Six Landscape Lighting Techniques You Need to Know About

Six Landscape Lighting Techniques You Need to Know About

You’re throwing a backyard BBQ for everyone to swim and enjoy a few laughs. The fun comes to a halt when the sun sets. Nobody can see what they are doing anymore because you don’t have any outdoor lighting design at your San Diego home.

While you could have at least thrown in a few path lights to illuminate your guest’s way, why stop there? There are a ton of interesting things you can do with yard lighting besides using them on pathways.

To help you shine a little light on your yard while staying creative, here are few beautiful and unique techniques you can use to place your lights.


Things to Consider Before You Get Started 

The first thing you need to do is learn as much about lighting as possible. For example, you’ll need to know the difference between high and low voltages so you can figure out how much your home can take. You’ll also need to check around your home and see if it’s even possible to have extravagant backyard lights.

The main thing you’re checking for is outlets. If your home exterior doesn’t have any, then you really can’t hook up anything. However, that doesn’t mean there is no hope for the backyard oasis of your dreams.

It only means that you’ll have to speak to an electrician and get some installed before you can move forward.

Why Do You Want to Put Them In?

It’s easier to start planning out your yard lights if you know why you want to put them there. The two biggest reasons why anyone does it is for aesthetics and safety.

Lighting for Safety

It can be hard to see the area around your home once the sun goes down. It’s not just pathways that get hazardous. There are often shadowy parts around the home that leave blind spots.

You can up the safety for yourself and your guests by installing lighting in these blind spots.

Lighting for Aesthetics 

You put a lot of work into your yard. You may have a few fountains and beautiful plants around your yard that can’t be seen at night. It’s unfortunate because they look great during the day.

The good news is all you need is a little landscape lighting to bring attention to them after things get dark.

Now that you have some good reasons why landscape lighting is a good idea, here are six techniques that you should consider that are more than just your standard lighting options.


Highlighting is a good plan if you have something in your yard that you want to bring a ton of attention to such as a plant, statue, or water feature. You’ll place a few lights at the base of the item you want to highlight. Play around with angle and distance until you have the effect that you like.

If you want to get festive during the holidays you can change up the color of the bulbs in the fixtures.


If you would like to create a fun, dramatic effect, then you can arrange your lights, so they illuminate a beautiful silhouette of something in your yard. Let’s say you are lighting up a plant. Place the light behind and aim the light not at the plant, but at the wall behind it.

It will create a soft background effect that is lovely in any yard. Keep in mind that you may have to use multiple lights to get your desired effect.


To make a shadow, you’re going to pick a feature in your yard that you enjoy and wash a soft light over it. Doing that alone won’t get you the almost haunting shadows that you’re looking for though. You’ll also need to cast a light on the background behind it.

The best thing to cast a shadow on is going to be yard plants. They sway in the breeze which adds to the effect. Like with the examples above, play around with angles and distances until you’ve got beautiful looking shadows.


Washing is mainly used in rows of bushes and walls. You’ll set up lights in front of them either, or and cast a low-wattage light to create a soft glow.  It might be tempting to use a spotlight for this, but your best bet is going to be a wide-angled floodlight.

This is a popular lighting technique used in many yards that while simple, can be elegant if you get the height and distance of the lights perfect.


Do you not get a lot of natural moonlight where you live? The solution to this problem is moonlighting. Hopefully, you’re not scared of heights because to cast the illusion of the moon casting down, you’ll need to put your lights in the trees and angle them downward.

It casts a nice, natural-looking glow over the yard, and the tree branches will create some interesting shadows.

Water Lights

Due to the fact that the lights will need to be installed in the water, they should only be put in by a trained professional. That being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t put in your input for how you want them installed.

They need to dip at least 12 inches below the surface of the water, and no more than that. The best places to have them placed is toward the ends of the pool and along the walls.

Places in Your Backyard that Could Benefit from a Little Lighting 

It can be hard to enjoy summer BBQs if nobody can see where they’re walking, let alone eating. You don’t want anyone to get hurt and you would like to add a little bit of extra flair to your yard anyway. Try out some of the lighting placement ideas on this list to shed a bit of light on things.

Are you ready to put your lighting plans into action? Contact us to tell us all about your project at your San Diego home.


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