Enhance Your Landscape Lighting

8 Unique Lighting Ideas To Enhance Your Landscape Lighting

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

One of the things homeowners should prioritize when designing their homes is the lighting. Installing your lighting fixtures in the right places will illuminate a beautiful façade and yard landscape come nightfall. Excellent illumination gives life and beauty even to the simplest, smallest homes.

Instead of settling for run-of-the-mill lamps positioned in random spots in your yard, try some attractive outdoor lighting designs. They can be an excellent way to turn your modest home into a magical wonderland, causing passers-by to stop to take a second look.

If you’re hoping to upgrade your home’s landscape lighting in different ways, check out these ideas you can implement:

1. Spot Lighting

This is also known as landscape lighting or up-lighting. Most people install these lights under trees, plant pots, and other landscape features. They’re perfect for showcasing the accessories and ornaments on your lawn. Therefore, try the spot lighting technique if you have something in your backyard you’d like to shine an upwards light on.

Bullet-shaped lights are excellent for tall garden features like topiaries and trees. The beams from these fixtures are long and often adjustable to your desired angle. They’ll add more height to these decorations. On the other hand, use well lights for short objects like shrubbery, small stone formations, and statuettes. These are round fixtures installed into the ground, which keeps them generally unseen. Only their shorter light beams are visible to illuminate their subjects.

Spot lighting is also a fantastic way to bring light into your living walls. The light beams accentuate your plants and could intensify their colors at night. When up-lighting your living wall, ensure the fixtures are at a decent distance. Avoid installing them too near because they could affect your plants’ growth or too far that your wall won’t receive enough light when it’s dark.

Take note that landscape lighting is slightly more challenging to install than other light fixtures since the lights are on the ground. If you’re not confident installing them yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional home lighting company. The pros will know exactly where and how to put your desired light fixtures and may suggest other lighting techniques to give your home that spark of life.

2. Undercap Lighting

If you have stairs, landings, or pillars in your lawn or backyard, these could benefit from having some undercap lights around. These fixtures, also called bench lights, shine their beams downward to accentuate steps, walls, and other parts of your landscape design. They’re the best way to display the materials the garden features are made of and add more dimension and depth to spaces. 

Aside from the aesthetic element undercap lights provide, they’re also an excellent safety feature. Unlit raised platforms, stairways, and lawn firepits may cause serious injuries, posing a liability risk. But with these light fixtures installed on each step, you can walk through safely without worrying about missing a step or tripping. Mounting them on the lip of your firepit brightens the ground underneath and adds a halo effect around the fire.

3. Wall Lighting

Practical and ambient outdoor wall lighting is a must for any home landscape. Even if you don’t have a huge yard to illuminate, lighting up the walls of your home from the outside is recommended. Having lights on your front porch or patio provides a lovely welcome for guests when they come over for dinner or when you come home from work.

Wall light fixtures come in many forms and varieties like:

  • Traditional wall lanterns
  • Bulkhead lights
  • Barn lights
  • Floodlights

Most homeowners may choose sconces where the bottom of the bulb isn’t covered. When you have these, you can mount them high up on your walls or pillars, so the light shines downward.

However, make sure to pick designs that match the style of your home. Modern and contemporary fixtures may not flatter a Colonial-style house as an old-school wall lantern would. But the decision of form over function is all up to you.

4. Security Lighting

This type of illumination is another wall lighting with a more defined purpose. Security lights have the brightest beams to expose and deter potential robbers from entering your property. It makes would-be trespassers think there’s someone inside since unlighted homes are more prone to break-ins and thievery.

While security lightbulbs tend to be bulky, it isn’t impossible to incorporate them into your landscape’s aesthetics. It’s best to get outdoor floodlights whose light beams are not too harsh like those emitted by regular security bulbs and lamps. As long as the floodlights properly illuminate your main walkway, front porch, or back entrance, they should be fine.

