A well-thought-out scheme of landscape lighting and its competent organization can create an amazing night view of the garden and the entire territory near the house. It is important to make the lighting unobtrusive. Also, it should be combined with the design of other elements of the landscape.
Designing the lighting on the site
To use all the possibilities of landscape lighting, its design should be engaged in before the arrangement of the home territory. Integrate the lighting in the existing design is more difficult. In all cases, it is important to comply with the rules and regulations to create artificial light on the street, as well as skillfully choose devices for this for different objects.
Requirements for lighting on the site
The facade of a residential house at night should be the most illuminated place. For the organization of the lighting use ground or wall lights, connected to an autonomous power source. So even in the case of a blackout, which often happens outside the city, the area will be lit.
When installing wiring, it is important to comply with the rules to ensure the safety of others. To this end, circuit breakers, protective pipes for cables, sockets with good moisture protection characteristics are installed.
It is desirable that the work was performed by electricians. One of the important conditions for the organization of landscape lighting – free access to all its elements.
When installing street lights are guided by the General Rules For Wiring, namely:
- It is allowed to use any type of lighting fixtures, except for gas-discharge equipment;
- devices are placed on special supports or directly on the structure of the house;
- if as a support used cable or other flexible holder, it is supplemented by fixing devices against swinging;
- when installing lighting fixtures in the ground needs a drainage system;
- devices must have sufficient protection against moisture and dust, for example, when mounted at a height of up to 2.5 m – from IP54.
The way of organizing the lighting and the types of lighting fixtures used for this depends on the purpose and functionality of lighting. Depending on this, houses, patios, garden paths or stairs are highlighted, security or accent lighting is used.
Types of lighting
There are several types of lighting:
- functional – provides sufficient visibility and safe movement around the area with the onset of darkness, gives a powerful stream of light;
- decorative – designed to decorate the whole territory and its individual parts and objects, such as ponds or flower beds, used to emphasize important elements and is performed with the devices, corresponding to the landscape design and style of space
- security – used to prevent the entry of unauthorized persons into the territory, often automated with a motion sensor;
- Holiday – temporary lighting of the territory for a specific event, such as decorating for the New Year or other holidays with garlands, architectural illumination of paths, gazebos, etc.
Lighting also differs in the type of control.
Key switches are used for mechanical or manual control, and for high power loads – contactors. Automatic control is convenient for areas where every day with the onset of darkness the light must turn on, and in the morning – off. To implement such a scheme, photo relays, motion sensors or time relays are used either separately or together.
Peculiarities of designing different types of backlighting
For functional lighting, it is important to choose durable and all-season equipment that will be easy to use. When drawing up a scheme of arrangement of devices, it is necessary to observe the harmony between the illumination of individual objects of the landscape, and make the brightest accent elements, for example, trees, patios, pergolas. To do this, you can use both incandescent and fluorescent devices with different mounting options.
For decorative lighting, both conventional devices and various types of light figures and stones, Led-ribbons, fiber optics are suitable.
They are installed in different ways, creating special effects:
- frontal – they illuminate objects evenly from the front, giving them a flat appearance;
- outline – the light is directed to the objects from behind and its source is hidden, making the object stand out with a clear dark outline on a light background;
- from above, devices are mounted under the roof or on high poles, creating a natural lighting effect;
- from below – usually used for lighting plants;
- from the side – tangential lighting is suitable for the decoration of hedges and shrubs, visually increases the extent and depth of space alternating dark area with lit;
- without electric lights – performed with LED lights, which long run on self-contained power sources, and are usually attached to the walls of buildings, small architectural forms or trees
- intersecting light – a combination of several streams of light from different directions to accent one object of the composition.
On the same area is usually used both decorative and functional lighting. Often one type of lighting fixture performs both functions.
Choice of fixtures
When selecting devices for the lighting of a cottage or garden, take into account:
- at what height the fixtures need to be installed;
- What angle of light distribution is needed;
- what area or object should illuminate the device.
For landscape lighting devices are used with different types of light flux:
- directional – suitable for decorative or functional lighting of individual objects and the entire territory;
- diffused – unobtrusively illuminates the area, providing safe passage through the territory at night;
- local – for spot lighting of separate elements;
- hidden – for ponds, steps, garden paths.
