As discussed in an earlier post, The Different Lighting Techniques, there are a number of different ways to utilize light in a way that will enhance the appearance of your home and landscape; up lighting is one of the ways that a lighting designer creates a dramatic look.
What is Up Lighting
Lighting is considered "up lighting" when the light source is low to the ground, or in the ground, and the subject is being lit from the bottom up. Due to its versatility, up lighting is one of the most common lighting techniques used, especially here in the Houston area.
The Proper Way to Use Up Lighting
Up lighting creates quite an impressive and dramatic look, when done correctly. Up lighting can be used with both PAR and MR16 style lamps, it is key to ensure the fixture is mounted and angled upward as this will assist in reducing shadows and other unwanted effects. When using inground PAR style fixtures, there may be a need for covers to protect from debris or lens' to reduce possible glare. When inground fixtures are used it is important to make sure that you also do not blind those walking around the area as these will be installed where one might be walking or around an entry way. If using an MR16 style fixture, a shield may be need to ensure the light is angled the correct way and shielded. With LEDs, up lighting has been given whole new life - there are so many different wattages and beam spreads to play with to create an amazing lighting design that was never possible with halogen lamps.
MR16 Style Up Lighting, Cored PAR Style Up Lighting
Up Lighting Applications
Up lighting is not just for an architectural piece, it is also for landscape, hardscape, and special features.
We use up lighting the most on the front and back of houses, trees, and ornamental trees, however this application may also be used to accentuate arbors, statues, fountains, mailboxes, and driveways. The applications are endless when using lighting that goes up, as opposed from down. Yes, down lighting can also light all of the aforementioned areas, however it provides a different appearance. For example, when using up lights as opposed to down on a driveway a whole new design aspect comes into play - how are the fixtures going to be spaced out and where will they be cored in? A lighting designer can be much more creative as a pattern or design can be created in the driveway. The same goes when using them to highlight an Ivy wall - one is able to highlight more of the Ivy crawl up as the lighting will spread more at the top, where down lighting will spread more towards the bottom of the Ivy.
Tree lighting is where up lighting is able to really pop. Now color LEDs and LEDs that are silver green give trees and other greenery an entirely new dimension. Down lighting a tree is commonly called "Moonlighting"and usually a line voltage type of system. Up lighting with silver green LEDs or color can achieve this same effect and remain low voltage, without leaving out any parts of the tree, like the canopy, where down lighting will lose a lot of that area and "moonlight" the ground more than the tree. Seeing a huge, old Oak Tree up lit with silver green LEDs is a site to see and brings that tree a whole new life.
Statue Up Lighting Silver Green LED
There are many distinctive techniques that one can employ when designing a custom lighting system, up lighting is just one way to achieve a dramatic and awe inspiring design.