When selecting security lights, consider getting two to three-bulbed ones with passive infrared (PIR) sensors. These fixtures turn on only when people or cars pass close enough. Some are so advanced that they don’t detect animal movement. Or you can pick ones with a timer, so it lights up and turns off at a specified time. Solar-powered versions are also available if you prefer bulbs that don’t run on electricity or batteries.

Installing adequate security lighting on your home’s blind spots is another burglar deterrent. Mount the lights on exterior walls and direct floodlights towards your driveway or the more spacious areas of your property for maximum protection.

5. String Lighting

String lighting often comes in low-voltage bulbs with yellow lights to evoke a warm and casual ambiance when lit up. Some types, like fairy lights, are thin and dainty. When positioned correctly, they can give a magical feel to your garden.

You can use string lights outdoors in many ways since they’re so versatile. Wrap them around trees to emphasize their height. Hang ends from tree to tree to add more lighting to a larger space with less effort. Attach them to eaves and over any outdoor spot in your property meant for leisure activities for a more intimate feel.

You can leave your electric bill worries at the door with string light brands that offer solar-powered, battery-powered, or rechargeable versions. These types do not need plugging into an electrical socket to work, so you don’t have to bring out those bulky extension cords that could ruin your garden’s aesthetics. Waterproof ones also ensure they continue lighting up correctly even when it’s raining.

6. Deck Lighting

Not every home has a deck. But if yours does, you have the opportunity to enhance its beauty with lights. Like undercap lighting, deck lighting prevents accidents and brings attention to your lawn’s best features.

If your deck has a railing, line up string lights along it to frame the shape and add lighting and ambiance that’s perfect for evening drinks. Mount the fixtures near the edge of a raised deck for the lights to protect you and your guests from falling over when it gets too dark outside. Well lights are also a lovely addition to the steps leading to your patio. These fixtures don’t get in the way of foot traffic since they’re supposed to be level with the flat surface.

You could opt for portable light sources like artificial candles and battery-powered lamps and mix and match them to your deck’s other light fixtures to make them more attractive. Place them next to nearby plants and a coffee table to turn your patio into a peaceful garden sanctuary.

7. Path And Driveway Lighting

Your property’s pathway is like a red carpet leading to your home. The same could be said of your driveway. So, it’s vital to light up these areas for easy navigation when the sun sets. Light along your walkways and driveways provides illumination. It also offers security to guests visiting your home since unlit paths typically evoke a sense of danger and the unknown.

Most small spotlights and well lights suit any path or driveway design. However, choose low-voltage ones so you can save on energy costs. But you could also select bollard lights which double as outdoor decorations.

Some lightbulb options even come with stakes that you can easily stick into the ground. Simply install them by lining them up at equal distances along both sides of your path. You may need a measuring stick to help you get the proper measurements.

8. Pool Lighting

Swimming pools are the best places to make use of outdoor lighting. Water is reflective, and if you position your light sources correctly, the water could illuminate a larger area.

Underwater light fixtures are usually fiber optics, halogen, or light-emitting diode (LED) enclosed in waterproof material. When turned on at night, they can turn your pool into another light source, brightening up the place while giving you a mini show of dancing shadow waves against adjacent walls.

If you have an arbor or pergola, don’t forget to mount some lights there, too. Even if you decide not to install any lighting in the pool, the surrounding illumination can give a calming vibe. String lights can also play a role in lighting up your pool. Hang them overhead to have a starry sky at your next pool party, even when it’s a starless night. Use the string lights to highlight the outline of nearby structures or tall plants, which the pool water will reflect.

Conclusion

When picking lights for your home’s landscape, quality is always better than quantity. Too many lights can overwhelm anyone and drown out the features of your yard, while too few won’t illuminate much.

It’s all about proper placement. If you know where to put your lighting and which light sources to use, you can turn your home’s exterior from plain and dismal to lively and spectacular at night.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.