How To Choose Floodlights For Your Landscape Lighting Project
What are Flood Lights?
Just as a flood describes water overflowing its boundaries, a flood light is a luminaire that spreads light beyond the boundaries of other (more focused) lights. A flood of water is usually a problem, but a flood of light can be either good or bad, as we¡¯ll explain.
Flood lights include a range of fixtures of various shapes and sizes. The common factor is a very wide beam angle ¨C typically in the range of 60o to 120o. (Note that the term ¡°flood¡± is used differently when describing lamps or bulbs ¨C see side detail.)
The Good and the Bad ¨C Night and Day
One key to successful landscape lighting is to illuminate objects in ways that create a beautiful nighttime scene. If the designer floods a wall with light, then the look is more daytime than nighttime; that would be bad. If a flood light fails to produce a nighttime effect, use a spotlight instead.
¡°Use flood lights only when the lighting design requires the illumination of broad areas ¨C and, only in ways that create a nighttime effect.¡±
Always. . .
Because they have such a wide beam, keep residents and visitors in mind. Install flood lights so they will not project into the viewers¡¯ eyes. Some of our lights have additional glare guards to minimize this problem.
Use the Least-Bright Lights That Do the Job
VOLT? offers a wide range of sizes and light outputs. When it comes to landscape lighting, less is more ¨C keep light levels low. Shop flood lights
Where To Use Flood Lights
House Sidings? Usually Not
In most cases, instead of flood lights, select spotlights with 60o beam angles for house sidings. They produce wide, conical beams that can be positioned between windows. The resulting nighttime effect is a symmetrical pattern of light and dark across the house. If the house were flooded with light, then it would look to be daytime ¨C not nighttime. Recommended product.
Exceptions: When It¡¯s OK to Use Flood Lights on Sidings
When the light will be projected through plant material (shadow effect). The resulting shadows provide enough light/dark contrast to evoke nighttime.
When the light will be projected behind unlit plant material (silhouette effect). Again, the dark foreground speaks to the night.
When the wall is highly textured, such as rough stone or brick. The textures result in dark shadows so the contrast is night-like.
Mount flood lights on gutters or roof edges to illuminate second stories. (See the VOLT? Gutter Mount.)
Retaining and Freestanding Walls
Unlike house facades, these long low walls can be washed with light. There are enough nearby dark surroundings to ensure a nighttime feeling. Select flood lights and position them to use as much of the projected light as possible, without spilling too much light into the sky. Recommended product.
Stake-mounted spotlights are not well suited to illuminate garden beds or low-lying plant material. Instead, use small flood lights to illuminate these plant regions. Position the lights so they do not put hot spots on individual plants. Recommended product.
Bushes and Small Trees
Flood lights are ideal for these plants. The lights can be positioned fairly near the plant¡¯s base without creating a hot spot. Recommended product.
Stands of Multiple Trees
When you want to illuminate a stand of several trees or a line of trees, use a few powerful flood lights instead of many spotlights. This greatly reduces the number of fixtures needed. Note: this is a good technique for trees along the back or sides of a property; it¡¯s not good for trees in in the midst of a yard since these powerful floods may create a glare problem for residents and guests. Recommended product.
Other Landscape Regions
For sitting areas, decks, patios or lawns, use flood lights mounted from above ¨C but only when very wide coverage is needed. Be sure to mount them at an angle greater than 45o from horizontal, and at a height greater than 20 feet. Recommended product.
Commercial Use ¨C Signs, Facades, Public Areas
VOLT? produces flood lights in both low voltage (12V) and line voltage (120V). Both types are suitable for commercial applications such as illuminating signs, facades and public use areas. Other popular lights for commercial use include wall packs and solar security lights. Recommended 12V products and recommended 120V products.