Big Improvement in Landscape Lighting Design
I'm very excited about a new trend among some of the best designers - that is the use of wash lights at very low light levels - especially for garden beds and small to medium-sized plants.
For years, one of my pet peaves was when designers would put a bullet near a small bush and expect to achieve a nice illumination of that and surrounding plants. Instead, they got a hot spot on the bush and a distracting and unpleasant affect on the overall lighting scene.
Now that nice wash lights with flexible mounting options are available; and that these lights can be dimmed down to as low as 5%; the designer now has the ability to provide a very subtle, soft-edged, low-level illumination. This type of light, as applied to these small gardens and plants provides just enough light to allow the plants to emerge from the darkness - but not so much light that they appear unnatural or distracting.
As I hear more experiences of designers using dimmable lights, I hear them say they almost never use the lights at full brightness - in fact, on many jobs they find that 10% or 20% is the right level for certain parts of the property. This is huge for our profession - it's making us all better designers. I don't think we appreciated how little control we had - now that we have so much.