When To Use Landscape Lighting: A Beginner’s Guide

Landscape lighting is a great way to add value to your home, but it’s also one of the most expensive DIY projects around. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide on when and why to use different types of landscape lighting.

5 Tips for Beginners when starting Landscape Lighting
Key Takeaways
– Landscape lighting is an effective way to enhance the beauty, safety, and functionality of your outdoor space.
– Path lights can improve the safety of your yard, especially at night.
– Downlights are ideal for highlighting trees, shrubs, and other features in your landscape.
– Up-lighting can create a dramatic effect by illuminating vertical surfaces such as walls or trellises.
– Moon lighting is a type of lighting that mimics the natural glow of the moon, and it’s perfect for creating a tranquil ambiance.
– Consider installing a timer or using smart lighting systems to automate your landscape lighting.
– LED bulbs are the best option for landscape lighting because they are efficient and long-lasting.
– It’s essential to choose the right transformer for your landscape lighting system.
– Regular maintenance and cleaning can extend the lifespan of your landscape lighting fixtures.

Pathway Lighting

Pathways are a great place to use landscape lighting. They can be used in a variety of ways, from highlighting the entrance to your home and garden, to highlighting landscaped areas.

If you’re looking to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space and impress your neighbors with stunning landscape lighting, we’ve got you covered. Here are our 17 creative ideas for landscape lighting that will transform your yard into a captivating oasis.

Flood Lighting

Floodlights are used to illuminate large areas. Sometimes, you may have an area that is so big that you need more than just a few lights to light up its entirety. Flood lights can be used for this purpose. 

They’re also great for illuminating a tennis court or backyard, as well as the sides of buildings and any other similar objects that require illumination over a wide area.

Floodlights work by projecting light in all directions but they don’t provide the same level of brightness as spotlights do because of their size and shape (they are usually quite large).

Type of Flood LightBrandsDescription
Halogen Flood LightsPhilips, GE, SylvaniaHalogen flood lights are relatively inexpensive and produce bright, warm light. However, they are not as efficient as LED lights and have a shorter lifespan.
LED Flood LightsCree, SANSI, EcosmartLED flood lights are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and emit less heat than halogen flood lights. They are more expensive, but they can save you money in the long run thanks to lower energy bills and maintenance costs.
Solar Flood LightsRing, Sunforce, LitomSolar flood lights are eco-friendly and require no electricity. They are easy to install and ideal for remote areas. However, they rely on the sun to recharge and may not be as dependable as other options.
Smart Flood LightsPhilips Hue, Sengled, LIFXSmart flood lights can be controlled from your smartphone, smart speaker, or home assistant. They offer a range of features, from voice control to color-changing bulbs. However, they are generally more expensive and require a smart hub or bridge.

Note: The table above provides a limited example of flood lighting options available in the market and is not an exhaustive list. It is essential to research and evaluate your specific lighting needs and requirements before making a purchase decision.

Spot Lighting

Spot lighting is when you want to highlight a specific feature of your yard. This can be anything from a tree, to your favorite flower bed. 

With spot lighting, you will be using lights that are pointed at one area and illuminating it from all angles.

Spotlighting is best used for highlighting features such as trees or flowers beds.

Landscape lighting can drastically transform the look of your outdoor space, even at night. With our ultimate guide to landscape lighting, you can learn how to light up pathways, highlight features, and choose the best lighting fixtures that match your landscape design.

Silhouette Lighting

Silhouette lighting is a great way to add interest and drama to your landscape. Use it to create a focal point or highlight an existing structure, tree or view.

Create a focal point: Silhouette lighting can be used as an accent in the overall design of your landscape. For example, you could use silhouette lighting under trees that have fallen over in an otherwise open space.

This will give them back some context and highlight their unique form while also creating interest in this area of the garden because they aren’t competing with anything else around them for attention like they would if they were still standing upright but not illuminated by any light source.”

