Naturally, outdoor lighting highlights landscaping, but it also helps make important areas safe, such as the entry to your house, stairs and walkways. Here are some ideas to light up your outdoors.
Different types of lighting
Apart from keeping you safe, outdoor lighting also gives your deck and landscaping style and character. Light can be used to add shape, colour and texture.
Depending on the effect you want, you can use different types of lighting. Here are some examples:
This is used primarily at the base of trees to create an architectural effect with branches, foliage and trunks.
This lighting is placed in a tree, pointing downward, to create moonlighting, i.e. an effect of light and shadow at ground level. Since the tree will lose its leaves in the fall, try to place the lighting fixtures in an area where it will be hidden after the leaves fall.
Silhouette against a bright background :
To create a theatrical atmosphere or to make a key design feature (such as a fountain or statue) stand out, you can use this type of lighting, which consists in installing a projector behind the object you want to showcase.
Place a projector in front of a decorative feature (such as a shrub or statue) so that the light reflects onto the surface behind it and creates a light and shadow effect.
Cet éclairage doux dirigé vers le bas vise à mettre en évidence une partie de notre aménagement qu’on trouve particulièrement réussie.
Wall washing :
This is used to highlight wall cladding by positioning a projector on the ground close to the surface to be lit.
These large lamps usually provide a great deal of light. Post lamps are perfect for lighting walkways, entries, and pool areas. Some models have halogen bulbs and a dimmer switch.
This type of lighting is ideal for walkways and for separating part of the land. It often has low wattage and provides soft, diffused light to enhance flower beds or paths (0.5 W per square metre is recommended for visibility if used along a walkway).
Equipped with a battery that charges by means of photovoltaic cells, this low-wattage lamp becomes illuminated at nightfall. It primarily provides ambience when placed in a flower bed, but can also be used as a bollard light along a walkway.
Placed on the exterior walls of the house, they are perfect for lighting the boundaries of the property and the deck. Their light can either be direct (like spotlights) or indirect if they are fitted with baffles.
Suspended lights or ceiling lights
Attached directly to the roof of the deck, these types of lighting provide light that is diffused, but sufficient to enjoy the outdoors.
Whether they are recessed in a wall, a ceiling or the ground, they are primarily used to create ambience or to identify a staircase or step to make an area safer. If you are looking for spotlights to be recessed in the ground, it is best to choose ones with stainless steel heads and a tempered glass covering, since these materials are more shockproof and weather resistant.
If you’re looking for powerful lighting, projectors are what you need! They can effectively light an entry or deck and keep you safe by discouraging intruders. It is recommended that they be installed at a height of nine feet to project a wide beam of light and to ensure that they are not easily accessible to all.
Stake light projectors are available on the market and are most often used as effect lighting or decorative lighting. When placed at the base of a tree or cluster of trees, they create a wonderful atmosphere.
Along the roof of the gazebo, a fence or between trees, string lights glow gently and add ambience to a garden.
LED or halogen?
There are outdoor light fixtures with incandescent, halogen and LED bulbs.
Halogen and LED bulbs are better options since incandescent bulbs use a great deal of electricity. If you enjoy the bright light provided by incandescent bulbs, you’ll love halogen bulbs, since they also provide warm, powerful lighting that is perfect for facades or large spaces.
LED bulbs are by far the most cost-effective and long-lasting (some have a lifespan of over 20 years). This makes them particularly suitable for hard-to-reach areas because once they are installed, you will not need to change them for a long time. This type of bulb has numerous advantages, in that it is not only resistant to extreme cold, but it is also available in various shades of white and many other colours.
A few reminders
Low-voltage lighting fixtures operate at 12 volts, making them safer to handle, more energy efficient and as easy to install as standard electric lighting fixtures that operate at 120 volts, i.e. the same voltage at which most of your appliances operate. Installing higher-voltage lighting fixtures requires a jacket to protect their wires as well as an electrical box, instead of an electrical outlet. This makes low-voltage fixtures a good option due to ease of installation.
When installing your fixtures, it is recommended that you begin burying the power cable at the fixture that is furthest away and end at the transformer to prevent loss due to a miscalculation of the distance.
If you want lighting in your trees, it’s important to keep in mind that they will grow over the years; you will need to plan your installation accordingly so that you don’t have to reinstall the lighting in two years.
If you have projectors that face upward, they must be cleaned periodically, since dirt and debris can accumulate on them. This will ensure their performance and longevity. It is recommended that you check your lights in the spring.
Thinking about lighting systems
Depending on how you plan to use your outdoor lighting system, there are several control modes. You can choose a switch, which is an easy way to manage your light sources.
It is best to select a rocker lighted switch because it has a light to help you see its position (which can come in handy when it’s dark!).
A timer allows a light source to come on and off automatically at scheduled times.
A motion detector is another way to turn on lighting automatically when a body in motion comes within its range.
Finally, you can use smart lighting, such as the Philips Hue wireless lighting system, which allows you, via the Philips Hue Bridge, to turn your lights on and off from your phone or tablet, as well as change brightness levels and automate settings. Simply use smart bulbs in your outdoor lighting fixtures—that’s all there is to it! This system will simplify your life and even give you the option to choose from 16 million colours for a predefined ambience using the Philips Hue app.
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