Highlight trees with spotlights - here's how
Do you have a tree in your yard that you think deserve a bit of extra emphasis? We couldn't agree more! A tree is one of the more beautiful elements to highlight in a yard because it creates height and you can enjoy the changes in the leaves being illuminated through the spring, summer and fall. In this blog, you discover which products to use to highlight a tree. We also give you some tips on what to consider when choosing a product. Just remember the 3 rules provided in this blog and your tree will look amazing!
Always illuminate a tree with a spotlight. You might think this is obvious, but there are several types of spotlights available. There are spotlights that provide light from the ground, spotlights that are adjustable and spotlights that can be mounted on a wall. What these outdoor lights have in common is that they all provide accent lighting. Accent lighting is, as the word implies, meant to accentuate large or tall features in the outdoor space. Products with accent lighting have a wide light distribution and a focused light beam.
Rule 1: Always use outdoor accent lighting to illuminate a tree
The location of the tree
Before you choose a spotlight, you must first know where the tree is or will be and where the spotlight should be placed. It may be that the tree is surrounded by grass, landscaping plants, a wooden deck or loose material such as gravel or chippings. This surface largely determines whether you select a ground light or an outdoor spotlight.
All products for example from the SCOPE series are outdoor spotlights. These spotlights are also called stake spotlights since they can be easily staked in the ground and disappear nicely between the plants. If the plants are tall, you can increase the height of the spotlight by using an adapter such as the RISER 350. This allows the light to be introduced in many ways which can change with your landscaping while keeping the tree perfectly lit.
However, an outdoor spotlight is not beautiful if it is installed in the middle of a lawn or a wooden plank. For this, it is better to use ground lights. These are installed in the ground and the top of the fixture is flush with the soil. A ground light is barely visible during the day but creates beautiful ambient lighting of the landscape in the evening.
Rule 2: If you are installing a spotlight between plants, use an outdoor spotlight. If you are installing the spotlight in the grass, gravel or a plank, choose a ground light instead.
The type of tree
And now here is the key. The tree. And of course, here we again have to consider the different types and sizes (if it was easy, we would not be writing a blog about it!). We make a distinction between the following types of trees: espaliers, platanus and large or small freestanding trees with either a narrow or a broad crown.
An espalier or linden espalier can be illuminated in various ways. For example, you can use the BIG SCOPE at an angle to illuminate the crown. The wide beam of light will then illuminate the entire crown. If the tree is surrounded by grass, use the NERO and tilt the spotlights in the soil slightly so that the beam shines into the tree.
A platanus, or an umbrella shaped tree, is illuminated most beautifully from directly below. If the paving or a plank runs under the canopy of the tree, you can integrate a ground light directly into the paving. This allows the canopy to be illuminated from below while still providing access to walk under it. Consider using the FLUX fixture here. If grass surrounds the tree, use the NERO. If the trunk of the tree is next to a border, you can also use a spotlight with a ground stake such as the SCOPE. The best effect is achieved if the tree is illuminated from at least two sides to emphasize its depth.
Freestanding tall, broad trees
Since a large tree such as an Oak, Ash or Weeping Willow has considerable height and width, it is best to highlight it with a BIG SCOPE outdoor spotlight or a BIG NERO ground light. For the best effect, direct the beam of light towards the lower half of the crown. The BIG NERO can also be used since the light beam on this fixture can be tilted. It is recommended to illuminate the tree from at least two sides to emphasize its volume. If you can you walk around the entire tree, use three fixtures to ensure the tree is evenly lit.
Freestanding tall, narrow tree
Tall columnar trees are best illuminated with spots that have a narrow beam but a wide light distribution. Think, for example, of the BIG NARROW SCOPE. This fixture has a 10 meter/33 feet light distribution at an angle of 18 degrees. Ideal for tall, narrow trees. If the tree is less than 5 meters/16.5 feet tall, use the SCOPE or work the NERO in at ground level.
Freestanding small trees
A small tree up to about 3 meters/10 feet tall can be perfectly illuminated by a MINI SCOPE or SCOPE outdoor spotlight. Light from a MINI SCOPE can reach up to 3 meters/10 feet in a wide beam. If the crown of the tree is broad, use the MINI SCOPE. If the tree is more than 3 meters/10 feet tall and narrow in shape, use the SCOPE. This fixture distributes light up to 5 meters/16.5 feet. Install your fixtures slightly away from the trunk and point the beam into the tree for the best effect.
Rule 3: Light distribution and beam angle are deciding factors when choosing the best spotlight for your tree. If the tree has a wide crown, choose a spotlight with a large beam angle. If the tree is tall, choose a spotlight with high light reach. Install several spotlights for the best effect.
These are in our opinion the 3 “rules” when choosing an outdoor light to illuminate the trees in your yard. Follow these rules and you will be fine! If you have any questions or want to share the end result with us, follow us on social media and let us know. Enhance your tree with in-lite!