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The Ultimate Guide to Landscape Lighting for Your Yard

Adding lighting to your yard can be a tricky process, however this article can help you choose the right type of lighting for your needs.

One of the best ways to add value to your property while making your outdoor space a relaxing place to hang out with friends and family is to install landscape lighting. Landscape lighting improves the visibility of a property at night, especially in areas along a walkway, pathway or entrances to draw attention to certain areas of your yard.

The addition of lighting to your outdoor space will not only improve the look of your property, but it will make your home, lawn and gardens safer and more aesthetically pleasing. Choosing the right kind of lighting for your landscape is important when you want to add value to your property.

Adding lighting to your yard can be a tricky process, however this article can help you choose the right type of lighting for your needs.

Why is landscape lighting important?

Image by Brickworks Building Products via flickr

Adding the right lighting to your landscape creates a welcoming atmosphere and expresses your home’s best features. However, it’s important to know how and what types of landscape lighting to use so that you can avoid common mistakes.

First and foremost, outdoor lighting increases visibility and reduces tripping hazards. When it’s dark outside, cracks, uneven sidewalks, and steps become difficult to see. The right lighting can minimize accidents, and it can also make journeys safer.

Another benefit of outdoor lighting is that it can add drama to your yard and create an upscale look with premium fixtures. Lighting up a single tree or path can make a dramatic difference immediately without having to invest in an entire lighting system at once. This can reduce stress in the process of implementing new exterior lighting. 

The backbone of any landscape lighting plan should be LED technology. Not only do LEDs provide long-term cost savings, but they also require almost zero maintenance. Plus, these energy-efficient lights extend the lifespan of bulbs and use 70 percent less energy than conventional lights. 

If you’re considering a landscape lighting installation, consider hiring a professional landscape lighting company. They have extensive experience in creating ambiances and can keep unhidden costs down. Discuss your ideas with an expert to ensure you’ll get the right look for your property, but don’t forget to include a budget to keep your project on track.

What are the best types of outdoor lighting?

Image by StudioArte via flickr

There are several types of outdoor landscape lighting available, but the type of lighting you choose will depend on the type of landscape you have, the focal point, and where you want to place lighting for a safer environment. 

When choosing a lighting fixture for your landscape, make sure the fixture is sturdy and made of rust-resistant materials such as powder-coated steel or soda lime glass. These types of materials ensure that your lighting fixtures will last for years while resisting outdoor elements. 

Pathway Lighting

Pathway lighting is one of the most important types of outdoor landscape lighting because it provides direction and safety for visitors along hardscape surfaces or steps. This type of lighting can quickly add ambiance to any space, whether it is a backyard patio, front walkway, or even a garden. 


Another popular type of outdoor landscape lighting is uplighting. This type of lighting is ideal for tall objects like trees, architectural features, and garden features. Using these lights is a great way to emphasize shapes and textures of your home or garden while making it look attractive from afar.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a clean way to integrate lighting within your yard by placing these lights directly within hardscapes or an outdoor space. These lights, which are often referred as “puck lights” are perfect along driveways, edges of pathways, or embedded along pavers near the edge of the house to shine upwards.


If you are looking for a clean and minimal look for outdoor landscape lighting, look no further than underlighting. Underlighting is a type of lighting that is mounted under an object to conceal the fixture. The most common underlighting is installed under stone caps located on retaining walls, architectural pillars, or retaining walls. 

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Where to install unique landscape lighting?

Image by StudioArte via flickr

Every yard and project is different, however there are some key indicators where to install unique landscape lighting solutions besides pathways or mounted to your home. The first step to any outdoor lighting project is to consider the ambient light currently present in your yard. 

This light already exists in the nighttime landscape and can come from many sources, including street lights, neighboring lights, interior lights, moonlight, and starlight. Working with what already exists may lead to fewer lights. In fact, less lighting or ambient lighting can be just as effective than an overlit landscape . 

Unique Tree Structures

Trees with unique shapes, textures or canopies can be a great way to make a dramatic impact on your property. However, too much lighting can be distracting to the trees. You can install uplighting fixtures on the tops of trees to create a moonlight effect, or install them away from the plants to illuminate the different shapes of the leaves and branches.

Underwater Lighting

Underwater landscape lighting is a great way to bring water features to life at night. Underwater LED lighting can be wedged beneath large rocks or even covered with gravel. While underwater LED lights are an excellent choice for water gardens and ponds, they can also be used for other applications, including fountains.


Outdoor garden sculptures are a great way to add elegance and interest to your yard. When lighting outdoor sculptures or art, be sure to with lighting that accents 

When to install exterior lighting?

Image by FlamingAlpaca via flickr

Before you begin designing your yard for landscape lighting, and hiring a contractor to install lighting fixtures, make sure you have a power source located with the correct wattage transformer for your outdoor lighting system. Outdoor lighting systems do involve electricity, so consider consulting with an electrician before work begins.

Once you’ve determined where lighting fixtures will be installed, the timing of construction and installation is important. Outdoor lighting systems should not be installed while the ground is frozen or wet as the installation can be messy as trenches must be dug and equipped compacting the soil. 

Landscape lighting is best to be installed during summer and fall seasons as it will help keep your property well-lit during winter months when the summer solstice has ended. Lastly, after installation has completed, it’s best to consider some time altering the lighting at night to make any final adjustments.

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