mylandscapes contemporary garden design & build

sundown mindset garden lighting

garden lighting design

blog / design elements

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Outdoor Footlights

Outdoor lighting in our gardens began with the very first project, and continually evolves, enhancing our landscape design schemes. While ergonomic practicalities such as illuminating level changes, paths and seating zones form essential lighting techniques, we accentuate the unique focal points specifically designed for each site to individualise dynamic, personal outdoor spaces. Lighting infrastructure is a pivotal factor to consider at a project's outset, and when installed effectively, will certainly minimise subsequent glitches. Not much technical effort is required, except the concealment of cables, installing a residual-current device, and providing sufficient power in the transformers to reduce mains voltage to a safe 12 volt. Whatever the garden or roof terrace setting, always bear in mind its night-time theatricality, since a glowing outdoor space entails footlights, not floodlights, to produce a shimmering mise en scene!

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1. water 2. features 3. controls 4. direction 5. elegance 6. cavities 7. silhouettes 8. atmosphere 9. concealment 10. upkeep

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1 water

hampstead courtyard

An outdoor space is distinctly amplified when light travels through water, where the slightest ripple projects remarkable shadows onto surfaces above. While underwater cross lighting is enclosed within a pool or pond, uplighting often reaches the top of a tall elevation by utilising effective angle precision, where spotlights are positioned focally to increase spatial depth. Lighting upwards via water produces captivating outlines, highlighting the textures of a unique waterfall design, within an invigorating spectrum of ripples and rhythms.

2 features

Many of our clients enjoy their gardens primarily in the evening, when illuminating the outdoor space extends its use, and enhances focal points with up and down lighting. Architectural plants produce pivotal, structural forms, such as multi-stemmed trees and shrubs, letting copious light into their canopies and increasing spatial depth, where versatile contours are highly conducive to expressive moon lighting and uplighting techniques. Similarly, planters, water features, swimming pools and modern sculpture are enhanced with immersive outdoor lighting, across our contemporary landscape gardens.

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3 controls

contemporary family garden

Old-fashioned switches are long gone, replaced by remote controls which integrate outdoor lighting into Lutron indoor keypads. These systems are often operated wirelessly, enhancing flexibility, although apparatus malfunctions occasionally, when any glitch in the computer software or wi-fi signal dispatches a lightless outdoors. We prefer a separate system situated in the garden, which enhances safety and practicality, easily isolated if need be. Remote key fobs are efficient in modifying a garden's lighting ambience, while smart energy fobs utilise rechargeable sensors; managed via thermal heat produced by our fingers, an outdoor lightscape is revitalised with the owners' infinite, conductive dynamism!

4 direction

chelsea roof terrace

Directional lighting generates definitive rhythmic patterns across paths, walls and elevations. The spacing of fittings, beam angles and lamp wattage define our outline plan. Strip lighting methods are effective in delineating minimalist architectural layouts by utilising LED technology, highlighting a design approach synonymous with our London roof garden projects. The capital's city terrace vistas often entail a dramatic terrace light scene on a par with their backdrop, where aerial nightscapes energise outdoor spaces fluidly.

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5 elegance

We utilise low-voltage lighting in all of our garden and roof terrace projects, producing subtle, efficient and safe architectural designs at dusk. The lamps we specify are usually 20 or 35 watt, with 50 watt for medium-sized objects. When lighting trees and significant bodies of water, bigger lamps are required. By subdividing various zones, and utilising suitable wattage while concealing the fittings adequately, we achieve detail design refinement, amid mellow outdoor ambience.

6 cavities

Architectural cavities provide potential to expand spatial depth when discreetly lit within, where we achieve optimal outdoor ambience by integrating effortless techniques. We devise further apertures in our roof terrace designs, as well as in patio ideas for small back gardens, utilising various methods to conceal an LED tape, or recess a light fitting to produce definitive dusk atmosphere. Selecting suitable luminaire colour generates warm or cool spectra of white, yellow, orange, red and blue hues, which articulates beam clarity.

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7 silhouettes

Even a small, low-lying architectural plant is capable of producing large scale, when a light fitting positioned through its foliage projects an amplified silhouette onto the backdrop. While branches and leaves gradually develop solidity, less light reaches its intended destination – we often thin out dense outlines, and increase wattage, to redefine scale and balance. By exploring silhouetted outdoor space at dusk, we portray and extend the intriguing aspects of refined planting designs.

8 atmosphere

urban garden afterglow

The contrast between enigmatic voids and luminous objects defines daylight atmosphere in a landscape design, heightened with artificial light during night-time which conveys a pivotal sense of fluidity in every project throughout our garden design portfolio. We create an extended twilight garden setting by concealing or accentuating key, focal elements, portrayed via the beams' strength and angles. When textured surfaces form intriguing, detailed nuances, low-level cross lighting draws focus below eye level. Voluminous tree canopies and tropical garden foliage are ideal for generating renewed ambience, and by utilising moon and down lighting, we redefine outdoor night-time atmosphere, as well as extend sought-after functionality.

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9 concealment

small space design

One of the most intriguing attributes of inspiring outdoor lighting design is the illusion of space, since we feel evermore connected when enjoying a lit object while its light source is concealed. Low-voltage fitting sizes are designed increasingly smaller, in a neutral colour palette. We prefer natural hues to metallic finishes, unless specified for overhead illumination, as earth tones are effortlessly camouflaged within borders, decking designs and trees. We diffuse surplus brightness by utilising glare guards, efficient beam angles and suitable system wattage to amplify small city gardens.

10 upkeep

Outdoor lighting forms a low upkeep, trouble-free element, when the design process is adequately thought-out and implemented. Efficiency in routing wired apparatus is vital at the design stage, as a common mishap occurs when wires are detached by hard landscaping tools during construction, or by gardening equipment through maintenance. While low-voltage cables are easy and safe to repair at 12 volt, lamps usually fade within a couple of years, when replacement is essential to produce vivid displays. Likewise, the reflector, lens and flange benefit from periodical cleaning to maintain effective illumination.

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– coda –

Renewed Afterglow

Compared to many other aspects of garden design & build, lighting is one of the disciplines which provides the most focus, extended use and safety attributes. By selecting optimal objects and surfaces to highlight, we infuse renewed outdoor ambience, and produce distinct, visual expressions with fairly minimal effort. In any size garden, the metamorphosis of an exterior space into our own Shangri-la forms a captivating prospect – just plug & play, and wait for sundown!