There’s more to landscaping than lawns, flowers, shrubs, and trees according to Eric Mitchell, the Landscape Lighting Specialist, who spoke enthusiastically about painting with light at the November 9 NHLA Dinner Meeting in Manchester.
“Lighting can determine how you view the world personally,” Mitchell told the 46 attendees. “Lighting is the absence of darkness,” he said as he recited a brief history of outdoor lighting from the mid-20th century. We’ve come a long way in adding light to our work, he said. Reasons to light a landscape include safety and security for the homeowner, as well as enhancing the design effects for plants, trees, walls, buildings, artwork, and water features in your landscapes. He showed samples of his work, including backlighting, up lighting, grazing, silhouetting, cross lighting, down lighting, and reducing glare from bad standard house lights. “Light needs darkness to be successful,” he said, noting most of his sales calls with clients are after dark. “What we see is the light that is reflected off of objects. It is the absence of darkness.” Landscape lighting can draw the eye to evoke human emotions of warmth, safety, and calm. Mitchell went through quick lighting physics, speaking about the Color Rendering Index (CRI), the Kelvin scale to achieve the correct warmth of lights — 2700k to 3000k is the ideal yellow warm light to evoke fire and warmth – and the attributes of low voltage and LED lights. “LED lights, invented almost a century ago in Russia, have changed lighting forever,” he said. There are many bulbs for many jobs and every landscape and every object can have a special light.
He encouraged landscapers to include lighting in all of their projects to make their designs more attractive and appealing to clients.
Future NHLA Dinner Meetings in January and March include Facing Employment Challenges in the Landscape Industry and Migrating to Electric Power for Landscape Work.
— For more information about lighting, contact Eric Mitchell at Northeast Lighting Supply, 8 Dearborn Road, Peabody, MA 01960. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: (978) 376-9542 (cell) or (978) 864-4417 (office) Website: www.northeastnursery.com.
— by Mike Barwell, Perfect North Lawncare, NHLA Interim Education Coordinator