Most commonly, highlighting is used to illuminate a specimen plant by placing two or more spot light fixtures at the base and angling them upward, illuminating both the bark and canopy. Boulders, sculptures and garden structures can also be highlighted. Although this method of lighting is useful it can be overused. Below are several alternate effects that, if specified, can add range and sophistication to a lighting project.
When spotlights are placed behind plant material or a garden element and aimed at an adjacent wall to create a backdrop, it allows the viewer to enjoy the outline form of the object only. This technique is useful when trying to showcase very dense plant material that has interesting structure such as Pinus thunbergiana, Yucca varieties or Chamaerops humilis. Silhouetting can also be achieved through scalloping.
This effect is similar to silhouetting in that the fixture is positioned at the base of a wall behind the subject aiming up. The use of a non-reflector microfilament lamp combined with a clear lens creates a very sharp elliptical light pattern backdrop. Using this effect is an elegant way to enhance long straight flat walls-especially if they have symmetrically shaped plant material such as Pyrus kawakamii or Dwarf Citrus positioned in the foreground.
Note: Notice how much warmer the CM light is compared to the bright white of the RS in the silhouette photo above.
Similar to highlighting, but with the spot light in front of plant material that has a tall adjacent wall so that dramatic shadows are created as a back drop. This method of lighting is an excellent choice for immature landscapes typical of new construction because it transforms a small plant and a large plain wall into a high drama effect that moves with the wind. Good subjects for shadowing are plants that have an open delicate foliage such as Phoenix roebelenii, Nandina domestica or Acer palmatum-although a well trimmed Tupidanthus calyptratus can produce beautiful patterns.
When a project has walls or objects that have rugged surfaces, a series of fixtures placed 6-8" from the base will create a high contrast "black and white" effect. Grazing is perfect for high relief stucco or natural stonewalls; however, it can also be used to accentuate the unique bark texture of plants such as Melaleuca quinquenervia or unskinned Washingtonia palms. This effect is the best example of the wonderful visual tension created by the interplay of shadows and light made possible by the micro filament lamps found in FX low voltage spotlights.
Similar to grazing, but with fixtures installed 12-18" from the base of the wall, 4' on center and fitted with our frosted diffuser thereby creating an even illumination. This technique is very efficient because it highlights the wall and then reflects a soft, glare-free ambient glow onto the surrounding area. If this effect is used on a wall adjacent to walk or driveways, it can eliminate the need for traditional pathlighting. Specify the RS-20-F for walls up to five feet high. If washing walls up to twelve feet or dark rough surfaces, use the RS-35-F.