This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

September 4, 2013

Lighting your backyard tropical paradise

Adding Malibu lights to your backyard tropical paradise is a great finishing touch. But there are some tricks to make this work. The most important thing to learn is "uplighting".

Not long after I bought my house, I made a trip to the fanciest resort in town, The Phoenician, and just wandered around looking at how they did their lighting. And since they have a lot of palms, they do a lot of uplighting. This simply means placing a spotlight at the base of a plant and pointing it up.

But be careful here. Even low-voltage spotlights can be nasty and glaring if they are pointed at your eyes. And be very careful not to point them at your neighbor's house! And if you have them glaring back at you while you sit in your backyard, It's as unpleasant as having someone's high-beams hit you in the eyes on the highway.

By the way, these types of lights take very little electricity to run. My whole backyard is illuminated with the equivalent of two 100-watt light bulbs. And I have it connected to a simple on/off switch, so it's only on from sunset to the time I turn out the lights. There is no reason to illuminate my back yard all night!

The best way to do this is to go out at night and refine it. Walk around, check different angles. And don't be surprised to find that a little goes a long way. Over-lighting looks ridiculous. Be sparing, and it will add drama to your tropical paradise. Done right, it looks spectacular.

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