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Enhance Your Gardening & Landscape With Lighting

You’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your gardening and landscape, and as long as there is daylight, everyone is truly impressed. However, as dusk falls and the light fades all of the sweat that you invested disappears into the night.

Adding lighting to your gardening or landscape is a home improvement project that can be undertaken by most individuals with a basic knowledge of electricity.

A complete selection of landscape lighting.

outdoor lighting for gardens and landscapes
Figure 1 - Outdoor lighting used in a landscape

The proper placement and design of outdoor lighting within your gardening or landscape not only shows your efforts when there is no natural sunlight, but it will enhance the features even more.

The purpose of landscape lighting is:

  • Provide safety and security,
  • Enhance the look and appearance of the landscaping.

The purpose of gardening and landscape lighting is not to create daylight.

There are 10 styles or types of landscape lighting:

Down Lighting

  • Placing spot or flood lights in high position on your home or in a tree pointing downward will provide a very soft effect.

Up Lighting

  • Mounting fixtures, spot, flood, or in ground lights on the ground or ground surface pointing upwards will accent a specific object.

Cross Lighting

  • Using spot or flood lights mounted on your home a tree, or fence so that they the light is horizontal will create an array of soft but interesting shadows.


  • Intentionally creating shadows, such as having a tree of shrub appear on a wall, can truly make a wondrous scene. This can be accomplished with the appropriate use of spot, flood and in-ground fixtures.


  • Silhouetting is the technique of placing a spot, flood or in ground light installed behind an object such as a tree or bush.

Spread Lighting

  • Creates a spherical pattern of light and should be used to highlight groups of flowers or shrubs. The best method to accomplish this is to use flood down lighting.

Grazing Light

  • To enhance and display the texture of a tree or shrub, position a spot light so that it just illuminates the outside fringe of the object.

Accent Lighting

  • Provides definition as it is the application of intense light aimed at a specific object, contrasting the lit object against the dark night background. To accomplish accent lighting install spot lights as either cross or up lighting.

Safety Lighting

  • Safety lighting is installed to illuminate paths, walkways and other areas where individuals may be present during dark hours.

Security Lighting

  • Installed to eliminate dark areas around the home where intruders may be able to work cloaked in darkness. The most common type of security lighting employees flood lights that are activated by motion sensors, as shown in Figure 2.
  • Additional information on security lighting.

security light
Figure 2 - Motion detector controlled security flood light.

Successful landscape lighting is not an overly expensive project, if you invest some time in proper planning. There is no end to the selection of outdoor lighting fixtures available.

Outdoor lighting does not have to be electrical. Attractive and interesting light fixtures are available fueled by gas