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by Roelf Nel

With the evolution of lighting technology, outdoor lighting has seen its share of breakthroughs. Outdoor lighting is as important as indoor lighting. Lighting up the spaces immediately outside or surrounding our living areas is extremely vital for visual orientation, safety while navigating, and security, as well as for balancing out the indoor ambiance. The outdoor surroundings prepare and provide a preview to the life and living style within the four walls. Outdoor lighting is equally important in reflecting the external persona of a structure and its surrounding area. It sets a particular mood and provides a visual treat.

Outdoor lighting presents enormous scope for experimentation. It is a new canvas waiting to be coloured by unique lighting approaches, ideas, and techniques. Outdoor lighting spaces comprise the areas surrounding the structure, pathways, swimming pools, or fountains, landscape surrounding the structure, patios, balconies, decks, porches, etc.

There are a variety of options on the market, including low-voltage lighting, floodlights, tree lights, post lights, lanterns, string bulbs for festive occasions, recessed lighting, scoops, and even solar lights devoid of wires and operating on NiCad batteries.

Various techniques of lighting can be used in outdoor lighting. Spotlighting, which focuses light on architectural features, may be positioned to minimize glare and focus fully on the focal point. Silhouetting is placing the light sources behind the object to bring out the shape of the object rather than the exact colour and texture. Key light or shadowing requires placing the light source directly in front of the object of interest to create a light and shadow effect. Moonlighting requires a fixture to be placed on the trees and aiming it down to provide a natural peaceful moonlit effect. Deck lighting, grazing (light focuses on the object at a sharp angle) and washing the surface (light focuses on objects at a wider or blunt angle), step lighting, walkway lighting, pond and fountain lighting, and sign lighting are some of the various techniques used for outdoor lighting.

In outdoor lighting, a basic thing that has to be kept in mind is that the lighting fixtures are exposed to all the elements outside. In case of lighting water features, the light source is sometimes from the inside to create a magical glittering and rippling effect. Therefore, appropriate lighting fixtures and lights should be chosen. Self-lighting kits of low voltage are also available for those who wish to try out their creative lighting talents.

Visit our Pinterest Board for inspiring ideas for outdoor lighting.

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A guide to outdoor lighting