Statues and Focal Points
Tree spotlights 12v Twin spike spotlights Twin wall spotlights 12v spike spotlights
While uplighting, downlighting and crosslighting are terms relating to position and direction of light fixtures, the term accent lighting is a more accurate one when it comes to lighting particular focal points for emphasis and drama (although the term spotlighting is also sometimes used where the light fixture is positioned further away). Accent lighting is distinguished from other lighting terms by its intent - to make a feature stand out, either against a dark background or against a backdrop or framing structure which is less brightly lit
The character of a statue must be interpreted sensitively and the lighting carefully placed if the subject is to be attractively illuminated. Uplighting from directly in front of a statue or focal point can produce a washed out, two dimensional effect (especially for a light coloured subject) and can project strong shadows onto the upper part of a figure from protrusions at a lower level. A source to one side highlights form and relief with contrasting light and subtle shadow for a fuller effect. Lighting from one side only can leave a statue looking curiously lop-sided, so consider crosslighting from two opposing directions with lighting of different intensities to retain the depth provided by crosslit shadow while maintaining all-round illumination. Colour is also a factor; dark bronze statues require a high lighting intensity to make them stand out, whereas the high reflectance of a white marble subject makes a lower lighting intensity necessary if it is not to be overlit, producing a "white cardboard cut-out" effect.
Beware too the shadow thrown onto the wall or hedge behind a subject unless you have provided lower intensity backdrop lighting. Bulky plinths can reduce the feasibility of good lighting while light coloured plinths below a darker focal point can mean that correct balance between the two is difficult to achieve. Downlighting from a wall or pergola beam is an alternative to uplighting or crosslighting for upward facing figures, planted urns with wide rims or low ground level features. Framing a focal point with illuminated arches and other perspective devices can create stunning lighting effects: the focal point must be more brightly lit than the frame if perspective is to be maintained. By increasing the light intensity, the focal point will appear closer relative to the structure, and vice versa. Uplighting of an arch is usually the best technique for framing a view but this needs to be balanced with adequate ground lighting if the arch is extended into a pergola walkway or if changes in level are involved
Advice on choice of spike spotlights is the same as Planting and Shrub borders. For uplighting statues and focal points, some degree of lamp angle adjustment is usually needed, so if you opt for recessed uplights, make sure you use one with this feature. The Modula range with its recess sleeve is particularly easy for installing when re-paving and provide lamp adjustability; its sandblasted brass top plate weathers nicely to an ochre colour to blend with stone paving, but if you want a modern look you can opt for the stainless steel top plate, both available in round and square shapes.
For downlighting or crosslighting from structures or walls, adjustable units such as those in the Elipta Compact wall spotlight range, are an attractive choice at reasonable prices where you want another choice of finish: 316 stainless steel (E4211) for modern settings, copper for brick walls (E4221), black for traditional buildings (E4231), white for conservatories and facias (E4252) and the rustic brown powder-coated finish (E4271) for pergola beams and timber structures. Elipta spots also give you the option of 12v and 240v models to suit your wiring configuration. If you are spotlighting a feature from a tree instead of lighting upward, use an Elipta Compact tree-mount spotlight - the rustic brown finish blends well with tree bark and brown stained timber.
Choice of lamp beam depends very much on subject and proximity of light fitting to the subject; use 24w halogen Powersaver or 5w led lamps for close up lighting, 35w halogen Powersavers or higher power 5-7w COB led lamps if the fitting is further away or the subject is dark. Consider narrow beams for highlighting of plaques, motifs, paved circles & small features, as well as for uplighting pillars and arches to frame the view; 36 - 60 degree beams are the most commonly used lamps for accent lighting. Try to "fit" the lamp beam to the subject to avoid wastage of light and energy by studying the lamp beam diameter and the pool of light it provides at a given distance. Help and Tips provides useful helpsheets on subjects such as choosing the right lamps for your spotlights