Of all the different objects in the garden, water features present the best opportunity for using light to create ambiance and magic. This is because water has the two properties of refraction and reflection. Reflection of light on still water can be breathtaking. Have you ever seen a sunset or sunrise over the ocean? The simulation of moonlight on still water can be duplicated with outdoor lighting. The light beam can be adjusted to create the desired reflection. Refraction, on the other hand, works best with moving water. In refraction, light is bent as it passes through the surface of water. Moving water constantly refracts light at different places and the light beam is bent at random as it hits the surface. When installed correctly, the effect is a shimmering night scene of dancing lights.
If you have fish or aquatic life in your pond, submersible pond lights can highlight the colors of the fish and plants. Illuminating water is a conversation starter for your backyard parties! Be careful though, because it only works well when the water is clear. If not, lighting will only accentuate the cloudy water making it look dirty. Definitely not a desirable effect!
Special water lighting features include specially designed lenses that can give different effects and help with mood lighting. Slow changing colors give a certain ambiance and mystery to the water. Unique floating, cordless pond shapes such as water lilies are easily incorporated into ponds without looking unnatural.
Not to be outdone, traditional landscape lights are always an option to frame pond borders or spotlight fountains and bridges. To keep it simple, white lights can be hidden among the rocks for safety. A balance between highlights and subtlety is the goal. Play up the special features of water; do not highlight every detail unless you want your backyard to look like Vegas or Times Square. The neighbors may not appreciate your yard’s garish look.
Safety should always be a consideration when purchasing and installing outdoor lighting. Even low voltage lighting can be dangerous if not installed properly. Only purchase lighting that has been UL approved. Underwriter’s Laboratory approved fixtures will have the UL mark. Above ground lighting fixtures must be weather resistant but are not designed to be submersed in water. All lighting installed in water must be waterproof. Waterproof lighting fixtures are designed with a special casing that prevents water from getting into the electrical components. It is worth noting that even in the best conditions, waterproof light fixture seals can eventually fail and will need to be replaced. Transformers that are specific to underwater lighting must be used.
Creating light effects on your water can be one of the most dramatic improvements a homeowner can make to their property. Installing outdoor lighting has so many advantages but good design layout and safety should always be part of the plan. If you want to use illuminating water to create ambiance in y our yard, call in the experts.