The long and short of outdoor lighting design

I recently did a consultation with a homeowner of a very tall home. Tall homes present an interesting challenge. Good architectural outdoor lighting design illuminates from the ground up. It should illuminate both the width and the height of the home. Regular outdoor lighting bulbs throw a rather wide cast of light thus sort of grazing the facade of the home. With a traditional wide flood bulb, your illumination can achieve some height in addition to width.

Tall skinny houseThis particular home is actually, quite deceivingly, four stories tall. The roof line is very high off the ground.

For the outdoor lighting design on this home, I used narrow spot bulbs rather than the traditional wide flood bulbs.  narrow spot bulbs hold their pattern better for a longer distance. The narrow flood bulbs are still used in the traditional fixtures of architectural facade lighting – well lighting fixtures.

Let’s take a look at this particular home from an architectural lighting design perspective. The windows are very narrow and very close together. The house has very strong vertical lines so my design included placing lights and the left and right corner of the front facade to illuminate the entire width of the facade as well as 2 well lights in the front of the home.

For your home, the number of fixtures necessary to properly illuminate the width of your home will depend on the width of your home and will also depend on the bulb used in the fixtures. The wide spot bulb is the traditional bulb most commonly used in front-of-home architectural lighting. The very wide spot bulb is often used for ranch homes where the home is shorter, longer, and often the windows are further apart. These wide spot bulbs are also used to light wide and short landscape features such as Japanese Maple trees which are short trees with a wide canopy.

The best bulb to pinpoint high architectural features is the narrow spot bulb. The light travels further to reach and illuminate the elevated architectural details of your home’s facade.

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