When you think of landscape lighting, what comes to mind? Do you imagine ground lighting, or lanterns lining pathways and walkways? Do you picture the warm glow of lights against the facade of your home, or spotlights brightening your patio?
Those are great ideas, but there is so much that you can do with landscape lighting that it would be a shame to overlook the myriad unique and beautiful ways it can be incorporated into your outdoor space.
These are some of the ways to beautify and brighten your space with lighting so that you can enjoy it all evening – and all year! – long.
1. Light Up Seating Areas
Spotlights can be overwhelming when you want to enjoy a more elegant evening dining or relaxing on your patio, but lighting under seating areas gives you the perfect opportunity to create an ambient glow. If you have bench seating, the underside is the perfect place for lighting. Not only does it delineate the seating area but it adds a cozy glow that lights your space from within.
Even if you don’t have bench seating, you can add lighting to illuminate areas where people can gather without the glare of a stark spotlight or overhead light. Choose wall sconces, lanterns, or other ambient lighting to brighten without blinding.
2. Lighting Pathways And Walkways
Sure, you can line pathways with lighting, but that’s not the only option. Embed lighting into decking or paving stones to create a natural flow from space to space. Embedded lighting also creates a more unique, subtle, and elegant look that will delight guests and family members alike.
When you do line walkways, be sure to place fixtures organically so that lighting becomes part of the surroundings without the “runway” effect that can happen when path lights are placed too regularly. Or choose another unique option like stake lights set at strategic intervals to create a more interesting visual effect.
3. Tree Lighting
Not the Christmas type! More subtle warm white lighting can be incorporated into treetop branches so that it creates a soft moonlight effect, giving you a natural-looking glow even on the cloudiest nights.
Spotlights can be placed at the base of trees shining up for a more dramatic effect. And of course, you can string lights between lower branches – from bold bulbs to charming fairy lights – to create the effects you want to achieve.
4. Underwater Lighting
If you have a pond or waterfall then lighting is a must. Few things are as enchanting as the sparkle of lights on water. But even if you don’t have a pond, lighting can be incorporated into other water features.
Light up a basalt column, a fountain, pondless waterfall, urn, spillway bowl, or whatever feature you may have. For pools and spas, include lighting to extend your nighttime enjoyment. Pools are an especially good location for color changing lights. The subtle shift from blue to orange or red or other colors makes your space that much more fun and visually appealing.
5. Lighting Scattered Throughout Gardens
Don’t limit yourself to border lights and spotlights. Gardens can be one of the most fun places to be creative with lighting. Think beyond symmetry to strategically placed unique fixtures, whether a tall, stately accent light or a whimsical hanging globe. Place several throughout your gardens so they become part of the décor during daylight as well as a source of illumination by night.
There are many types of lights to choose from – ground globes, string lights, hanging lanterns, and plenty more to suit your style.
6. Highlighting A Single Plant Or Tree
One of the more unique ways to include lighting is to highlight a special plant, shrub or tree. Strategically placed spotlights can light a shrub from within, or cast its shadow against a wall.
Remember that when it comes to lighting, part of the fun is playing in the shadows. Even bare winter branches can become something visually compelling when you’ve successfully created pockets of light and dark to highlight the curves, angles and shapes of your planting.
7. Lighting Up Containers
Whether you have raised planting beds, large planters in gardens or on patios, or small containers on a porch or deck, lighting can be incorporated into all of them. Depending on the effect you want to achieve, you can choose string lights, spotlights, and even low profile pole or stake lights.
Container lights work well through warm months to highlight plantings and add ambiance, and are perfect for cold months to add visual interest to winter décor like hay bundles or holly displays.
8. Lighting Embedded In Steps
Whether you have steps leading to your front door, patio steps leading to and from gardens or a pool area, or steps connecting one space to another in your yard, lighting will add beauty, enhance safety, and extend your enjoyment of the space.
Think beyond simple path and edge lighting to lights embedded right within the steps themselves. Lights can be added on the stair riser, or underneath an overhanging lip for a subtle but effective glow.
9. Light Up Gazebos And Other Structures
Whether you have a gazebo, trellis, pergola or other structure, you can create uniquely appealing spaces through the addition of lighting.
Small string lights wound throughout a gazebo and entwined with vines, blooms or other plantings will not only highlight the structure but create a space that you’ll enjoy using during evening hours. Similar lights incorporated into a pergola above a patio can create an atmosphere where you’ll enjoy hours relaxing, dining or entertaining at night.
And don’t forget trellises and retaining walls – any structure in your yard is an opportunity to enhance visual interest and function with a few strategic lighting additions.
10. “Invisible” Lighting
In some instances, the lighting itself becomes a feature, whether you choose a unique fixture or make it the star of the show. But sometimes you want lighting to simply fade into the background and become part of the overall atmosphere. Moonlighting in trees is a good example of this – the lights are there but it’s the effects you notice.
There are other ways to achieve this effect, such as with ground lights embedded in gardens. With careful placement, you’ll never even know the fixtures are there. You will only enjoy the benefits. Some lighting fixtures are designed to blend seamlessly into your garden, like fixtures with faux stone covers. The key is to choose the effect you want to achieve and find the right types of lighting to support it.
There are endless ways to use landscape lighting to brighten up your evening space and add many more hours to your enjoyment each day. For the most beautiful and functional effects, incorporate multiple types of lighting in different outdoor areas around your home.
If you’d like to explore creative ways to use outdoor lighting to make your space more useable and visually stunning, contact us for a consultation. We’ll put together a plan for lighting that will suit your unique lifestyle and needs.