Landscape Features

Got a great garden? Flaunt it at night. By combining low-voltage lighting with accent lighting you can create afterdark excitement and deter trespassers. "Lighting selected sections and contrasting light with dark is more pleasing to the eye than indiscriminately bathing the entire backyard in light," says Ian Ibbitson, vice president/general manager at Architectural Landscape Lighting in Santa Ana, California. Select a primary focal point — something substantial like a tree or garden structure — and a couple of secondary areas of emphasis. To illuminate them, use floodlights attached to in-ground poles or hung from an eave, wall, fence or other elevated location (just don't put lights where they could interfere with tree pruning or where they are extremely difficult to reach to change the bulbs). But you can also use recessed well lights with swivel heads aimed at the object of affection. To light flower beds and other ground cover, as well as statuary or stone walls, use well lights recessed into the ground; or use swivel spots and short-stalked tier-, mushroom- and tulip-shaped shaded fixtures, which shine light downward.

Here's a trick, courtesy of Lloyd Reeder, vice president of sales with Carrollton, Texas-based Greenlee Lighting, that can make it seem like there's a moon out every night: "Mount shielded bullet fixtures up in taller trees to shine down, like moonlight, on a shorter tree or nearby shrubs," Reeder says. "The downlight passes through branches and leaves, casting an interesting pattern of shadows." And finally, for a backlit effect, put the light source between the object you want to highlight (a particularly nice tree in the front of your home, for example) and the wall of the house.
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