How To Plan Landscape Lighting: The Dos and Don’ts

Creating the perfect outdoor lighting for your home’s landscaping is an important part of creating a beautiful outdoor living space. Landscape lighting can create a magical ambiance and can highlight the unique features of your outdoor living space. However, planning and installing the right type of lighting can be tricky and time consuming. One way to ensure that your outdoor space is comfortable and inviting is by investing in good quality furniture. If you’re wondering “is Cindy Crawford furniture good quality?”, you may want to read some reviews and testimonials to help you decide.

If you are a beginner then you might be wondering how to plan your landscape lighting in such a way that your electricity consumption remains low, and yet your outdoors stay luminous and look like a scene out of a romantic movie. In order to turn your yard into an enchanted garden, you need to know the dos and don’ts of landscape light.

Let’s have a look on how to plan and install the perfect landscape lighting for your home, and the mistakes to avoid while creating a perfectly dreamy outdoor vibe.

Identify Your Lighting Goals: How to Plan a Perfect Landscape Lighting for Your Outdoors

Before you start planning your landscape lighting, you should determine what you want to achieve with the lighting. Do you want to create an inviting atmosphere for outdoor amusement, or are you looking to add security to your home? Knowing what you want to accomplish with your lighting will help you decide which types of lights to use and where to place them.

We recommend arranging your lighting in such a way that it serves multiple purposes, firstly, it creates a vibrant and luminous atmosphere, and secondly it provides you a sense of security. Furthermore, you should come up with a plan, how do you want your landscape lighting to be?

How to Plan Perfect Landscape Lighting: Make a Proper Plan

Every spot in your house has a distinct meaning. Your landscape lighting depends on a lot of things. Which areas do you want to highlight and where do you want to create shadows? The entire purpose of landscaping is to add beauty and elegance to your outdoors.

Before starting installing or even choosing the landscape lights you need to identify what you want and how you want to light your outdoors. Another factor that must be kept in mind is the size of your porch or garden.

Your landscape lighting should have a theme that pulls everything together and creates a coherent atmosphere. Therefore, instead of creating a haphazard plan you must come up with a unique plan that complements your outdoors.

Choose the Right Lights

Once you know what you want to accomplish with your landscape lighting, it’s time to choose the right lights for your patio and garden. One way to reduce electricity consumption for outdoor lights is to get your solar panels and maximize energy efficiency using renewable energy to reduce the environmental impact simultaneously. There are many different types of outdoor lighting available, from LED spotlights to solar-powered path lights.

You can use big and bright spot lights for areas where you need security, whereas, for the other spots use soft solar light stakes. These are beautiful, dreamy lights that light your walkways, birdhouses, trees and other nooks and corners of your outdoors.

Design Landscape by Focusing on Light Instead of Fixtures

When you are planning landscape lighting you must focus on how the light will look and reflect on the garden. Fixtures can be installed later as per your planned design, however, if the light is installed after planting fixtures it might not give desired results. It might create shadows where light is needed or illuminate the areas that might want to keep warm and shaded.

Therefore, your focus needs to be on how best to use your landscape lighting. While the focus on fixtures is understandable, the preference should be given to the corners, spots or objects that you want to illuminate. Once you decide the focus of illumination, the fixtures can be adjusted accordingly. There are some amazing solar stake lights; these lights come with adjustable brightness and ambient glow. You can place them in different angles, filling up vacant spaces and creating enchanting warm glowing lights.

Plan Your Layout

Once you have chosen the right lights, it’s time to plan the layout of your outdoor space. Think about where you want to place the lights, how bright you want the lights to be, and how far apart you want them to be spaced. Also, consider any obstructions or potential hazards that may be in the way, such as trees or shrubs.

Remember that not everything needs to be lit, instead you should choose particular spots and focus on them. Plan your outdoor landscaping in such a way that an interesting contrast of light and shadow is created.

Be Mindful of Light Trespassing

All your landscape lighting should be designed in such a way that it focuses on your own space only. The last thing we want from our landscape lighting is to divert the center of attraction from the original space and instead shine the light through windows and doors of your house. Or worse, the lights installed in your backyard are trespassing through your neighbor’s windows.

Careful installing, placement and angling of the light will make sure that your garden and patio landscaping is focused on the targeted spots.

How to Plan Hardscaping: Landscape Lighting of Walls, Stairs, Rocks and Wooden Arbors

Walls, arbors, rocks and patio stairs can be turned into bright illuminations at night. Most of these structures are mostly unnoticeable during the day time, however, during the night time these same structures can light up and enhance the natural beauty of the space.

Choose from Different Types of Landscape Lightings

There are different types of landscape lighting such as grazing, uplighting, downlighting, washing moonlighting, shadowing, accenting, silhouetting and highlighting. Let’s have a look at how you can plan your outdoor lighting with one of these techniques.


Grazing can be used to illuminate and accentuate flat plain surfaces. It can be done with the help of well lights or hardscaping. Graze the surface of flat areas and create illuminated shadows.


This is a fascinating way of creating shadows and silhouettes by placing spotlights behind rocks and other such surfaces.


This is another way of drawing focus to one of the objects already fixed in your garden or patio. Focus a narrow spotlight on the object from a hidden point and you can get all the illumination and attention.


This technique creates a dreamy effect where subtle and soft lights are placed in trees and on higher surfaces creating a soft moonlight inspired effect on the ground. Solar light stakes designed in different shapes can be used to create a sophisticated and inspiring outdoors.

Downlighting and uplighting

Uplighting creates dramatic impacts by casting large shadows of different structures. To create an uplighting effect different spotlights and well lights are placed close to the base of the object (such as trees, statues and portraits), the light shines from the bottom to illuminate and spotlight the structure.

Downlight is another technique in which focus is drawn towards flowering beds, smaller statues and features closer to the ground. A soft and warm light is shined from the above generating a warm cherry effect illuminating the ground.

By following these steps, you can easily plan and install the perfect landscaping lighting for your home. However, it is better to switch to environment friendly options and alternative energy sources such as solar energy landscape lights. With the right lighting, you can create an inviting and beautiful outdoor living space that can be enjoyed for years to come.

Grace Hayes

An authority in outdoor space design, Grace Hayes, holding a degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University, joined us in 2021. Her 20-year career spans various aspects of landscape design and urban planning. Grace’s approach to outdoor spaces is to create environments that are both beautiful and beneficial to local ecosystems. Her articles are informed by her passion for eco-friendly and sustainable landscape practices. She is an avid gardener and enjoys birdwatching.

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