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Landscape Lighting Terms

Landscape Lighting Terminology

Up Lighting

Up lighting is basically shining or pointing a light fixture up. Whether the fixture is placed at the bottom of a wall or fence, or part way up a pillar or tree, placing the light can be used to create shadows or silhouettes and create indirect light and enhance curb appeal. These types of fixtures are usually low voltage lights and are available in solar, halogen and LED. There are a lot of options and a wide variety of fixtures and finishes to choose from.

Down Lighting

Just like the name suggests, down lighting focuses light down. Whether the fixture is placed under the eaves of a house, under a bench, or uses a shield or hood and placed along a pathway, the light is pointed down. The light may be placed in such a way during the day that it’s virtually unseen.

Wash

Wash lighting is used to create a subtle glow over a broad canvas such as a wall, fence, or row of bushes. The colour of the canvas may amplify or mute the light and different colours of light can offer fun variety – a splash of red for Canada Day for instance.

Shadowing

Light casts shadows and when done on purpose can create a fantastic play of light on dark and highlight a variety of features around your yard. Shadows are often used to create moon lighting and silhouettes. When placing new lighting, be sure that unwanted shadows are not created that hide or partially hide important features such as stairs or pathways and become a safety hazard.

Silhouetting

Silhouetting is exactly what you’d expect. This technique is most effective when light is placed between a planting or other feature and a light coloured wall. Silhouettes provide indirect light (much like a wash) but the shadows created can be a kind of art all on their own.

Grazing

If you have a home with a great textured façade such as stone, grazing can be used to cast light upwards from the ground using shadows to highlight the feature.

Spotlighting

Is there one feature in your yard that you want to stand apart from the rest? A spotlight can make a single feature the star of the show. Often two or more spotlights are often used to make use of shadow and light from different angles.

Moon Lighting

This is a newer trend in outdoor lighting where designers try to mimic natural moon light usually by placing a light high up in a tree and allowing the natural movement and shadows of the leaves to cast subtle light on the ground. This is a great technique for a patio or walkway.

We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan. Contact our outdoor lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.