6 Practical Landscape Lighting Tips

landscape lighting tips

Looking to showcase the hard work you’ve put into your home, yard, and outdoor space? If you have a property you’re proud of, don’t let your efforts disappear every night after the sun goes down. Quality landscape lighting highlights the special characteristics of your property, including architectural details, landscaping features, and more.

While it’s easy enough to buy a few floodlights and stick them out in the yard, you’ll get better results if you consider the placement of fixtures and how they can best showcase your property.

6 Practical Landscape Lighting Tips and Ideas

Here are six tried and true landscape lighting design tips that will enhance the look and feel of a well-manicured property after dark.

1. Downlighting trees for depth and dynamic perspective

Downlighting is an attractive lighting strategy that can create unique visual effects. The downlighting technique works well for outdoor seating areas such as over a deck or patio, providing overhead illumination as you eat, drink, entertain or lounge in your outdoor space.

Downlighting is also highly effective in a landscape, particularly in tall trees. Place fixtures in tall trees and angle the light downward to cast a dappled “moonlight” effect on the ground. It adds visual interest by highlighting the unique texture of trees and other foliage.

2. Hardscaped well lighting, to improve accessibility

Well, fixtures fit seamlessly into hardscape elements. They’re recessed into paved areas including paths, patios, and stairways, so you’ll always have illumination underfoot—but you’ll never trip over it. They’re perfect for high-traffic areas of your property, especially outdoor living spaces.

You can also use hardscaped good lighting in an uplighting strategy, highlighting trees and foliage or for wall-washing to give walls, fences, and other architectural features a beautiful glow. Because these lights are “hidden” below the grade of wherever they’re placed, it’s easy to make a statement with light that’s unmarred by a fixture that gives away the magic of the ambiance.

3. Post and pipe perimeter security lighting

A layered lighting scheme can include perimeter security lighting, like post and pipe perimeter lighting fixtures, to help you see the outer reaches of your property. Many professional landscape lighting designers install post and pipe lights along fence rows. These fixtures cast light downward for an inviting glow, to help property owners maintain a line of sight along the entire perimeter of the property. 

A quality perimeter lighting system gives no place for would-be intruders (of the human or animal variety) a place to hide. Moreover, it’ll also bathe the entire property in a warm, cozy glow. It’s a stunning addition to large, sprawling properties with all types of fencing, and can create a sense of depth even on the darkest nights.

4. Market (string) lighting for outdoor living

String lights, or café-style lights, are an excellent addition to any outdoor living space. They offer instant ambiance, warmth, and charm. They’re very flexible and perfect for a variety of outdoor settings, and add a soft glow overhead that can turn any deck or patio into a beautiful party-ready spot.

If you have perfectly positioned trees, fences or any other outdoor structure like a pergola or trellis, installation is simple. Otherwise, all it takes is a few posts or poles and you’ll have a great setup to string these charming lights.

Other than lighting up decks or patios, string lights are perfect for providing overhead illumination over paths and walkways, to help everyone safely navigate the grounds after dark.

5. Water feature and pool lights deliver maximum appeal

From fountains to ponds, pools to waterfalls, water features look beautiful in the daytime—but can take on a stunning, mystical look after dark when lit properly. Carefully placed floodlights or spotlights can highlight a striking fountain, while bright, underwater recessed lighting can accentuate a pool. If you want to get bold and innovative when lighting water features, add color LED lighting to transport yourself into a fantasy world of your own creation.

Truly, there is an infinite number of ways to light a water feature. Some other great landscape lighting ideas include:

  • Downlighting: Cast light down on a pond or large fountain to create a beautiful glow over the surface of the water. Use cooler lights and angle the light for maximum effect.
  • Uplighting: This effect is great for waterfalls, improving visibility while diffusing the light for a special touch. Used colored lights for extra appeal.
  • Spotlights: Place spotlights high and way from water features, keeping the fixture hidden while drawing all attention to the water.
  • Submersible Lights: These lights need to be very bright to be effective. Choose solid brass or other corrosion-resistant fixtures for durability as well as aesthetic appeal.

6. Garden lights illuminate the property’s stunning foliage

In the garden, broadcast lights offer a world of opportunity to highlight the green thumb you’ve been working so hard to cultivate. Broadcast lights are excellent for highlighting interesting shrubbery and foliage at ground level. These fixtures range in height and shape, and some even seem to gracefully grow out of the surrounding foliage!

Broadcast lights provide extensive outward horizontal illumination, bathing low-growing foliage in light that heightens the texture of plants and allows them to remain a focal point even after dark. These lights are also excellent for illuminating paths and walkways, aiding in the safe navigation of your outdoor space.

Professional lighting enhances any property

Properties of all types have unique features that deserve illumination after the sun goes down. From interesting planting groups to sophisticated water features, charming pathways to cozy patios, accentuating every feature with an eye for design enhances the aesthetic appeal of your entire property. More than that, it helps you get full enjoyment from your outdoor space and creates a new pride of ownership that you’ll love to shed light on.

A well-lit landscape is more than bright—it’s tactfully lit. Follow the landscape lighting tips here to create the perfect ambiance on your landscape. And remember, while the placement of fixtures is important, the quality of lights you choose matters, too. Invest in superior low-voltage fixtures to ensure that the results look even better than you imagined.

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