Uplighting vs Flood Lighting: What’s the Difference in your Landscape Lighting Options?

Uplighting vs Flood Lighting: What’s the Difference in your Landscape Lighting Options?

What’s the difference between uplighting and flood lighting?

If you’re asking yourself this question, don’t feel bad. Not a lot of people can look at two beams of light and figure out what the differences are between them.

That’s why we’ve created this quick guide to help you out, and to teach you how to use them in your San Diego outdoor lighting design.


Uplighting for your Homes Exterior

Uplighting functions just how it sounds. People use uplighting when they want to highlight specific features in their gardens or outdoor living spaces.

Think of it as a spotlight.

You may install this light beneath a detailed piece of architecture or art in your landscaping. When the sun goes down, the eye-catching parts of your property will still be on full display with uplighting.

This lighting has a narrow beam, which isn’t usually any wider than 45 degrees. A narrow beam makes the light more concentrated, so it becomes easier to control and point where you want it to go.

How to use Flood Lighting for your San Diego Landscape

Flood lighting has a much wider beam than uplighting. To give you some perspective, most flood lights have a beam width of 120 degrees. This allows it to light up larger spaces and blend the different parts of your landscaping together.

In other words, you can use this light to brighten areas that don’t need a direct light focus. You can install a flood light between your uplighting or to create a backdrop of light over your landscaping.

Try to get those giant flood lights you see at baseball fields out of your head for a moment. When it comes to landscape lighting and outdoor living space lighting, flood lights can be much smaller. They’re also commonly installed on the ground.

This type of light is very even. So, you don’t have to worry about some areas being too bright and others too soft.

So, Is Flood Lighting the Same Thing as Down lighting?

At this point you might be asking yourself this question: “So is flood lighting the same thing as down lighting?”

Not quite.

If you’re trying to light up large areas of space that don’t have a central focus, you should stick to flood lighting rather than down lighting.

When compared to both uplighting and flood lighting, down lighting is more similar to uplighting.

Like uplighting, down lighting has a narrow beam. However, instead of pointing their light up at an object, down lighting is installed above the focus features. This allows you to illuminate certain design elements from above.

How You Should and Shouldn’t Use These Types of Lights

There are definitely certain ways you should and shouldn’t use these types of lighting, and you shouldn’t do anything to your yard until you find this out.

Otherwise, you could end up installing the wrong lights in the wrong places and be left with a less-than-ideal outdoor living space. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to this type of lighting, don’t worry.

We’ll help you get a grasp on the basics.

Here are a few tips about uplighting and flood lighting to keep in mind when you’re planning your outdoor living space in San Diego.

When to Use Uplighting 

We’ve already mentioned that uplighting should always go below your yard or garden’s focus points, but what exactly does that entail?

Here are a few examples of features that could benefit from uplighting:

  • Statues, fountains, birdbaths, or other garden pieces
  • Pillars, arches, and entryways
  • Flagpoles (and the flags way up at the top!)
  • Impressive landscape features
  • Chimneys
  • Architectural details in your walls
  • Other outdoor artwork

Remember, uplighting adds depth to whatever surface it touches, so you might want to consider lighting your walls, fences, and other surfaces even if they’re blank.

You can also use uplighting to create interesting and beautiful shadows on otherwise empty surfaces.

When to Use Flood Lighting 

Save flood lighting for larger and more or less empty areas. After all, this type of lighting should blend the rest of your landscape together, rather than being a centerpiece itself.

Here are a few different ways you can use flood lighting in your outdoor living space:

  • To create a backdrop behind your other lighting
  • To fill in empty space that you other lighting doesn’t cover
  • To light up driveways, parking lots, etc.

Even if it has the same wattage and lumen output as uplighting, flood lighting can light up a lot more space. It’s stronger than uplighting, so don’t overdo your flood lighting by installing too much of it.

Understanding the Difference Between Uplighting and Flood Lighting 

If you try to install flood lighting where uplighting should be, you might not end up with the effect you envisioned.

That’s why it’s important to understand the difference between uplighting and flood lighting. Knowing what types of light benefit what features in your landscaping will allow you to create a stunning outdoor space.

Do you want to upgrade your yard but not sure where to start? That’s okay.

Head over to our services page to find out some of the ways our San Diego landscape lighting experts can help you!


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