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Tips on Landscape Lighting a Tree

When it comes to landscape lighting a tree, you really need to look at what kind of tree you are trying to light first. This will help you in determining the type of lighting technique to use, as well as the fixture and the proper bulb wattage. Some trees can be lighted with well lights, while other trees will best be lighted by using bullet or spot lights.

Lighting Evergreens

The foliage of evergreens are very dense and dark in color, other than spruces which will have a blueish color to them. The best way to light a evergreen is to place your light fixture in the ground away from the bottom of the tree and then aim your light at the top 1/3 of the tree.

Depending on the size and shape you might have to adjust this to get the desired effect you are wanting. Another thing to keep in mind is that dark colors will require more lamp wattages to light the object right.

Experiment with different wattages of your lamps, till you get the right one.

Tip: Halogen light will highlight any yellow needles your evergreens might have on them, to avoid this add a ice-blue lens over your lamp. This also works great on spruces too.

Outdoor Tree Lighting Ornamental-Flowering Deciduous Trees

Trees like the Crape Myrtles, Dogwoods, Fruit trees, Crabapples and Redbuds. The branches and flowers of these trees are what you want to highlight. During the spring the flowers will can be highlighted at night and during the winter these trees and others can give you great winter interest in your landscape lighting.

These trees are best lighted when you install your fixture in the ground away from the tree and point your light at the top portion or canopy of the tree.

Deciduous Trees with a Dense Canopy

Maples, Ashes, Oaks and Elms have not only have massive branch structures, but their bark is also interesting. Light these types of trees to focus on the foliage and branches.

Place your lights in the ground along the outside edges of these trees. Large trees like these will often take many lights to bring out the their full lighting potential. You also want to make sure to use a light towards the trunk base to light the the trunk itself.

This helps in the visual part as you are connecting the tree and canopy together. If you don't light the trunk your lighted tree canopy will seem like it is just floating in the air. These types of trees are also good for using the moonlighting effect.

Open Canopy Deciduous Trees

Trees with smaller or open canopies such as some palm trees or birches benefit the best by placing your fixture in the ground and closer to the base of the tree. Make sure to angle your light so you do not create a hot spot on the tree itself. Trees like these are not good candidates for using the tree moon lighting affect.

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