Six Ways to Use Patio Lighting to Enhance Your Outdoor Experience | Takoma Park MD

With careful placement and manipulation, patio lighting can change the entire mood of your outdoor experience. Creative installation and a knowledge of how to exploit the combination of lights and landscaping can transform the essence of being outside from boldly dramatic to softly romantic with the turn of a dial. You can even use patio lighting to give the area a creepy sensation come Halloween. Outdoor lighting can take advantage of landscaping elements and the type of light fixture you install to create multiple emotional sensations from the interplay of shadow and light.

  • Downlighting

A simple floodlight mounted high over your patio can be directed to illuminate darkened areas of your outdoor living space. Downlighting is a way to use patio lights for a number of interesting purposes. For one thing, the bright glow provided by the kind of patio lights that work best for downlighting are excellent for deterring unwanted intruders. Downlighting is also a great way to show off the highlights of your patio area by bathing them in the flood of illumination.

  • Uplighting

As you might expect, uplighting is the exact opposite of downlighting. When you want patio lights to create a sense of the macabre for Halloween or any other time of the year, uplighting is the way to go. Just watch the Frankenstein movies of Universal Studios from the 1930s and you will see uplighting in action. Situate your patios lights low and direct them upward. Experiment with placement, direction and strength of the lighting to get just the right shadowy effects. 

  • Accentuation

Accentuation is the use of patio lighting to throw immediate relief upon specific areas. For instance, you might accentuate the walkway to your patio with very small lighting fixtures guiding the way. Or you could utilize much larger patio lighting choices to accentuate a tree or rose bush or piece of outdoor art.

  • Deck Lighting 

Deck lighting is simply a specialized type of patio lighting that is used for exactly what it sounds like. You could string a series of these lights along the top of a patio deck. Or you could wind them around the balustrade of stairs leading from the ground floor patio to a second floor deck. If your patio has any steps at all, deck lighting can come in handy to make sure you don't trip and hurt yourself in the dark.

  • Moonlighting

Named for the heavenly body whose illumination it attempts to replicate, moonlighting is the patio lighting effect you will want to perfect for those romantic evenings spent outside the house. Typically, patio lighting fixtures that produce moonlighting are placed high up in a tree. For maximum effect, moonlighting fixtures should seem to be an utterly natural part of the landscaping design. In other words, you want it to seem as if the light from the moon is peeking through the branches of a tree rather than from an obviously artificial structure. The branches would also act as natural filters to create the shadowy effect of moonbeams.

  • Backlighting

Patio lighting can be situated behind walls, trees, artwork, bushes or anything else that you want to become the focus of illumination. For optimal effect, placement of the fixtures used for backlighting should be arranged so that the actual light from them bounces off surrounding surfaces toward the focal object. 
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