Great outdoor lighting can:
- complement the architectural features of your home
- complement your landscaping and outdoor features
- enhance your night-time use of your outdoor space
- add a dramatic effect
- improve your property's safety by illuminating paths and walkways
- improve your property's security (burglars don't want to be seen)
- create mood and ambiance
If you are using lighting fixtures which are themselves design elements then they need to be placed where, as a design element, they can be seen and where their light will create the best effect, and, as a practical safety and security element, where the light can do the most good. When the fixtures are in themselves not design elements then they are often best hidden so you see the effect of the light but not the fixtures themselves.
Not every light is there for safety and security so some can be used decoratively to light up garden structures or bring attention to a beautiful shrub, tree or flower.
Lighting design also has a style of its own. There are dramatic styles of lighting that are fitting to a contemporary home and outdoor space and there are styles that are more fitting to that of an English garden. The lighting design should complement both the architectural style of your home as well as the style of your outdoor landscaping. And, it shouldn't be ad hoc. Good outdoor lighting—lighting that complements your space and aids in safety and security— is done by design.