Where to Place Landscape Lighting

When you home is perfectly landscaped and has various flowers, ornamental plants, and trees nestled throughout your property.  During the day the bright colors, and deep greens, along with the sprawling bushes look great. At night how can you really enjoy and appreciate the beauty that nature has given you?  Landscape lighting is as important and the plants them selves.  Sometimes the summer heat doesn’t allow you to fully enjoy the  gardens, trees, or features during the day.  This is the reason it very important to know where to place landscape lighting in your landscape.

  • Where to place landscape lighting
  • sillhouette lighting up lighting

    Silhouette and Up Lighting

    Adds illuminated contrast to the rest of your space.
  • moonlighting landscape lights


    Top down lighting, placed high with natural lighting effect.
  • wall wash lighting

    Wall Wash Lighting

    Low wattage lights recommended on a wall for a glow effect.
  • shadowing lighting

    Shadowing Lighting

    Creating attractive shadow patterns on a wall
  • down lighting

    Down Lighting

    Similar to moonlighting but brighter and less subtle
  • accent lighting

    Accent Lighting

    Usually angled up or down to draw attention to a specific feature in your landscaping
  • pathway lighting

    Pathway Lighting

    Smaller light fixtures along a pathway, sidewalk or driveway

Where to Begin Lighting Your Landscape

The main thing to consider is what features you have available to you. Some features you may only want to highlight a little, or a large lit area at night for coverage that looks good and provides a sense of security.

landscape lighting tipsMap out your yard first. You can sketch your yard and the outline of your home on paper or use a landscape design app. Using the map, you can decide where lighting is necessary for safety, which features to highlight, and how to balance the spacing of the lights. Explore your lighting fixture options. There are countless landscape lighting fixtures available, so be sure to thoroughly explore your options. You could use entry sconces, recessed lights, path lights, spot lights, flood lights, in-ground lights, pendant lighting, or even moon lights (which mimic the moon’s natural glow).

Be sure to include all features when planning your lighting:

  • Buildings – Single story or high walls might require more or less lighting.  Lighting place could be low towards the ground or high above.
  • Trees and Bushes – Trees with broader canopies might need multiple lights. Shrubs and bushes may only need a section area light.
  • Flower beds – Are great for low voltage lights, that shine enough light to enhance the flowers beautifully.
  • Lawn decorations – Statues, flag poles, bird baths, centerpiece  arrangements.
  • Fences and Pathways – These areas need light to clear a path or highlight a line of flowers along the wall.
  • Patios & Decks – Keep these areas well lit to enjoy some evening reading and create a relaxing mood.
  • Swimming Pools and Ponds – Pool lighting is very important for safety reasons, and well lit ponds allows for a calming place to enjoy watching the fish and enjoy the trickling waterfall.

Landscape Lighting Placement

By varying the distance and angle of the light fixture, you can experiment with different lighting designs for unique landscape architecture goals. For example, trees often need two or more fixtures to provide sufficient illumination.

  • Silhouetting – You can create an illuminated backdrop by placing a spotlight behind the feature, aimed towards an adjacent wall.
  • Shadowing – Lighting aimed towards an adjacent wall to create a softer shadow, and often works best with a tree that has open, delicate foliage.
  • Wall washing – Wall washing creates an even glow that comes off the wall or facade. Place the lighting fixture a few feet away from the feature, and give it a sideways angle.  A wide angle flood lights with low wattage is recommended.
  • Up-lighting – Offering a greater contrast effect than typical wall-washing, spotlight fixtures are placed closer to a building for a bolder effect.
  • Moonlighting – Create moonlighting techniques by placing a large fixture with a full glare guard high up inside a tree, and angled downwards. It causes attractive shadow patterns on the ground to appear, plus it provides a very natural and beautiful lighting effect.
  • Down-lighting –  is similar to the moonlighting technique, although brighter and less subtle.  Setting the light higher if you want to illuminate a large part` of the yard, and lower if you wish to illuminate a path or garden.
  • Accenting – Any lighting that draws special attention to a specific feature is considered accent lighting. Specifically angled up-lighting or down-lighting can be used as accent lighting, to point out an architectural design, plant, or other feature.
  • Path-lighting – Path-lighting is used for placing small fixtures along walkways, driveways, and patios.

Recommended Low Voltage Landscape Lights

A great option for landscape lighting is the from YGS-Tech. They offer a 6 pack of luminaries to enhance your landscape nicely.

5W LED Landscape Lights Combo Set

landscaping lights

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For those of us that want the solar option, Look no further than VicTsing 4 Pack Solar Spotlights.

4 Pack Combo Pack Solar Landscape Lights

landscape lighting solar

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Responsible Outdoor Landscape Lighting

It is possible to over do it, therefore don’t place lights on everything.  Also consider your HOA guidelines and policies, as well as common courtesy for your neighbors when placing lights in your yard. You aren’t trying to mimic daylight, but visually enhance your lawn, garden and trees. Embrace the beauty of the shadows and subtle colors. Consider the indoor experience. When you’re working near windows, point lights away from the house, use softer bulbs, and focus the lights downward. This will prevent the light from glaring indoors and disturbing your family.


4 responses to “Where to Place Landscape Lighting”

  1. Kat Mc cabe says:

    Very helpful, I will keep this in mind next time I’m at OSH. My pool is very poorly lit so I will have to take that into consideration.

  2. Taylor Bishop says:

    Thanks for the interesting article about landscape lighting. I didn’t know that the distance of the light fixture could be an important consideration. I’m kind of interested to learn if you should test with different angles and positions for the lights at night or if you can test it during the day to find an ideal spot. https://marrasdesign.com/arlington-ny-lighting-design/

  3. Millie Hue says:

    Thanks for helping me understand that path-lighting use small light fixtures for the walkways and patios. With that in mind, I will be having this done to our walkway going to the garden since the lighting does not reach that area that much. One time, I even almost got tripped because of how dark it was when there was no moon that night. http://lanelight.com/pathway-lighting/

  4. Dennis Sanchez says:

    The point you brought about exploring your lighting options before choosing what you want was very helpful. I’ve been wanting to add some different lighting onto my porch but I’m not sure what would be good for that. I’m going to keep these tips in mind as I get some opinions from professional designers. https://lvprolighting.com/packages/

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