Outdoor Accent Feature Lighting

Accent feature lighting is just what it sounds like. Pick the feature you'd like to accent and decide how to place the lights. You may want to wash a wall with light. You may want to accent a tree or show off potted plants. You may want to light a pond either at or below the surface. Whatever your needs, there's sure to be a light for you.

Standard wall wash lights will give you a low, even spreading of light. This can be effective for setting off a wall, as the name implies, or a row of shrubs or plants. Set behind a tree, these same lights can produce a handsome silhouette effect. Most wall wash lights are adjustable so they can be angled to hit the desired feature. If your wall wash lights are going to be placed where they can be easily seen, you'll want to think about form as well as function. For example, a shell design can get the job done and look good from behind as well.

"Moonlighting" a tree is another good way to accent the landscape. You can purchase small, hanging lamps that shine downward. Disperse them evenly throughout the tree choosing branches with enough clearance for the lamp to hang rather than to rest. These same hanging lamps can be effective in accenting a deck, patio, or gazebo.

You can also buy a combination hanging lamp and planter. The shade of this hanging lamp is attached to chains that support a pot beneath. This is an elegant way of highlighting your hanging plants from exactly the right angle: directly above.

A well light may also be the answer for a surprising number of needs. If it comes with a reversible support sleeve, that expands your options. Used one way, the sleeve allows the light to be flush mounted, accommodating uplighting for well lights beneath trees. Reversed, the same sleeve turns the light into a semi-recessed fixture, suitable for angled lighting effects. For a different effect, add a glare shield or rock guard. The well light will no longer provide a great deal of uplighting, but the effect on the ground can be magical.

A well light may also be the answer for a surprising number of needs. If it comes with a reversible support sleeve, that expands your options. Used one way, the sleeve allows the light to be flush mounted, accommodating uplighting for well lights beneath trees. Reversed, the same sleeve turns the light into a semi-recessed fixture, suitable for angled lighting effects. For a different effect, add a glare shield or rock guard. The well light will no longer provide a great deal of uplighting, but the effect on the ground can be magical.

For an even more dramatic effect, you can set lights behind an artificial waterfall.

Smaller adjustable accent lights can go just about anywhere to add a touch of illumination. They can bring a small potted plant into the foreground, show off decorative rocks in the garden, or draw the eye to a beautiful fountain. The very small ones can be hidden in the foliage, showing off the beauty of a shrub of bed of flowers from within. For added versatility, mount these lights on 12", 18", or 24" stems to create downlighting effects from the subtle to the romantic to the dramatic.

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