Ann Bilowz: Lighting Your World

December 17, 2013

Sunrise in Loretta, Baja 

A beautiful sunrise reflecting over the water demonstrates the subtle yet dramatic beauty and movement of light.  When we illuminate our outdoor spaces, our use of light should not be heavy. Well-done landscape lighting plans should be inviting, create a mood and highlight features that a visitor when entering your exterior spaces may not see, specifically at night. 

One of the simplest ways to capture the outer entrance to your home and highlight features in your garden can be done with landscape lighting. Think about the ambiance of outside holiday lights. The illumination of each twinkly bulb triggers a glow within us all. Now picture carefully placed fixtures radiating a stone path or a beautifully sculptured tree. Your garden becomes like a museum, where each piece of art within your garden is lit in such a way that every visitor may see it in a different light.

Bridge and waterfall lighting; Photo by Bilowz Associates

Many may not think about fire being a lighting element when illuminating our landscapes but it accomplishes all the criteria above. This outside fireplace draws you into the exterior space while highlighting important features of the stone work and the surrounding landscape.

Outside fireplace terrace; Photo by Michael Lee

Another option is gas-fired.

Close-up of gas fire pit; Photography by Eric Roth

It is a quick on/off, adjustable, and most important, safe and clean-burning. In some states you cannot burn wood. There is no mess to clean or smoke in your eyes, especially in a site-specific place like the ocean, where prevailing winds can make a fire pit almost unusable.

Sunset shot of the Oceanside fire pit terrace; Photo Eric Roth

Well executed landscape lighting integrates the architecture of your home with the outside living space. It draws you in and guides you through the exterior spaces, even if you only view an outdoor terrace from an indoor living area. Light highlights features that are otherwise lost.  You can pick some exquisite yet small fixtures that do not detract from your ultimate goal – illuminating the features, surfaces, and elements in your outdoor spaces.

Close-up sitting wall lights Hunza step lights; Photo by Peter Vanderwark

Well-done landscape lighting isn’t just bunging in a bunch of random fixtures. This may resolve illumination or safety issues but to create a mood, it requires proper planning. You want the fixtures to enhance not obscure or overpower your outdoor living space. Sometimes less is more and getting the correct layout, the right light fixtures and tweaking the system is 90 percent of the battle. What’s the other 10 percent? Enjoying it!

Spa and kitchen terrace; Photo by Eric Roth

© Copyright note: All images and designs have been developed by and are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and should not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.©


Master Plan, Landscape Design and Lighting Plan – Bilowz Associates Inc.

Photography by Bilowz Associates Inc., Eric Roth, Michael J. Lee, Peter Vanderwarker

-Ann Bilowz

Ann Bilowz writes a daily blog, Annie’s Gardening Corner, sharing inspiration, landscape design and garden tips for Bilowz Associates Inc., a landscape architectural firm where ‘creating design with harmony and balance’ is more than a tagline – it’s a philosophy that Bilowz Associates, Inc. incorporates into each project. You can follow the company with its daily blog, Annie’s Gardening Corner and also find them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Houzz.  

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