A water fountain is a magnificent feature of a home, garden, or outdoor space. If your water fountain is a distinctive feature on your property, landscape lighting can transform it into a dramatic nighttime focal point.
The light glimmers and dances with the water; it's truly magical.
Water features are the most complicated to light because it involves so much more than placing a few fixtures in the water. Homeowners have asked us to redesign their water feature lighting. Typically, we'll see a fixture placed at the bottom, aiming skyward, causing unnecessary glare, and not creating the effect the homeowner desires. To prevent this from happening to you, consider the following landscape lighting tips for water fountains.
We hope you find these tips helpful, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a professional. For those of you doing it yourself, please be careful when working around water and electricity. If you're hiring a professional, it doesn't hurt to test their knowledge by asking them how they plan to light your water fountain, what types of fixtures they plan to use, or even how experienced they are with lighting water fountains.
Consider the Space and Unique Ways to Add Light
In many cases, people light a fountain with strategically placed submersible fixtures. This technique will create shadowing effects and make the water feature visually appealing.
But, it’s not always necessary to submerse lights into water to achieve these interesting effects.
At McKay Lighting, we often consider the surrounding space and other ways to light a fountain. For example, if you have a large tree nearby, you could incorporate down lights that shine onto your feature from above. We also incorporate a couple of different lighting techniques into all of our lighting designs. Multiple light sources make the space more intriguing.
Keep the Attention on the Water Fountain – Not on the Fixtures & Wires
As we mentioned earlier, lighting a water feature, such as a fountain, is difficult. Most fountains are designed to be viewed from multiple angles. You'll want the lighting fixtures to be hidden as much as possible, and not distract from the fountain.
If possible, we recommend installing the wire and fixtures while assembling the fountain. Otherwise, some parts might have to be disassembled and reassembled to camouflage wires and fixtures.
Know that Water Plays a Major Factor...
All connections, wires, and other outdoor lighting fixture components must be properly sealed and watertight. This is especially true for water features and fountains since its components and fixtures are submerged underwater. You can run into all sorts of problems when fixtures are not properly sealed during installation.
Some light output is lost when fixtures are submerged underwater. You might need to factor extra wattage, depending on the water's depth and clarity. On the fountain above, we installed submersible brass fixtures in each bowl. The larger lower bowl has higher wattage bulbs than the upper bowls.
As Well As the Light's Position...
When creating a lighting design around a water fountain, you want to minimize the glare with proper fixture placement. For example, you don't want to install the lights and later discover it created a glare hazard as people walk by. The light's position will determine the mood of the space; it should enhance the feeling of serenity.
And Fixture Material
When it comes to fixture material, you'll want to make sure it is going to withstand years of being underwater. There are plenty of submersible fixtures on the market, but we recommend a high-quality material, such as brass or copper. We only use underwater products that we've found proven reliable through our 25+ years of experience.
In short, analyze the space around your water fountain for unique ways to add light, consider where you'll hide the wires and fixtures, and finally, determine how water depth can impact bulb wattage and fixture positioning. Lighting water fountains is a complicated process. It takes thoughtful planning, but when properly done... the results are magical.
An outdoor lighting designer has the experience and knowledge to bring your water fountain to life and make it a dramatic focal point at night. You can rest assured knowing your project will be properly designed and installed when you work with a dedicated landscape lighting company. Download the Essential Guide to Hiring a Landscape Lighting Professional for tips on selecting the right professional for your home and property.
Landscape Lighting is what we do. Every day.
We’ve been in the landscape industry since 1987, becoming a dedicated outdoor lighting firm in 1992. Our experienced lighting team provides the expertise and experience needed to light your outdoor space for both beauty and security. Our goal is to provide the highest quality, custom lighting services and products, to homes and businesses across the nation.
Located in Omaha, McKay Lighting services Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota areas, including Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Des Moines, Kearney, the surrounding areas and beyond.