outdoor lighting, landscape lighting

Setting the Mood with Thoughtful Landscape Lighting – a Q&A with Todd Klinger of Tomlinson Bomberger

Landscape lighting is the unsung hero of an outdoor living space.

While we and our lighting installation partners understand the value of well-designed landscape lighting, many homeowners – understandably so – need to see it to believe it.

That’s where Todd Klinger from Tomlinson Bomberger comes in.

Todd is a landscape lighting specialist and one of our preferred contractors for homeowners looking for patio lighting expertise. Part luminary designer, part landscape designer, Todd brings together the art, science, and vision of landscape lighting that inspires homeowners to fall even more in love with their patio and property.

We sat down with Todd Klinger to learn more about the impact of well-placed landscape light on a property and asked for his insights into what to think about when you’re ready to brighten up your outdoor space.

Q. What do you want homeowners to know as they’re considering landscape lighting?

Landscape lighting is not about a particular light fixture, shining light across a row of trees, or adding staircase lighting down your patio steps.

It’s about setting a mood for your outdoor space using light to guide you from one focal point to the next. Landscape lighting should be felt more than seen, casting an elegant calmness across your property.

Q. How does light create the mood homeowners are after? Give us a little of the science behind landscape light.

The color and temperature of light and the visibility of light fixtures all play an essential role in achieving the type of ambiance you’re after.

The color and temperature of the light you choose will depend on what elements of your patio and property you want to feature. Cool light can accentuate the blueness of a blue spruce, for instance. There are a variety of colors of lights to choose from across a spectrum of temperatures. A cool white light provides a very different feel than warm yellow light.

Another essential consideration that’s often overlooked is the placement of fixtures. The intention of landscape lighting is to highlight your property’s features, not your light fixtures. Unless your fixture is a statement piece, such as a lantern or torch, it shouldn’t take center stage.

When thinking about placement, also consider the angle of the light you’re casting. Light should hit no less than 10 degrees above the horizon. Otherwise, you’ll end up shining light right into your eyes.

Q. Where should you start when beginning a landscape lighting project?

Start with what you want to highlight and how you can accentuate the beauty of your patio, plants, and the entire property.

Landscape lighting is about elevating the mood of your space, so take time to think about what you want to be featured.  Is it a beautiful tree? A collection of shrubs? Or a prominent sculpture or water feature?  The size and number of features will significantly affect how you install and design your lighting.

Once we create that mood with the right shades of light that highlight your favorite landscape features, we can layer in practical lighting techniques like timers and safety lighting. Do you need to brighten a dark entryway? Or shine light on your driveway, so it’s lit when you leave for work in the early morning?

The answers to all these questions should be factored into your lighting plan.

Q. How does planning differ if you’re building a new patio versus adding landscape light to an existing patio?

The ideal way to add landscape lighting to your property is right from the start when designing your patio. That’s because most custom lighting needs to be incorporated into the structure of the patio; in many cases, wires run underneath the patio or within wall features. As you can imagine, this is much easier to do during the construction process.

My tip for homeowners thinking about building a patio now and adding landscape lighting later: design your patio with proper lighting capabilities built in. That way, when you’re ready to add lighting later, the infrastructure is already there. This will save you a good amount of time and money down the road.

But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from adding landscape lighting to an existing patio. If you recently purchased a home, for instance, and want to add lighting, it can certainly be done. A lighting contractor should assess the patio to determine the best way to add lighting fixtures and wiring without disrupting your existing structure.

When you’re ready to design your patio with landscape light, we’re here to guide you.

Light is a powerful tool for outdoor spaces. With proper planning and a thoughtful design, you can breathe new life into your patio and entire property with just the flip of a switch.

When you’re ready to begin your landscape lighting project, start at Penn Stone. Our design advisor will guide you through the process and match you with prospective landscape lighting contractors to create the perfect mood for your outdoor space.

Visit our showroom at 190 West Ross Street in Lancaster, PA, to get started. Or, contact us to learn more.

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