Landscape Lighting Ideas For Beauty and Function


There are many different types of landscape lighting ideas that can be used for a successful design. Each serve a specific purpose.


Some are simply functional and light the way. Special outdoor accent lighting can cast light on plants, special garden features or exciting focal points.

Outdoor house lighting can artistically light up your home and show off its beauty.

Landscape lighting should not only create a lovely ambiance, but it should also function for safety.



There are various types of landscape lighting fixtures and types of lighting to consider.

Path Lights

Use can use path lights to light up walkways. Typically, fixtures will provide about a 10 foot diameter of light. Therefore, fixtures


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would be placed 10' apart on center, or just a little closer so the edges of light overlap slightly.

If doing this yourself, it is important to find out the exact amount of light produced by the fixtures you are considering. This way you won't make a mistake by placing the lights too far apart.

Path lights come in various heights. I like the shorter ones because they blend in more easily with the landscape. However, the shorter ones often provide smaller areas of light, and thus more fixtures are needed. So I try to find a happy medium.

When using path lights, try to alternate and stagger their placement on either side of the walkway so that a "runway" effect is not created.

Path lights should be placed in planting beds. If placed in lawn, they are too obvious and also may be hit by the lawn mower. Both the lighting and the fixtures should be subtle.

Up Lights

These types of lighting fixtures create beautiful lighting on ornamental trees, lighting the trunks, branches, flowers, and leaves. Depending on how "showy" you want the tree and lighting to be, use either two or three lights per tree.

If one tree is by itself in your design, you may like it a little brighter. However, if there is a group of three trees, you can use less per tree.

Outdoor Accent Lighting

These lights are similar to up lighting but are typically used to accent a special garden feature, such as a sculpture, pond, outdoor pergola, gazebo, fountain, etc. Any of these garden elements look special when lit up at night. Consider this type of accenting in some of your landscape lighting ideas.

Down Lighting

Down lighting or "moon" lighting is usually placed up high in large trees. Light is cast downward ...creating "moonlight". This lighting can be beautiful. The light it creates can also become part of the light needed at night in a functional way. However, be aware of the fact that you will have to get up in that tree to change the bulb!

Outdoor House Lighting

This type of landscape lighting is used to cast light on a residence or other building. This is mostly aesthetic. It should not be overdone.

Post Lights

Post lights typically use 120v and provide more light than many of the other types of fixtures. Gas light fixtures are becoming popular again. They are quite charming. Please visit my page where you can read about the outdoor gas light.

Here are some professional landscape lighting ideas to create a beautiful design:

  1. Balance the lighting throughout the property. Provide some light on both the right and left sides of the house and property for balance.
  2. Consider including some up lighting/moon lighting if you have a large tree.
  3. If there is an ornamental tree near the front door, uplight it.
  4. You now have landscape lighting in three sections of your property. This is a nice balance.
  5. For the walkway, lighting is placed at intervals to give enough light.
  6. If there is an area where there is no planting bed and it is a spot where a lighting fixture is desired, create at least a small planting bed specifically for the lights.



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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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