Some Common Lighting Techniques for your garden or backyard

Some Common Lighting Techniques that you must know to illuminate your garden or backyard:


Uplighting TreeOne common landscape lighting method is uplighting. To achieve an uplighting effect, a fixture such as a bullet or ground mounted well type light is projected upward to focus light on specific objects and plants in the landscape area. Objects that can benefit from uplighting include trees, arbors, gazebos, shrubs, and other plants that stand above the general landscaping plant.

For example, you can place a light behind a large shrub to highlight the branches for a dramatic illuminating effect. Put lights within groups of shrubs. Highlight ornamental grasses such as pampas or zebra grass.

Another great landscape lighting idea is to uplight your water fountains, ponds, and other water features by placing submergible lights in the water. Use colored lights to provide a unique accent to your water feature.

Use your imagination for any number of other ways you can use uplighting to illuminate your landscaping.


Downlighting TreeDownlighting is a lighting technique that can create several different lighting effects.

For example, placing light fixtures low on the trees creates a “spread lighting” or “path lighting” effect that is perfect for illuminating pedestrian paths and walkways. Lights that are placed higher in trees can be directed downwards to illuminate general landscape areas in a “moonlight” type of effect.

Another way to downlight your outside areas is to place a light on a post, wall, or ceiling to illuminate things such as flower bed borders, entry doors, handrails, fences, garage doors or driveways. Downlighting can also be used to provide general area lighting for safety and security.

These are just a few ideas you can use for downlighting. Use your creative imagination to think of other ways you can use downlighting in your landscape area.

Backlighting/Silhouette Lighting

Backlighting or silhouette lighting is a technique that utilizes wash light fixtures to illuminate a background such as a wall.

Light fixtures are placed between the wall and another object, which causes the object in front of the lighting to appear as a dark shape or silhouette. You can use backlighting to highlight architectural features such as Walls, trellises, columns, doorways, or arches. Place the light below the feature to flood it with light in the evening.

You can also Use lights at the base of columns, fence posts, corners buildings, gazebo, pergola or other landscape features.
Shadow Lighting

Shadow LightingShadow lighting, or shadowing, is an aptly named lighting technique that creates an eye-catching shadow effect.

This technique utilizes a bullet or a well light fixture in front of an object to cast a shadow of the object onto a wall or side of a building or other structure. Shadow lighting is often most effective when there is a large, open area behind the object you wish to light.

Placing the light closer to the object increases the throw of the shadow pattern; moving the light further back decreases the shadow’s throw.

Path Lighting

Path or walkway lighting adds a measure of aesthetic appeal and safety to your landscaping. The path lighting technique uses taller path or spread light fixtures to create pools of light along a walkway or in garden beds. An illuminated path highlights its immediate surroundings, like planters of flowers, decorative shrubs or trees.

Moon Lighting

Moonlighting is an attractive landscape lighting effect that can greatly enhance your landscape at night. To achieve the moonlighting effect, a light fixture is placed on a tree or shrub high above the ground, and then aimed down to simulate the light of the moon gently filtering through the branches.  With the use of mature trees, one can add this type of moonlight illumination from above to different areas of the landscape to great effect.


Spotlighting for LandscapeSpotlights are also an excellent type of landscape lighting technique that can greatly enhance the overall look of the outdoor area.

Landscape spotlights are often staked in the ground and are used for highlighting, spotlighting, shadowing and uplighting purposes. Use spotlights to throw light onto the house, a wall, or other prominence, as well as through the trees and other higher features in the garden. Place the light in a position that shines fully on the focal point and minimizes glare and wash-out effect.

You may want to try different colored filters with the spotlights, as they can make a big difference in the way that everything looks. Colors such as blue, yellow and red can go far in bringing out the natural color of plant foliage, hidden characteristics of wood in tree trunks, branches and limbs, and other things you want to highlight.

Flood lighting

Floodlights are similar to spotlights, but project a wider beam, which makes them perfect for projecting a broad, even spread of lighting across a wide area.

Exterior floodlights are commonly placed above garage doors, sheds, patios and entryways. Floodlights can be effectively used to light up a work or play area, or highlight a unique feature of your landscape or home.

Floodlights can also serve as security lights to increase the safety and security of your home. This can be done in a couple of ways: 1. By using motion sensors that turn them on when someone passes in front of the sensor.  2. By using an interior switch that can turn on the floodlights when needed.

Types of Lighting Fixtures

Landscape lighting fixtures are available in many different shapes, colors, and finishes, perfect for just about any type of landscaping theme you may have. Here are some of the basic types of landscape lighting fixtures used for common lighting techniques:


Bullet lights are ground or surface mounted fixtures that are often in flower and shrub beds. They are easy to position and aim at selected objects, which makes them useful for lighting techniques such as uplighting, downlighting, backlighting, and shadowing.


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