When discussing famous movies in the history of the art form, what is it that makes their visuals so striking? The visual language of film has many components, including camera position and movement, color, set design, and one of the most essential yet often overlooked elements, lighting.
Lighting has the capacity to change not only the look of a location but also its feeling and character. Need to set a scary vibe for your haunted house? Get some cold, harsh lights with plenty of obstructions to create shadows that obscure the viewer’s sight window. Need something romantic? Warm, low, and even lighting sets the mood and lets the audience take a good look at your character’s adoring faces.
Much like movies utilize different types of lighting to highlight the focus of a shot, the same principles can be applied to your landscaping. During the day, the sun provides even lighting across the entirety of your outdoor space, allowing you to use shade and shadow to accentuate the comfort and entertainment areas of your yard. At night, the use of outdoor lighting allows you to provide an ethereal glow to some of your most striking visual focal points, while fire features give a more romantic feel to the space.
Daytime Lighting: Highlighting Shelter And Comfort
Summer in southern California often doesn’t get started until mid to late June, but once it gets going, the resulting heat isn’t going anywhere for the next six months. It’s not rare to find yourself sweating in 90-degree weather on a cloudless day in the middle of October, November, or even December, which is part of the reason creating comfortable outdoor spaces is so important.
The use of shade provides a dual purpose: practical and aesthetic. Practically, it provides some protection from the sun to high-traffic zones during the hot, dry months. Pool areas and outdoor rooms like outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas can benefit greatly from the addition of structures like pergolas, which provide welcome shade and a sense of shelter and comfort.
Hardscapes aren’t the only respite from the sun: softer items like Roman shades can provide both comfort and an aesthetic flair to the environment. The use of flora as shade can also add a bit of old-world style in the form of climbing roses and ivy on your structures or by using larger trees.
The aesthetic purpose is the use of the differential in lighting as a visual highlight through contrast. Deep shade in the midst of daylight acts in opposition to a bright light shining in the dark of night, bringing to the fore, feelings of comfort and relaxation rather than alluring mystery.
Nighttime Lighting: Creating An Atmosphere
The use of outdoor lighting has the ability to completely transform the look and feel of your landscape once the sun begins slipping below the horizon. Similar to how a thicket of trees can turn from pretty to nefarious with the coming of night, your yard space can shift from one aesthetic style to another with the appropriate application of lighting.
Ideally, the practical and aesthetic applications of your lighting can coexist by varying the sources of that light. Proper nighttime lighting allows you to use your yard space deep into the night safely and without fear of you, your guests, tripping over a loose stone or while walking up the steps. Certain lighting fixtures, like motion sensor-equipped floodlights, can even deter intruders from approaching the property and provide a sense of security during late-night potty trips for your pet.
Low voltage lights provide a stable and uniform color and are ideal for lighting walkways and stairs and highlighting the visual focal points of your landscape. Trees, fountains, and hardscapes can take on an almost ethereal quality when lit up in the darkness. The color of the lighting and the level of illumination can completely transform the design aesthetic of your space, turning a classical garden into a fully modern outdoor space.
Fire features like fireplaces, torches, and fire pits provide a flickering light source that is ideal for building a more cozy atmosphere. Not only do these features provide a warm colored light to the area, but they also provide actual warmth to the user during those colder winter and spring nights.
With the correct application of light and darkness, you can highlight the best aspects of your landscape and even transform it into something new with the coming of night. If you are interested in creating a transformative landscape of your own, get in touch with Torrey Pines Landscape Company today.