Tips on Landscape Lighting
Our lighting expert tells readers what lighting pitfalls to avoid when working outdoors.
 
What exterior lighting is most popular? What should be avoided?
Low-voltage starter kits are the most popular. You get eight fixtures and a transformer (a device that changes a 120V house current into a 12V system) to run them. Sometimes they come with six pathway lights commonly called “pagoda lights,” and they turn the front walkway into a landing strip. Or they come with six accent lights on stakes, which are directed at trees and plants from below, creating a very unreal and somewhat commercial-looking effect. I would avoid both of these scenarios. Instead, install lights in trees, some pointed downward through the lower branches and some upward. This creates a subtle pattern of light and shadow called “moon lighting,” which works well with any style of home. It is subtle and inviting, drawing attention to what is being illuminated instead of to the light source.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
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 www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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