How to Choose the Best Color Temperature for Your Outdoor Lighting

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    Everyone loves gathering with their friends and family and enjoying time together in their Kansas City landscapes. You tell jokes, reminisce on special memories, share experiences, play games, and just enjoy each other’s company.

    Hanging together outside in your backyard oasis makes the time even more memorable. Your new patio makes al fresco dining on grilled meats and veggies ideal. Your pool is the best place for the ultimate fun in the sun. And your outdoor fireplace creates the ultimate ambiance and place to congregate for lively conversation.

    But there are always those times of the year when you begin to realize that your evenings are short … or maybe the party is lasting longer, and you don’t want it to end. Yet, the darkness may spoil some of your fun.

    The solution: landscape lighting.

    Landscape lighting can change the game on those Kansas City evenings and deliver some next-level sunset entertainment and enjoyment.

    But as you’re considering nighttime illumination, you might be wondering what is the best color temperature for outdoor lighting.

    Let’s dive into LED color outdoor lighting and some tips on hiring the right company to do the job correctly so you can benefit from this illumination in your outdoor oasis.

    The Many Benefits of Landscape Lighting  

    You’ve done your best to make your house and backyard appear like it came from the pages of your favorite home improvement magazine. But you don’t want all of those great additions to fade away with the Kansas City sun. Landscape lighting is one of those great upgrades that can do a lot with a small amount of investment.

    Before we talk about outdoor light bulb colors, let’s talk about the benefits of outdoor landscape lighting that extend past adding an evening glow. Check out these amazing perks:

    • Enhance Visibility – Safe passage on your outdoor walkways and across your stone patios is one thing landscape lighting can instantly solve. Properly placed path lighting ensures your family members, visitors, and guests can navigate the landscape without stepping off paths, into dirt, or onto your precious plants.

    • Accentuate Curb Appeal – Without light, your nights can get pretty black. But your home can have just as much appeal as it does in the daytime when the sun goes down with landscape lighting that correctly illuminates your best landscape attributes and the architectural details of your house.

    • Boost Safety – Nighttime also can bring that insecure feeling that comes with blackness. No one wants to think intruders are lurking in the darkest corners of their landscape. With well-designed landscape lighting, you don’t have to worry because you can see these dark spots more clearly.

    • Add Hours to Your Outdoor Enjoyment – Possibly one of the best benefits of landscape lighting is the fact that you actually get to enjoy your landscape more than before. You can cook more, lounge longer, dine later, play later, and create a true place for extra gathering and enjoyment.

    A Look at Landscape Lighting Techniques   

    As you’re considering adding lighting to your Kansas City home landscape and figuring out the best color temperature for outdoor lighting, you’ll want to understand the many techniques used for placing those lights to ensure optimum safety, glow, illumination, and visibility.

    These landscape lighting techniques are the ones professionals use in various parts of your landscape to get the look you’re after.

    • Uplighting – This technique can help spotlight key features near your home or in your landscape by illuminating it from below. This places lights closer to each object you want to light up to create that bold, dramatic impact.

    • Downlighting – This is the opposite of uplighting. The light is placed high in an object, such as a tree, for the purpose of casting light down. The higher the light fixture is placed, the wider the light will be.

    • Moonlighting – Similar to downlighting, moonlighting casts light downward, giving the effect of the moonlight beaming down on your backyard.

    • Accent Lighting – Any lighting that draws special attention to a feature in your yard, such as a statue, tree, or unique home architecture, is called accent landscape lighting. This technique uses a narrow beam to highlight a hidden feature to add some mystery and intrigue.

    • Highlighting – This technique uses varying distances and angles of lights placed below an object to provide unique focus. Larger objects like big trees may require more than one light fixture to provide enough illumination for a highlighting technique.

    • Silhouetting – If you want to create a silhouette of a unique landscape plant or urn or anything in your yard with an attractive shape, this technique can help. By illuminating the backdrop behind the object, you create a dark outline of the object, giving it new life at night.

    • Shadowing – Similar to silhouetting, shadowing places light toward the base of a specific feature you want to bring to life. Instead of creating a silhouette, though, this design creates a soft shadow. If you have a tree with delicate leaves, shadowing can add some drama to your home facade.

    • Path Lighting – For walkways, backyard paths, and front yard entryways, try outdoor path lighting. This effect should not look like you’re landing a plane in your yard. You don’t want lights that are perfectly aligned in a straight row. Instead, you want a natural, alternating pattern that moves from side to side and follows curves on walkways. This technique aims the light down, ensuring you can see as you move down a path versus becoming blinded by light pointing into your face.

    Understanding Landscape Lighting Color Temperatures  

    Now that you know the benefits of landscape lighting and some of the techniques involved, now it’s time to understand LED color outdoor lighting.

    By learning about color temperatures, you can get a better sense of which type of light you’d like in your landscape.

    Color Temperatures Explained  

    Color temperatures in landscape lighting refers to a spectrum ranging from cool, which has a blue tint, to warm, which has a yellow tint.

    Landscape lighting color temperatures are measured in Kelvin (K). The higher the K, the cooler the light color.

    Here is a handy Kelvin color temperature scale that can help you better understand the spectrum:

    • Less than 2,000 K: Dim light, close to candlelight.

    • 2,000 K to 3,000 K: Darm light with hints of yellow.

    • 3,100 K to 4,500 K: Bright white light.

    • 4,600 K to 6,500 K: Bright blue-white light; for reference, daylight is approximately 5,200 K.

    • 6,500 K and up: Bright bluish light.

    How To Choose a Color Temperature  

    To choose your ideal landscape lighting color temperature, consider your purpose for adding the light in the first place.

    For instance, for security purposes, you may want brighter lights with higher K. We suggest around 5,000 K for security. Any higher can seem too harsh for the home environment.

    But if you’re looking for ambiance – maybe in places where you plan to entertain in the evenings – we recommend warmer tones that are both more relaxing and more flattering to the people illuminated by the light. In these cases, we suggest lights in the 2,000 to 3,000 K range.

    The key is to understand the purpose of the lighting and work with a professional to get the look “just right.” Anything too bright can be harsh and unwelcoming, while anything too dim can look cheap and ineffective.

    Get Some Color Temperature Guidance From a Pro  

    You’ve done your best to make your Kansas City backyard look first-rate. You don’t want your investment to disappear come nightfall.

    We hope this information helps you better understand landscape lighting color temperatures.

    But if it sounds confusing, don’t fret. Talking to a landscape lighting expert and looking at examples can help guide you to the right color temperature for you.

    You have options when it comes to custom landscape lighting design. Let High Prairie Outdoors eliminate the hassle for you. We are experts at installing high-end landscape lighting in Kansas City area homes and can give your backyard just the right color for your unique yard and budget.

    Ready to see how High Prairie Outdoors can enhance your landscape areas with landscape lighting?  We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver an elevated outdoor experience. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can create a solution that works best for you.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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