A lot of work goes into making a landscape beautiful and functional, so it’s a shame that many yards get hidden in the cover of darkness. Just as interior lighting can add drama and focus to a room, exterior lighting can enhance the look of your landscape at night. Some homeowners turn to landscape lighting for trees as a way to create ambiance and mood, but it can look overpowering or spooky if it’s not installed correctly. Use our tips for help.
Why Use Landscape Lighting for Trees?
Trees and plants, like most humans, go with the ebb and flow of the day. They work during the daylight hours and sleep at night. People usually turn off all the lights in the bedroom before drifting off to sleep, so why would you disturb your trees with bright lighting after the sun goes down?
Lighting trees, plants, and garden features should be done in a way that accentuates them instead of overpowering them. The goal is to create a soft glow that casts shadows and adds depth after dark. Even if you want to add landscape lighting as a security measure, accent lights will illuminate the exterior without the need to mount several prison spotlights around your home.
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Uplighting works exactly how it sounds. A lamp shines a light directly up at the tree trunk or the canopy. You can install either stake-mounted or in-ground lamps and position them in such a way that they only light a particular feature, such as a tree or your home’s facade. They’re easy to install and can be quite noticeable depending on where you’ve placed them.
Downlighting is also called moonlighting, a name it gets from the position and the effect of the lamp. It’s difficult to see downlights as they’re positioned high on the tree, sometimes 20 feet or more above the ground. Their purpose is to aim light down through the canopy and to illuminate the tree-like natural moonlight would. Although they’re more difficult to install, downlights create a dramatic effect at night.
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Technically speaking, both uplighting and downlighting are considered accent lighting as they’re accenting a particular feature. However, you can place accent lights most anywhere in the yard and bring focus to an object. Floodlights accent large trees and home facades, and well lamps aim light upward and illuminate the underside of benches and plants. You can line a sidewalk with accent lights or focus on a fountain with a single uplight.
Tips for Using Landscape Lighting for Trees
- When installing downlights, use a 4- or 6-watt LED lamp with a 4,000K color temperature to mimic soft, natural moonlight.
- Use zip ties or stand-off hanger bolts when mounting the lamps. Certain metal staples can poison the trees.
- Different lamps produce different results, so experiment with bullet, wash, well, and flood lamps to achieve the desired effect.
- Position uplights far enough away from the facade to bathe the surface with light. Placing them too close will create hot spots and ruin the effect.
- Always aim uplights away from windows and high-traffic areas to avoid blinding your guests or neighbors.
Landscape lights can do so much for an exterior space, from marking a path to highlighting plants in an ornamental garden. They cast moonlight from the trees above and bring focus to objects from the ground below. With the right techniques, you can achieve a great effect and wow your neighbors after sunset.
Request a Landscape Lighting Quote
If you live in southwest Missouri and you’re looking to install some new landscape lighting, give Nixa Lawn Service a call. We use fine lighting fixtures from FX Luminaire, and we’re dedicated to creating artful installations that will highlight your home and your landscape’s best features. Give us a call today at 417-724-0318 or request a free quote.