As the spring approaches, there will be more and more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Luckily, with high-quality and well-designed outdoor lighting, you can illuminate your home, wow your guests, and increase your family’s safety and security.
While there are many ways to design outdoor lighting, some lighting designs and strategies are timeless. Learn how to create landscape lighting that lasts with these tips and tricks.
When you are ready for a professionally designed and maintained lighting system, contact one of our certified lighting experts in your area.
Where to Light?
First, you want to design your lighting layout. Take a look at your yard from the outside and determine where you want more light. Creating a detailed sketch of your property can help.
The only difference between landscape lighting and security lighting is the focus. Perfect outdoor lighting should combine the practicality of security lighting with the beauty of landscape lighting, such as moon lighting.
In order to plan your outdoor lighting project, go outside and observe your landscape. Look for the following areas that deserve proper lighting:
Pathways: It’s very important to have well-lit pathways so you can see where you are going and also who may be coming toward your home.
Doorways: Doorways can be notoriously shadowy, so it’s important to have them well-lit. No more struggling with keys late at night.
Ledges and Stairways: Under-ledge lighting and steps is not only attractive, it also allows you to see these features at night, which can be particularly helpful when it comes to stairs. Step lighting can be used to illuminate individual steps or a group of steps, making climbing and descending staircases a lot safer.
Mix High Mounts with Low Mounts: Not all lighting should be mounted high; some lights, particularly motion lighting, should be placed at the mid-point of your building and on the ground for sufficient illumination.
Moon Lighting from Trees: If your property has trees, create the illusion of moonlight by shining lights down from the higher tree branches. Although mostly atmospheric, moon lighting can also bring much wanted light to a dark area. You can also create a stunning uplighting effect by placing fixtures at the base of trunks pointing up.
Walls: Wall wash lighting (aka grazing) is designed to softly illuminate the textures of walls and other surfaces, such as fences, stone, and masonry. If there is a tree, fountain, or other feature nearby, you can use shadowing to create a beautiful silhouette of the object against the wall, creating a beautiful, new focal point.
Large Areas: Area lighting is used to illuminate a large area without focusing on any specific feature.
Pools and Ponds: Consider adding underwater light fixtures to create a beautiful aqueous glow.
Architectural and Landscape Features: Create dramatic effects by placing ground-level lights at the base of your favorite architectural and/or landscape features. Spot lighting sends a narrow beam of light towards a specific object, such as a flag, statue, fountain, or other landscape feature. You can also use the silhouetting technique by using backlighting behind an object or architectural detail.
Landscape Lighting Types
Uplighting: Lights are placed low to the ground or below ground to create a dramatic uplighting effect, best for architectural elements and trees.
Downlighting/Moonlighting: Lights are place high in trees to create a more ambient, moonlighting effect, although there are narrow-angle fixtures available to focus light down on a specific point.
Grazing: Using spotlights or wall wash lights, you can angle the fixture upward to create a “grazing” effect on walls, fences, and other interesting textures.
Shadowing: Create new interesting focal points by positioning a spotlight below and in front of a plant, statue, or other object. This will throw a beautiful shadow onto a nearby wall.
Accent Lighting: Shine a narrow beam of light onto a specific area, such as a mailbox, house numbers, or other useful or interesting focal point.
Path Lighting: Whether you are using low-voltage, tier, dome, or bollard lights, pathway lighting is essential for creating a safe walkway.
Deck and Step Lighting: Soft, downcast lighting near pergolas, stairs, railings, and decks provides easy navigation and beautiful background lighting.
Learn more landscape lighting terms and definitions.
Functionality + Beauty
As William Morris wisely said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
To help you accomplish the perfect mixture of functionality and beauty:
- Think about the most important areas to you. Not only does this include the areas you want to sit and hang out in, but also the unique features of your property that you wish to highlight and enjoy more of.
- Think about the effects you want, not the fixtures. A trained and certified electrician will be able to choose the right lights to accomplish the desired effect. That is what they are paid for. Your job is to think about the area you want illuminated and how it should look. For the most part, all of your outdoor lighting fixtures will be hidden (as much as possible), so it’s best to think about the effects rather than the fixtures themselves.
- Think about light output and consistency. There shouldn’t be any obvious light or dark spots around your home. To ensure that your outdoor lighting is consistent and harmonious, it’s important to use high-quality lights that provide reliable light levels and patterns.
Complimentary Outdoor Lighting Demonstration
Choosing a professional landscape lighting company can be a difficult decision. It’s hard to know what your home will truly look like with all these lighting changes.
Before you commit to an expensive landscape lighting project, contact The Perfect Light for your free lighting consultation and demonstration. We can temporarily set up landscape lighting options to ensure you have the perfect design for your home.
After demonstrating different options, our expert lighting architects will design a custom landscape lighting plan for your property.
Whether you need Christmas lighting, event lighting, or security lighting, contact The Perfect Light for a free lighting design consultation. We handle everything from design and installation to regular maintenance and take-downs.