When it Comes to Landscape Lighting
ideas, the Possibilities are Endless!
landscape lighting installation as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. You are limited only by your
personal preferences, size, and shape of your landscape, and your
budget. With the right lighting techniques and fixtures, a little design creativity, and some common
sense, you will enjoy your beautiful landscaping after dusk and well into the
- Sometimes Less is More
When planning your lighting layout, you might be tempted to put in many lights throughout your grounds,
but this not the best approach in most cases. Keep in mind the
general rule that “less is more.” The object is to have a tastefully
lit landscape at night that accents and highlights selected features
- not a garish light show
that calls attention to the light source itself.
For the best lighting results, use light sparingly in strategically placed locations.
Watch out for the dreaded “runway” effect that occurs by placing too many lights along walkways, driveways, and
One common landscape lighting method is
To achieve an uplighting effect, a fixture such
as a bullet or ground mounted well type light is projected upward to focus light on specific objects and plants in
the landscape area. Objects that can benefit from uplighting include trees, arbors, gazebos, shrubs, and other
plants that stand above the general landscaping plane.
For example, you can place a light behind a large shrub to highlight the branches for a
dramatic illuminating effect. Put lights within groups of shrubs. Highlight ornamental grasses such as pampas or
Another great outdoor lighting idea is to uplight your
water fountains, ponds, and other water features by placing submergible lights in the water. Use colored lights to
provide a unique accent to your water feature.
Use your imagination for any number of other ways you can use uplighting to illuminate
Downlighting is a lighting technique that
can create unique and dramatic lighting effects.
Place a spotlight or floodlight in a tree, on a pole, or a wall, and project the beam of light downward to
simulate natural light in a moonlight type of effect. Use downlighting to illuminate areas such as pedestrian
paths, flower beds, entry doors, handrails, fences, garage doors, or driveways. Shield or hide the light
fixtures from view so the observer cannot see the light source.
In addition, downlighting can also be used to
provide general area lighting for safety and security. These are just a few ideas
you can use for downlighting. Use your creative imagination to think of other ways you can use downlighting in your
Backlighting or silhouette
lighting is a technique that utilizes wash light fixtures to illuminate a background such as a
Light fixtures are placed between the wall and another object, which
causes the object in front of the lighting to appear as a dark shape or silhouette. You can use backlighting to
highlight architectural features such as walls, trellises, columns, doorways, or arches. Place the light below the
feature to flood it with light in the evening.
You can also use lights at the base of columns, fence posts, corners buildings, gazebo,
pergola or other landscape features.
Shadow lighting, or
shadowing, is an aptly named lighting technique that creates an eye-catching shadow
technique utilizes a bullet or a well light fixture in front of an object to cast a shadow of the object onto a
wall or side of a building or other structure. Shadow
lighting is often most effective when there is a large, open area behind
the object you wish to light.
Placing the light closer to the object
increases the throw of the shadow pattern; moving the light further back
decreases the shadow's throw.
Path or walkway lighting adds a measure of aesthetic appeal and safety to your
The path lighting technique uses taller path or spread light fixtures to create pools of
light along a walkway or in garden beds. An illuminated path highlights its immediate surroundings, like
planters of flowers, decorative shrubs or trees.
an attractive landscape lighting effect that can greatly enhance your landscape at
The object of moon lighting is to create a gentle moon glow type of
lighting effect on the flowers, trees, walls walkways and other features. To achieve the moonlighting effect,
conceal the light source behind shrubs, tree branches or other foliage. The lighting fixtures should essentially
disappear when you turn the lights on, unless the light fixture is a decorative element in
Place a light fixture on a tree or shrub high above the
ground, and then aimed down to simulate the light of the moon gently filtering through the
branches. With the use of mature trees, one can add
this type of moonlight illumination from above to different areas of the landscape to great
Spotlights are also an excellent type of
landscape lighting technique that can greatly enhance the overall look of the outdoor
Landscape spotlights are often staked in the ground and are used for
highlighting, spotlighting, shadowing and uplighting purposes. Use spotlights to throw light onto the house, a
wall, or other prominence, as well as through the trees and other higher features in the garden. Place the light in
a position that shines fully on the focal point and minimizes glare and wash-out effect.
You may want to try different colored filters with the spotlights, as they can make a big
difference in the way that everything looks. Colors such as blue, yellow and red can go far in bringing out the
natural color of plant foliage, hidden characteristics of wood in tree trunks, branches and limbs, and other things
you want to highlight.
Floodlights are similar to spotlights, but
project a wider beam, which makes them perfect for projecting a broad, even spread of lighting across a wide
Exterior floodlights are commonly placed above garage doors, sheds,
patios and entryways. Floodlights can be used to light up a deck, work site, play area, or to highlight a unique
feature of your landscape or home.
Floodlights can also serve as security lights to increase the safety and security of your
home. This can be done in a couple of ways:
1. By using motion sensors that turn them on when someone passes in front of the
2. By using an interior switch that can turn on the floodlights when needed.
Types of Lighting Fixtures
Landscape lighting fixtures are available in many different shapes,
colors, and finishes, perfect for just about any type of landscape theme you may have. For a quick solution, you
can even buy landscape lighting kits with all of the components ready to install in a pre-assembled
Lights generally come in low voltage (12v), or high or line voltage (120v) configurations.
Low voltage lighting systems require a transformer to
convert the electricity from 120 volts to 12 volts, and are generally safe and easily installed by the average
homeowner. High voltage lighting on the other hand, uses
regular household line level current, which is potentially hazardous for the novice, and should be installed by a
licensed lighting professional or electrician.
Here are some of the basic types of lamps commonly used to illuminate outdoor
Bullet lights are ground or surface mounted fixtures that are often in flower and shrub
beds. They are easy to position and aim at selected objects, which makes them useful for lighting techniques such
as uplighting, downlighting, backlighting, and shadowing.
You Can Find More Bullet Lights Here
Well Lights, also known as inground or recessed lights, are buried in lawns or other ground
areas where recessed lighting is desired. Well lights are typically used for
uplighting selected objects, backlighting effects, and wall
Browse Our Selection of Well Lights Here
Path Lights or Walkway Lights, are ground mounted fixtures that are used to provide safety
path lighting along walkways and paths, and to highlight annual color and specimen plants in
flower beds. The size of the fixtures needs to be in proportion to the plants surrounding the lights. The spread of
the light is dependent on the height of the fixtures.
Browse Our Selection of Path Lights Here
Wall Wash Lights
Wash Lights are ground mounted fixtures that shine light in a wide spread. Wash light
fixtures are ideal for lighting walls, signs and other flat surfaces, and can be used for both
backlighting and shadowing effects.
Browse Our Selection of Wall Wash Lights Here
Be sure to check out this huge selection of Landscape Lights for your
landscaping (All products fulfilled by Amazon.com)