Types of Lighting
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, leaving nothing in nature permanently under spotlight or floodlight as the source of light is constantly moving. Backlighting occurs naturally first thing in the morning and right before the sun goes down. Anytime a light source is placed behind an object creating a silhouette, it is considered Backlighting. This method works on plants, pots, sculptures, patio furniture, and more.
The sun, the moon, and the stars all emit light from overhead. Downlighting is a technique that mimics this natural effect creating a familiar warmth to lighting designs. The shadows created through Downlighting are unique to this method and are one of the reasons that it is a popular effect. There are a variety of surfaces which will work for downlighting, including house facades, patio covers, trellises, trees, or any sturdy overhead structure.
Pathlighting is traditionally known as small fixtures on top of a stem placed close to a pathway. This is generally the most functional of lighting techniques as our number one need is to see our way safely when walking at night. It is not necessary to place these fixtures evenly and it is desirable to alternate from side to side to eliminate the “airport runway” look.
When a lighting fixture is placed on the ground and the light beam is directed in the upward direction, it is called Uplighting. Uplighting can be used to wash a wall with light, or to illuminate outdoor structures.
Unnatural or artifical bodies of water such as fountain bowls, water cascading over statuary, etc. are meant to be a focal point and due to its very nature lends itself to underwater lighting. Often features use clear filtered water and placing underwater lights, even colored lights, can offer a festive and desirable effect. Shimmering water caused by turgidity allows the colored shimmering light to play within the space.