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.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

Before LEDs came along, we were all using halogen. I used to add a color-correcting filter to make the light even whiter when trying to bring out the... read full story
You are right. There is a dizzying array of trim options available. My design philosophy is to use recessed adjustable fixtures with smaller... read full story
I am rather partial to LEDs, but in this scenario I am going suggest another direction. If you were staying in this home, then investing in color-... read full story
Your electrician is definitely on the right track. What I believe it comes down to is having a recessed adjustable fixture that is cost-effective,... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Emerson, Ferguson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   Wednesday, April 8, 2-3 p.m. EDT Register for this free CEU webinar by clicking here. Webinar Overview:... read full story
Sponsored by Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and Spotlite-USA.   This live webinar has already taken place, but you can still view the presentation on demand by clicking... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group Inc., LTF and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   This webinar has already taken place, but you can... read full story

RL Tweets!