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How to Use Landscape Lighting to Make Your Outdoor Space Safer and More Beautiful

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Landscape lighting serves two vital purposes: ensuring safety and beautifying your outdoor area. A well-thought-out lighting plan should strike a balance between functionality and visual appeal. In this post, we'll delve into the essentials of outdoor lighting, covering design considerations, common lighting challenges, fixture choices, and best practices for creating an inviting and visually stunning space.


Designing Your Outdoor Lighting Plan

  • Highlighting and Concealing: The key to successful outdoor lighting lies in determining what features to accentuate and what to downplay. Strategically placed lights can transform buildings, trees, and water features into spectacular displays. Experiment with light and shadow to add depth and intrigue to your landscape.

  • Consider the Purpose of Each Area: Walk around your yard, considering the function and desired ambiance of each space. Observe how lighting impacts both the exterior and interior views.

  • Early Planning: Deciding on the purpose of each area early in your project helps in selecting the right fixtures and choosing the optimal color temperature for your lighting system.

Addressing Outdoor Lighting Challenges

  • Avoiding Light Pollution: Properly addressing outdoor lighting issues is crucial for achieving your desired effect without contributing to light pollution. Misdirected lights can cause glare, diminishing visibility and comfort.

  • Simple Solutions:

    1. Aim and position lights precisely.

    2. Use shielded light sources for controlled illumination.

    3. Opt for lower wattage bulbs to prevent excessive brightness.

    4. Implement timers, dimmers, and motion sensors for efficient lighting control.


Selecting and Positioning Landscape Lighting Fixtures

  • Understanding Fixture Types: The variety of outdoor lighting fixtures can be overwhelming for beginners. Understanding the purpose of each type simplifies the selection process.

    • Pathway Lighting: Illuminate paths with post lights, step lights, or lanterns for improved visibility and safety.

    • Entrance Lighting: Enhance your front door with symmetrical post lights. Illuminate side and back entrances as well.

    • Garage Lighting: Combine soft driveway lights with high-mounted floodlights for balanced illumination.

    • Deck Lighting: Install lights along steps, decks, and fences for safety. Consider artistic options like built-in deck lights or wall sconces.

    • Hanging Lights: Utilize chandeliers, lanterns, and pendant lights in sitting areas and patios for added charm.

    • Moon Lights: These larger lights create dramatic effects when used to illuminate tall trees from above.


Dos and Don'ts of Outdoor Lighting

  • Do:

    • Layer your lighting with ambient, task, and accent lights for a balanced and dynamic atmosphere.

    • Ensure adequate lighting intensity and adjust brightness to avoid harsh light and deep shadows.

    • Choose energy-efficient and versatile LED lights.


  • Don't:

    • Overlook the power of variety. Mix different types of lighting to add depth and character.

    • Overuse cool or overly bright lights. Aim for warm lighting (2500K-3000K) for a cozy ambiance.

    • Clutter your space with excessive lighting. Focus on accentuating key features.


Crafting Your Outdoor Lighting Masterpiece


A well-designed landscape lighting scheme enhances both the safety and beauty of your home and garden. By thoughtfully addressing design elements, resolving lighting challenges, selecting appropriate fixtures, and adhering to best practices, you can create a captivating and welcoming outdoor environment.


Illuminate Your Landscape with Expertise


Ready to transform your outdoor space with stunning landscape lighting? Contact us at Exterior Lighting Design to start planning your perfect lighting solution. Our team of experts is ready to guide you through the process, ensuring your outdoor area is both safe and enchanting.

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