to select the right lights for your garden. Depending on the size of the area you are looking to illuminate, selecting the power and wattage of light sources is important. Additionally, choose lights which will fit with the mood or atmosphere you wish to create in your outdoor environment.
Low-voltage, LED and Solar Lights: Low-voltage lights run off a transformer, while LED lights generally consume less power than the standard light bulb. Solar lights are generally cheaper in the long run as they don't use electricity from the grid, and provide softer lighting which can be great for creating a mood in the garden.
Path Lights: Path lights line borders and pathways, and fit accurately into small spaces for vital night time illumination. Depending on the look of the garden, a style and design of path lights to match may be necessary.
Spot Lights: Spotlights are most applicable for accent lighting, and used to highlight features in the garden, such as trees, plants, and décor pieces.
Uplights and Downlights: Uplights and downlights each provide unique lighting effects in a landscape. Uplights provide softer lighting and can be used to highlight foliage and details on buildings, while downlights focus on creating a shallow pool of light for particular elements of the garden.
Once the lights have been chosen and placed in the garden, the final piece of the puzzle is to properly adjust them and create the perfect atmosphere using the science behind landscape lighting.
Grazing and Inverse Square Law: Inverse square law is a mathematical equation which determines how the lighting changes as the distance from the light source varies. Grazing the lights along a surface of a building or garden feature, shining the light from a greater distance, or using lower wattage bulbs can all alter the lighting effect in a garden space and create a desired effect.
Colour Rendering: Colour rendering is a measure of the extent to which a particular light source makes certain colours within the garden more vivid or more softened. Low colour rendering lights can create a very pleasant atmosphere in the garden, while high colour rendering lights tend to bring out more vibrancy and standing out of colours.
Greenwashing: Greenwashing occurs when lights naturalize the garden at night, making it appear natural and therefore more inviting. Taking the human eye's operation into account, greenwashing involves generating a colour temperature just slightly warmer than moonlight, while maintaining a consistent temperature around the garden.
When looking to create the perfect mood within your outdoor living space, the use of landscape lighting should not be overlooked. Used correctly, lights can be used to create a more inviting atmosphere and transform an outdoor space in ways that other methods cannot. By taking into account the two different types of landscape lighting, choosing lights which match the desired mood, and applying the science of lighting to a garden, the perfect atmosphere can be created in any outside space.