Highlight a structure or tree: You can also use silhouette lighting to emphasize the shape of certain structures such as gates or walls that may otherwise be lost within the overwhelming backdrop of greenery surrounding them during certain times of day when no direct sunlight hits them directly (such as early morning). 

This technique also works well with trees; silhouetting one against another creates depth which helps give both plants more importance when viewed from afar.”

Shadow Lighting

Shadow lighting is a technique used to highlight the shape of a plant or tree. It’s also sometimes called silhouette lighting. 

Shadow lighting can be used to make a plant or tree look taller or more slender, depending on the position of the lights and their distance from your subject.

Shadow light sources should be behind your subject, not in front of them (unless you’re going for an eerie effect). This will ensure that they don’t cast shadows onto themselves!

The right landscape lighting can add safety, security, and beauty to your home’s exterior. In our 15 tips for choosing the best landscape lighting, we’ll cover everything from deciding on the purpose of lighting to choosing the right brightness settings, so you can make the most out of your investment.

Backlight, Uplighting & Downlighting


Backlighting, also known as rim lighting, is a technique used to illuminate the dark side of a subject. It’s usually used to add depth and dimension to your subject by creating shadows and highlights.


Uplighting is another great way to add depth and dimension to your subject. The light source is placed below (or above) the subject and aimed up at them so that it has more impact on their face than the background. 

This creates a very dramatic effect! If you want something more subtle you can use downlighting instead of uplighting by placing lights behind your subjects instead of underneath them (or above).

Lighting TypeDescription
BacklightBacklighting can be used to create a dramatic effect by highlighting the outline of a plant or object against a dark background. It is often used to backlight tall grasses or other ornamental plants in the landscape.
UplightingUplighting highlights features from below and creates a powerful and dramatic effect. Uplights can be used to illuminate architectural features, trees, and other prominent elements in your outdoor space. It is perfect for drawing attention to a centerpiece or creating a focal point.
DownlightingDownlighting is a type of lighting fixture positioned high above the ground to cast light downward. It can be used to highlight walkways or stairwells or create a moonlighting effect by casting light through tree branches and casting shadow patterns onto the ground.

This table provides a breakdown of three types of landscape lighting: backlight, uplighting, and downlighting. Each technique can be used to create a unique ambiance and effect in your garden, depending on where it is applied. By using a combination of different types of lighting, you can create a dynamic and beautiful outdoor space.

Grazing, Silhouette, & Framing Lighting

Grazing Lighting

Grazing lighting is when the light is low and flat, like a sunset or sunrise. It’s a good option for lighting trees in your yard or creating a sense of drama by accentuating the details on your home. Silhouette Lighting

Silhouette lighting can make any landscape pop! This type of light creates shadows which bring attention to your plants, people and pets. Framing Lighting

When using framing lighting, you want the light to be high and directional so that it draws attention to an important feature in your yard such as a focal point or art piece.

Did you know that adding landscape lighting can also increase the value of your home? In fact, it has several other benefits that you may not have considered. Check out our 10 surprising benefits of landscape lighting to learn how outdoor lighting can improve your home’s security, create ambiance, and save energy.

Shadow, Backlight & Uplight Lighting

Shadow is a very common technique used in photography to create depth and add dimension to your shots. It can be achieved by using either natural or artificial light sources. If you want your subject to stand out from the background, use shadow lighting so that it appears as if there is no background at all!

Backlighting is another popular lighting technique for photographers who are looking for something different than their standard portrait shots. 

This type of photo uses strong backlighting which helps illuminate and showcase your subject while making sure they don’t appear washed out or overexposed on film.

Uplight also offers an interesting effect when photographing people because it gives off an angelic glow around them while still being able to see other parts of the scene such as their clothing and hair color choices clearly without having any kind of distraction happening within those areas (which happens often when trying ).