Also, lights can be ceiling, wall or recessed. The former are hung on brackets or supports from the upper plane of the house, near the walls, under the roof or on the terrace.
The latter are installed along the perimeter of the site or building, at the entrance or along the fence, and provide a smaller angle of light distribution in comparison with the ceiling ones. Recessed devices are installed in the walls, ceiling, ground or other surfaces.
Types of lights
In landscape design, more often than others, the following types of lighting fixtures are used:
- spherical or hemispherical – represent a support with a spherical plafond mounted on it;
- reflecting light – a special cover directs the light downwards, so there is no blinding effect;
- spotlights – have a directed light beam and are suitable for decorative illumination of plants or small architectural forms;
- bollards and road lights – suitable for single area or pathway lighting, as bollards of 20 – 150 cm in height.
Spherical lights are most often used in landscape design. They come in glass and plastic, completely transparent, frosted or multicolored. According to the method of installation we distinguish these types:
- on poles – plafonds-balls are attached to high or low poles and evenly illuminate the area;
- ground – without a leg or on a very short support, suitable for lighting individual parts of the landscape, flower beds, rock gardens, flowerbeds;
- water – floating in a pond, made of impact-resistant plastic or tempered glass, LEDs are located inside the plafond.
The advantage of using devices with a spherical shape is a diffused and uniform light, directed in all directions. Also, round plafonds are easy to care for, because they do not retain moisture, snow or dirt. But due to the lack of a frame, glass plafonds often break.
What can be illuminated in the landscape
Landscape lighting has not only a decorative function, but is also designed to solve an important practical problem – ensuring the safety of the movement of people in the evening and at night. Therefore, some objects need to be backlit. These include:
- paths – different types of devices, including those built into the tiles and located on high poles, are used to illuminate all the bumps in the paths and curves;
- any natural or artificial obstacles on the site – steps, hills, alpine hill, flowerbeds, garden figures, ponds, fountains, pergolas, etc.;
- All architectural objects – with the help of lighting also achieve a visual change in the size of objects and emphasize their successful sides, texture, originality;
- recreation area.
Backlighting of garden paths
A good option for the yard and garden paths – lanterns on a leg, wrought iron floor lamps and other types of lamps with a height of no more than 100 cm. They should have a protective cap, ensuring that the light is directed downward. Also in outdoor areas, when the paths are laid on the site, where there are no tall plants, hedges and shrubs, you can put classical lanterns up to 3 m high, giving diffused light.
Recessed fixtures are used to illuminate terraced paths and stairs. When selecting the design of the fixture, it is important that it matches the style of the landscape.
The lighting of greenery on the site can be single and multi-level. Muted and soft light sources or, on the contrary, bright ones are used for this purpose. They are installed near the plants, above them or inside.
The power and type of lights are selected taking into account the size and seasonality of the vegetation. For large trees, spotlights located 10 m from them or closer will be suitable.
If you fix them at a height and direct the light downwards, you can achieve the effect of a calm and soft glow, reminiscent of moonlight.
Silhouette lighting is created by directing the light from below or behind shrubs and low trees. In winter, colored light directed from a fixture behind the plants looks good. And hide the sparse crown will help a light source aimed at the trunk.
For flower plantings it is recommended to take into account the shape, type and size of the vegetation. If you put a single floor lamp and direct a diffused beam from above, you can effectively emphasize the large elements of the rockery or rock garden.
Small devices with a light stream directed from below, beautifully illuminate flowerbeds, blooming all year round and multi-level flower beds. White is suitable for multi-colored flowerbeds, and warm is suitable for flowerbeds with plants of the same type.
Lawns are illuminated with local lights, including ground lighting.
And for the mixborder, the best option is side lighting, increasing the depth and volume of the planting.
Backlighting of water features
In addition to the water fixtures described above, for fountains, ponds and other similar objects, built-in and concealed types of lights are used. Also look beautiful lamps of spherical shape, installed on the ground. In this case, it is important to choose waterproof devices. For water objects, any type of LED lighting fixtures of small size will do.
Good landscape lighting – it is a multilevel system with distributed light streams.
Thanks to a clever scheme of arrangement of devices, it is possible to make the space safe at any time of the day and emphasize the attractiveness of individual elements of the landscape. Also a plus is the ability to hide the defects of the terrain.