Creating a Moonlighting Effect
Our expert explains how to replicate the look of moonlight coming through trees, regardless of available foliage.
outdoor lighting
Moonlighting refers to the chiaroscuro pattern of light through leaves. Photo by Dennis Anderson.
We would like to get the moonlighting effect in our backyard, but our trees are on the small side. Is there anything we can do while we are waiting for our trees to mature?

So you want a dappled pattern of light and shadow but are just too impatient to let nature take its course? Well, I'm right there with you! Just like having dessert served before the main course, I want the good stuff right now. There are some products out there that project patterns of light, which create the illusion of moonlight moving through branches. Beachside Lighting has an MR16 projector that can cast shadow patterns, or just about anything you want to project. They are currently testing it out with the new Soraa LED MR16 that is rated for enclosed exterior fixtures. B-K Lighting is producing an integrated LED projector that is a part of its Denali Series. These fixtures can be mounted below the eaves of the house, gazebo or other outdoor structures. They can also be installed near the base of building façades or retaining walls to enliven those surfaces at night with shadows. Immediate gratification is so satisfying.

Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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