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Properly Positioning Spot Lights In Your Landscape Lighting System

properly positioning landscape lighting fixtures

When positioning an up light or spot light in a landscape lighting system application, it is crucial to consider several factors to achieve the desired effect. In this guide, we will discuss the optimal placement of lights, how to avoid hot spots on architectural features, proper angling of fixtures, lighting trees, and ensuring a balanced illumination of the canopy and trunk.

Key Takeaways:

  • Experiment with different distances and angles to achieve optimal lighting effects.
  • Angling fixtures upwards helps to avoid hot spots on architectural features.
  • Do not position up lights directly at the base of trees to achieve effective illumination of the canopy.
  • Consider lightly grazing the trunk for added depth while avoiding hot spots.

Positioning Lights for Architectural Lighting:

When lighting a house's architectural features, a distance of 12-18 inches from the structure is typically ideal. This distance allows the light to graze the surface, enhancing texture and creating depth. Placing the light too close can result in intense hot spots, while positioning it too far away may cause the light to lose its intended effect.

To prevent hot spots on the house, it is essential to position the light at a suitable angle and distance. Angling the fixture upwards towards the architectural element will distribute the light more evenly, reducing the risk of concentrated illumination that can create hot spots. Experiment with different angles and distances to find the optimal lighting arrangement.  Different Beam Angles and Lumen outputs of fixture play a critical roll in lighting architecture.  A combination of very narrow beams(10-15 degrees), standard beam angle (30-40 degrees) or wide beam angle(60 degrees) can be used to light architectural structures.   

Lighting Trees:

properly positiong spot lights to light trees for landscape lighting

When lighting trees, a combination of uplighting and downlighting techniques can produce stunning effects. To uplight a tree, position the fixture at the base of the trunk and angle it upward to illuminate the canopy. Adjust the distance and angle to achieve the desired coverage and highlight the tree's natural shape and form.

Lighting the Canopy and Grazing the Trunk:

To illuminate the tree's canopy, do not position the fixture directly at the base of the tree.  Instead back the fixtures further from the trunk and pointing them upward into the branches. This technique enhances the tree's vertical structure and creates a captivating display. Additionally, lightly grazing the trunk with a separate fixture can add depth and texture. Be mindful not to create a hot spot on the trunk by selecting an appropriate angle and distance.  Be aware, trees can often times require upwards of 3-7 fixtures depending on size and desired effect.  We generally recommend beam spreads of 40 to 60 degrees on most trees with the occasional use of 120 degree beam spreads when needed.   

Higher Lumen output MR16 LED Lamps can be used for taller structures and trees.  Generally the 7 Watt and higher type lamps will give a bigger light output(more Lumens) to hit the taller houses or larger tree canopies.  Smaller trees and even standard 2 story homes can easily be covered with a 5 watt LED MR16.  

Final Thoughts

By following these guidelines, you can create a visually appealing landscape lighting design that showcases architectural elements and brings out the beauty of trees, while avoiding unwanted hot spots and achieving an overall balanced illumination.

Check out our article about Wall Washing or Grazing

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