CE Pro March 2024 - 26

Lighting
FIXTURES | CONTROLS | MOTORIZED SHADES
Do's & Don'ts for
Your Outdoor
Lighting Designs
Too much electric light will keep our
irises from adjusting naturally, making it
seem darker outside and opening us up
to more glare. By David Warfel
FOR MANY YEARS, nicer
homes would have had a patio
or deck behind the house
to enjoy during the " season, "
which might be summer
in Wisconsin or winter in
Florida. Over time, we added
areas for grilling out, screens
in buggy areas, and maybe a
fire pit or fireplace to extend
the seasons.
Today, we see a large
number of outdoor living
spaces come across our
desks that go even further,
containing nearly complete
functioning kitchens,
heaters, retractable screens,
upholstered furniture, bar
counters, TVs, and more.
So what can we do to
have the right light outdoors?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Rely on natural light
as much as possible.
Natural light is best for
our bodies and minds
and our planet. When
we over-light outdoor
spaces, we run the risk
of making our natural
spaces much more
artificial.
26 | CE Pro March 2024
2. Let your eyes adjust
naturally with sunset.
Too much electric light
will keep our irises from
adjusting naturally,
making it seem darker
outside and opening us
up to more glare.
3. Preserve natural
darkness as much as
possible. Night is pretty
awesome, and our bodies
need it to fully relax.
Too often, we illuminate
our outdoor spaces with
grids of recessed downlights
(or worse, disc/wafer lights).
This approach disconnects
us from nature. Here are
some preferred guidelines:
Don't put downlights
behind the cooking areas or
between countertops; do
use shielded lights directly
overhead. It's hard enough
to tell when food on the
grill is done without casting
shadows, so think about
how to get uninterrupted
light where needed. Cylinder
wall sconces that hide the
light source and direct light
down are low enough that
there will be much less glare.
Don't use tidy rows of
recessed downlights or
disc lights; do use recessed
lights in precise locations.
Bright overhead lights will
put the most glare in your
eyes. A few carefully placed
lights, like over the kitchen
island or dining table, will
put light where needed.
Add a dimmer so you can
use just the right amount.
Don't use overhead lighting
on the dining table; do
consider rechargeable portable
table lamps. Rather than
uncomfortable light from
above, use lamps that give
you light to see your food or
games but put very little light
directly into your eyes.
Don't put lights directly
above seating areas; push
them to over the shoulders
instead. Direct downlights
above us are in our peripheral
vision. We may have
" enough " light to see in
this arrangement, but it will
distract from our comfort.
Instead, consider placing
recessed adjustable (aimable)
downlights over the
shoulder of those seated.
Don't ignore features; do
hide lighting that accents
features. Stone fireplaces
and timber framing can be
quite expensive and beautiful,
so why leave them
in the dark? Often these
details make the perfect
surface for reflecting soft
light. For example, hide a
linear " grazer " light that
picks up the natural texture
of a stone fireplace.
Don't light only from
above; do use lighting down
low to illuminate pathways.
This is perhaps the most important
layer - just enough
light to comfortably navigate
through a space, all of it far
below your eyes to cut down
on glare. Light under a bar
top and fireplace hearth as
well as recessed step lights
in the columns may often be
the only lights needed.
DAVID WARFEL is Chief
Evangelist of Light at design
firm Light Can Help You
(lightcanhelpyou.com).
cepro.com
IVAN/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
http://www.lightcanhelpyou.com http://www.cepro.com

CE Pro March 2024

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