Having a water fountain is a magnificent feature of a home, garden, or outdoor space. If your water fountain is a distinctive feature of your outdoor space, adding landscape lighting turns 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 so much more is involved 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 remember to 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, strategically placed submersible lights are used to light a fountain. This creates shadowing effects and makes the water feature visually appealing. But, it’s not always necessary to submerse lights into water to achieve these interesting effects. Consider the surrounding space. If you have a large tree nearby, you could incorporate down lights that shine onto your feature from above.
In all of our landscape lighting designs, we like to incorporate a couple of different lighting techniques. Multiple light sources make the space more intriguing.
Keep the Attention on the Water Fountain – Not on the Fixtures & Wires
As we mentioned above, 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, it works best to wire in the fixtures while the fountain is being assembled. Otherwise, some parts might have to be disassembled and reassembled to camouflage wires and fixtures.
Know that Water Plays a Major Factor...
With all types of lighting fixtures, the connections, wires, and components must be properly sealed and watertight to prevent problems. With water features – fountains especially – the fixtures and its components are submersed under water. You'll run into problems if these fixtures are not properly sealed during installation.
Also, when lights are submersed under water, some of the output is lost. Depending on the water's depth and clarity, you might need to factor in extra wattage. For this fountain, submersible brass fixtures are installed in each bowl. The larger lower bowl has higher wattage bulbs than those in the upper bowls.
As Well As the Light's Position...
When designing light around a water fountain, you'll want to minimize the glare with proper fixture placement. For example, you don't want to install the lights and later discover you've created a glaring hazard as people walk by. Also, how the light is positioned can 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 under water. There are plenty of submersible fixtures on the market, but you'll need to make sure you get a high quality material, such as brass or copper. We only use underwater products that we've found proven and reliable through our years of experience.
As mentioned, lighting water fountains is a complicated process. Consider the space around your water fountain for unique ways to add light, where to hide wires and fixtures, how water impacts bulb wattage and fixture positioning. It takes a lot of thought and 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. When you hire a dedicated landscape lighting company, you can rest assured knowing that your project will be properly installed. Download the Essential Guide to Hiring a Landscape Lighting Professional for tips on selecting the right professional for you 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.