Great Escapes: Do Glow On
The right lighting choices in a Mississippi poolscape add major design impact.
This residence, with a poolscape overlooking a horse farm in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, employs lighting as thoughtfully and artfully as any movie set with blockbuster production values.
“It’s an approach known as ‘moonlighting,’ which creates a soft, romantic, and flattering glow rather than bright spotlighting or floodlighting,” says Jim Burks, owner of Pinnacle Lighting, a Georgia firm based that illuminates estates across the Southeast. “The idea is that, because of the shielding effect of eaves, adjustable louvers and other elements, your eye doesn’t notice the actual source of the light, especially if you’re walking around in the high-traffic areas.”
This effect is created with a combination of bulbs, wattages and carefully calibrated angles, including 10-degree halogen spot fixtures on the top and sides of the house, with 2,700 Kelvin fluorescent bulbs in the deck area. Metal halide lamps, or high-intensity discharge “grow lamps” - considered the best light source for vegetative growth and the hydroponic gardener’s best accessory - accent the stone waterfall and cast the banana trees in an atmospheric silhouette.
Also, 15-watt fluorescent lamps are used for “uplighting” on the trees. “They’re cooler and bluer, and that blue makes the greens of the landscaping look even greener,” Burks says.
The grounds are sewn with the Oriental magnolias favored by the owners. “We were careful not to block the view but to try to frame the surrounding woods and horse farm with subtropical trees,” says landscape architect Thomas H. Eaves. “It’s such a large acreage that nobody but the horses can see the pool area, but we used some wood fencing on the side to enhance privacy.”
His firm used sandstone quarried in northern Alabama for paving.
Rather than a traditional diving board, he opted for a “jump rock” made from stone steps, for plunging into the pool, which ranges from 36” to 10’ deep. Natural boulders form the back of the pool, and a spa area off the master bedroom features an outdoor shower designed like a natural waterfall.
And for the after-party clean-up? “We have the traditional, bright floodlights in place, too, if they’re needed,” Burks says.