Basics of Lighting Design

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Outdoor lighting can do one of two things, make your landscape and home look amazing, or make it look like a monster on halloween. Lighting design is key to make sure that your home looks like the first, not the scary monster.


No one wants to see dark spots on their house, but sometimes is in inevitable due to the shapes and curves of a home. A lighting designer will know how to best minimize the shadows that my occur by using the appropriate fixture, using more fixtures for that particular spot to offset the curves that are causing the shadows, or install fixtures in gutters or on roof lines to keep carrying light up over overhangs. Basics of understanding fixtures and how light moves is key when attempting to offset shadows.

LED Color Temperatures

LEDs have many different color temperatures available, and this is a key area to get correct, or you will have the scary monster house. For most of us we like that warm white look – it looks natural and is easy on the eyes. This is the number 1 selection for our clients hands down. Now at Light It Right we do use 3000K on our trees and bushes to really make the green color stand out and look its best, but on your home, unless you specify other, we are going to go with the warmer 2700K which will illuminate your home beautifully and not give you a stark “blue” light look. Every color temperature available does have an application it is best for, it is key to understand where a particular temperature works best and use it correctly.

LED Color Temperatures


It may seem like a no brainer but the actual lighting plan is the most important and basic idea behind outdoor lighting. If you do not have a great design then you will not have a great end result. Certified Lighting Designers have spent countless hours learning lighting design, from how each LED temperature, bean spread, and wattage works to which fixture is best for each application. By having the correct design in place shadows will be avoided, LEDs and fixtures will be the correct choice for the specific application. Now this all takes time so be patient with your designer while they work up the best design for you, it is not something that can be done on the spot in 5 minutes, if that is the type of system you are looking for then hiring a Certified Designer is not the option for you.

Learn more about the Principles of Outdoor Lighting

A proper design also ties everything together – it all makes sense. All the lights work together as a family so to speak, they all compliment each other. A proper system will not have random lights just placed somewhere in the middle on the yard – in a proper system every single light serves a purpose. A great design is custom to your home and your preferences, not X amount of lights that are in the package being sold to you, that is when lights end up in random spots.

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Fixture Use

Do you want to up light? Down light? Accent? Illuminate? Yes all of these techniques are used in lighting design, but when do you use which one? Most fixtures can achieve any of these effects but not every fixture does each one great, it is one of the basic skills a lighting design learns early on, which fixture to use for a certain application. If you get this wrong then the entire system will suffer, but when used correctly the results are magnificent – you will know if your designer got it right or now pretty quickly.

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Outdoor Lighting may seem like a pretty “simple” project that a homeowner can do themselves, but without really knowing the basics of lighting and how to use the tools properly you will not end up with the results hoped for. So leave it to the professionals and get the lighting system you have dreamed of!



Basics of Lighting Design