A long, winding driveway is a fantastic way to set a house back from all the street noise. They also create an added sense of security and safety for the homeowner, however that’s often lost if the driveway is not visible at night. Professional landscape lighting can completely transform your driveway, and driveway lighting will only become more and more pronounced as we get deeper into fall due to the shorter days. There’s many different ways to approach illuminating a driveway, and no single project is exactly the same. Here are some different methods that you can discuss with a designer when putting together a landscape lighting plan.
The most effective method to light a driveway is with moonlights. Moonlights get mounted high up into trees and shine down towards the landscape/ground. These work great for driveways mainly because the high placement of these fixtures gives plenty of distance for the light to spread out and hit more of the driveway. This wide beam spread limits the amount of fixtures needed to illuminate an entire driveway, and it makes the light appear a lot softer on the pavement. Typically, this moonlight method is paired with uplighting at the base of the trees that have moonlights mounted in them. By adding just a couple of uplights to the composition it visually balances out the down-lighting and makes it feel more natural.
While moonlighting may be the most effective method, sometimes there just aren’t enough large trees near the driveway to make it work. An alternative solution in these situations would be bollard lighting. Bollards are very similar to pathlights (and both give off the same type of lighting), however bollards are much larger and more substantial. If someone tries to use standard pathlights to fully light a driveway they’re going to need so many fixtures that the driveway will start looking like an airport runway. Since bollards are larger they can give off more light, which allows them to be spaced out farther than pathlights. The large size of bollards also helps them visually fit in with the scale of sprawling driveways. Some homeowners actually prefer bollards to moonlights, because they stand out and catch your attention. Bollards come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and designs, and the light patterns they give off can be quite stunning. The major downside? Bollards can get real pricey real fast due to the extra material it takes to make them, the longer install time, the larger quantity of fixtures required (compared to moonlights), etc. When done correctly, bollards can really be the cherry on top of an outstanding landscape lighting system.
While moonlights and bollards are definitely the most-utilized lighting methods for driveways, when you work with a professional landscape lighting designer they can help create unique lighting solutions customized specifically for you. Sometimes there may not be enough trees near a driveway to use moonlights and there’s a retaining wall that prevents the use of bollards along the whole length. We could then use our skills and expertise to core-drill lights into the retaining wall that will wash light downwards onto the driveway. Since we have been doing this for over 20 years we can ensure that whatever situation we walk into, we will find a way to light it.
If you would be interested in new or improved driveway lighting before winter hits, don’t hesitate to call us at 952-474-4536 for a free design consultation! You will see the difference with Erickson Outdoor Lighting.