Flood Lighting – Too Much or Too Little?

August 27, 2022

Flood lights are common elements when designing a landscape lighting scheme. Knowing how to utilize the right floodlighting for your property can be tricky. Too much light creates light pollution which is misdirected light. The result can be lights that are shining into your neighbor’s bedroom or light that is misguided going into the sky. An experienced lighting designer can create functional ambient and security lighting while keeping light pollution to a minimum.

Here we list tips and information on how to get the most out of your landscape lighting flood lights.

What Are Floodlights?

A flood light is a luminaire that spreads (floods) light, much more than typical focused lights. These multi-purpose lights add illumination to large areas, and can be used for trees, structures, and walls. Due to their high luminosity and wide light distribution, they make great security lighting. Flood lights can be found with a range of fixtures including various shapes and sizes. When lighting professionals describe bulbs, “flood” indicates beam angles from 30º to 38º, “wide flood” indicates 60º, and “very wide flood” indicates 80º to 100º.

Security Lighting and Flood Lighting

Flood lighting is typically associated with security lighting. Ideal security lighting will illuminate an entire area leaving less space in the dark. This provides added safety for your home or business, especially in walkways, driveways, and parking lots. Since flood lights produce a wide beam, they are optimal for illuminating spots that might be a challenge to see. Motion sensor flood lights are frequently used for security and do not drain your power, as the lights only operate when something moves in the area. In residential areas, these lights should be between 700 and 1300 lumens for best results. A good tip is to see how dark the space is around your home or business and assess how much light is needed for your preference and safety. 

Highlighting with Flood Lighting

One of the best ways to incorporate flood lighting into a homeowner’s landscape lighting design is by using it to illuminate a home’s architecture. The exterior textures of a home really shine when the lighting fixtures are placed low in the landscape, directing them up at the home’s surface. This creates a wash of light, highlighting the beautiful elements of your architecture while also providing a warm and welcoming element for family and guests. Retaining and freestanding walls are excellent elements to highlight. These long low walls can be washed with light without spilling too much light into the night sky. 

Creating Balance with Layers

The goal of incorporating any type of flood lighting is to layer the light to keep an aesthetic balance, opposed to a harsh, bright result. An expert lighting designer will know which flood light fixtures to incorporate around your property to create the right composition and balance. For instance, lateral wash light fixtures are useful for bathing your home with light, while bullet fixtures that have a smaller light beam are perfect for highlighting trees. For bushes and small trees, position your fixtures near the plant’s base. For your garden beds use small flood lights to create a soft wash of light. Be sure to position the lights so they do not produce hot spots on individual plants. When choosing floodlights around your property, you can install them with additional glare guards to minimize any unwanted and misdirected light. 

Flood lights and Versatility

Flood lights are versatile and include many options. Having a clear vision of your placement and application will narrow down the best choice of floodlights for your property. Flood lights can be mounted on gutters or roof edges to illuminate the second story of a home. They can be used to illuminate walls, garden beds, trees, and other greenery. Floodlights can be mounted 20 feet or higher and at an angle greater than 45º to illuminate decks, patios, and lawns. Floodlights are great for commercial use too. They are ideal for illuminating signs, facades, and public areas. Floodlights not only create a wash of visibility and security, but if applied in the right way, they offer a welcoming, attractive environment.

Where Not to Use Flood Lights

As we mentioned, floodlights are versatile and come in an array of options making them useful for most landscape lighting projects. Knowing where to place them is very important. You will want to avoid installing floodlights on your home in between windows or similar places where the spread of light will breach into your indoor space. Instead, for these areas, you can select spotlights with 60º beam angles that produce wide, conical beams that are focused. 

If you would like to add landscape lighting to your home or business but don’t know where to start, take the first step and click here to speak to an expert designer at Mobile Illumination. Our team members have a passion for the art of outdoor illumination and will work with you to bring your vision to life. Give our designers a call today! 

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