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For a naturalist lighting design, blend a number of light sources to emulate the effect of moonlight. Drape lights along pathways and low-level plantings. Mount luminaries in trees that point both up and down. "The effect is as if the area were being illuminated by a full moon," Whitehead says.
Will the back porch double as an eating spot? Is the front walkway just to welcome visitors? "The lighting should relate to the way the outdoor spaces are going to be used," Whitehead explains. Knowing how the areas will function will help you think through switching and transformer locations, power lines, conduit, and outlets.
If an incandescent light is dimmed, it becomes amber and casts a sickly pall on green plants. Instead, use a daylight -- a blue color-correcting filter on outdoor lights -- which eliminates the yellow tones. "The whiter the light, the more healthy the plants look," he says.
Whitehead's rules of thumb on spacing:
1. Space lights far enough apart to provide safety without overkill.
2. Light paths with luminaries under 2 feet in height that project downward.
3. Use spotlights judiciously. Be sure to shield any in direct view to avoid glare.
A good outdoor-lighting design should consider two layers of lighting: one for when you are inside looking out and one for when you are outside.
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