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How to properly highlight trees

When highlighting trees, there are a few things to take into consideration: type of light, angle of light, distance of tree to light. Spotlights are ideal for this type of work as they can be placed close to the tree and aimed upwards to create a dramatic effect. When it comes to choosing a color for your light, warm white 2700K is always a good option as it will bring out the natural colors of the leaves and bark. If you want to experiment a little bit, you can also try using colored LED Lamps or RGB-W lamps in your fixtures to create different looks. Just make sure that whatever color you choose doesn’t clash with the natural colors of the tree. The other things to consider is the type of lamp and the beam angle. The most common lamp used is 30 to 36 degrees, 4-5 watts and produces 300 to 360 lumens. To create a more uniform look and avoid over-illuminating any one area, position the light so that it is pointing toward the top center of the tree, not the branches or base of the trunk. Cross lighting with 2-4 fixtures placing them a foot within the drip line of the tree is also key. By positioning the fixtures this way you will create a three dimensional viewpoint from wherever your viewpoint and it engulfs the tree highlighting all of its foliage. Framing the property line and filling in highlighting other interest will also create depth. I like to triangulate what I am trying to highlight on the property. I start with picking corner trees and then coming in at an angle finding another like minded tree or finding an element or complementary tree that is visually interesting. I will use fire pits, structures, water features and yard art as a focal point as well and play off of those when selecting the next tree I want to highlight by spacing what I am trying to illuminate by 30-40 feet. I want to be able to look from within out getting depth color and texture. To create a fun transitional flow from just looking up I like to place area lights in between my highlighted spaces to pull out other low lying colors and textures like rocks and shrubs. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create a beautiful and unique landscape that will stand out day or night.

Do you have any tips for highlight trees that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our selection of spotlights and other outdoor lighting fixtures to help get started on your project. As always, our team of experts or installers are here to answer any questions you may have. Give us call!


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