A very common question that we get is: How do you figure out how many lights are needed to properly illuminate my property? The answer can be summed up in two words: it depends. I know what you are thinking: Very funny. But come on, what's the real answer? I wish I was kidding but it really does just depend. Each property is different, and each will need to be lit differently. Trying to figure out size and numbers isn't the most important thing when trying to create a lighting design. The most important thing you need to do, before you do anything, is decide what kind of scene you'd like to create. You should determine what aspect of your home or landscape you’d like to design. The biggest question to ask yourself is WHY. Why do you want lighting? What are you trying to create?
Landscape lights can be used to create all types of scenes. Especially if you're on a budget, which feature of your home's outdoor living space and landscape is most important to you. For example, perhaps you often entertain guests and want to create an atmosphere for your back patio parties. In this situation, you might consider using light for not only form and function, but also for visual appeal. This is your chance to set the mood and use light to create ambiance and an amazing atmosphere. In this situation, you might consider some bistro lighting or some moon lighting. Sure, you could keep using the old flood light by the back door. But just because a flood light provides functional light, sure doesn't mean it provides an inviting atmosphere.
If you are trying to create a scene and don't know where to begin, consider the three key lighting elements: greenery, architecture, and task.
1. Plant life, the tall grasses and shrubs, the undergrowth/ground cover, and the various trees are all essential. Never underestimate the power of lighting your trees. Your aspens, Japanese maples, pines, red buds, etc., all have the potential to create a striking aspect in the overall effect you are trying to create.
2. Architecture plays a great role in the conception of any lighting scene. Lighting your space doesn't just create a back drop for your curb appeal, it creates the foundation for the overall effect. If you don't consider how to incorporate architectural lighting, then some of your home's best features will be lost.
3. Lighting for task means that you are lighting for function and safety. When task lighting is done correctly, when it's done with an artistic eye, it can be beautiful and functional at the same time. Lighting your pathways, stairs, side entry, etc., can be done tastefully without overlooking practicality. It's for this reason that task lighting should be carefully planned out.
We often hear people question, "is that going to be too many lights?" Try to remain focused on the scene. In the end, the scene that's created, the ambiance of the aesthetics, will be the most important part of the lighting design. Remember: it's about the scene, not the number of lights.