Lighting TypeDescription
ShadowCasting an object or surface in shadow can create a sense of depth and contrast in your garden. Shadow lighting fixtures are typically placed behind trees or tall plantings to cast silhouettes on nearby surfaces.
BacklightBacklighting can create a dramatic effect by highlighting the outline of a plant or other feature against a dark backdrop. It is often used to backlight tall grasses or other ornamental plants in the landscape.
UplightUplighting highlights objects from below and creates a powerful and dramatic effect. Uplights can be used to illuminate architectural features, trees, and other prominent elements in your outdoor space.

This table breaks down three additional types of landscape lighting: shadow, backlight, and uplight. Each of these lighting techniques can be used to create a distinct effect in your garden, and by choosing the right lighting type for each area, you can create a stunning and functional outdoor space.

Shadow, Wash & Uplight Lighting

Shadow, Wash and Uplight Lighting. Shadow, wash and uplight lighting are all used to enhance the overall feel of a space. 

This can be done by adding dimensionality to a room, creating an open feeling in a room or highlighting objects or areas within your space.

Outdoor living spaces are perfect for entertaining and unwinding, but poor lighting can ruin their beauty and functionality. Try implementing our landscape lighting ideas to create a cozy atmosphere and make the most of your outdoor time, even after dark.


Moonlighting is a good way to create a romantic atmosphere. It’s also more subtle than other types of lighting, so it won’t distract from your landscape design. 

Moonlighting can be used to highlight trees and plants in your garden, or it can simply add some subtle accent lighting that creates an intimate ambiance. The effect is similar to leaving the lights on all night in your home—it makes you feel safe and secure outside as well!

Pathways, Spotlight, & Wash lighting

Pathway Lighting: This type of lighting is used to illuminate walkways and stairs. It can help guide you and your guests to the front door, or it can simply brighten up a path so that you don’t stub your toe on an unseen tree root.

Spotlight Lighting: Spotlights are useful for highlighting trees, plants, sculptures or other features in your garden that you want to draw attention towards with their beauty. 

Lighting TypeDescription
PathwaysLighting fixtures that are mounted low to the ground and illuminate walkways and driveways.
SpotlightA type of lighting that can be used to highlight specific features in the landscape, such as trees and bushes.
WashA soft ambient lighting technique that is used to illuminate large areas evenly, such as walls or fences, to create a warm glow.

This table provides a breakdown of the three main types of landscape lighting: pathways, spotlights, and wash lighting. By choosing the right lighting type for each area, you can create a stunning and functional outdoor space.


Lighting your landscape can be a great way to add style, warmth and security to your outdoor space. We hope this guide has been helpful in showing you the different types of lighting available for use in your garden. 

If you have any questions about choosing the right type or style, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We love helping customers find exactly what they need.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about landscape lighting, here are some helpful resources to check out:

Beginner’s Guide to Landscape Lighting: A comprehensive guide that covers everything from the benefits of landscape lighting to choosing the right fixtures for your yard.

Landscape Lighting Dos and Don’ts: Tips and tricks from experts to help you avoid common mistakes and get the most out of your landscape lighting.

All About Landscape Lighting: This Old House provides an in-depth look at landscape lighting, including design ideas, installation tips, and maintenance.


What kind of bulbs are best for landscape lighting?

LED bulbs are the most popular choice for landscape lighting because they are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and emit less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs.

How do I determine the placement of landscape lighting fixtures?

The placement of landscape lighting fixtures depends on the purpose and function of lighting. You can highlight the features of your landscape by placing lights in key areas across the yard or installing path lights along walkways.

How do I choose the right transformer for my landscape lighting?

To choose the right transformer for your landscape lighting, you’ll need to determine the total wattage required for all the lights in your system. Then, select a transformer that can handle a slightly higher wattage to provide some wiggle room.

How do I maintain my landscape lighting fixtures?

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your landscape lighting fixtures are essential to their longevity. Clean the lenses and fixtures periodically, check for loose or damaged wires, and replace bulbs as needed.

Can I install landscape lighting myself, or should I hire a professional?

Installing landscape lighting can be a DIY project for those who are handy and up for the challenge. However, if you’re not accustomed to working with electricity, it may be best to hire a professional to ensure safety and proper installation.