Home » Solar Garden » How To Design Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is an installation of lights on your property to highlight different elements of your landscape. It’s hard to know how to do this right, especially if you only have one or two elements that you want highlighted. The main thing to focus on when visualizing what you want is the light and the result.

Design With Light, Not Fixtures

When designing a lighting program, the general consensus is to use light instead of fixtures. Why? Light design is more versatile than using fixtures. Light can direct traffic, set a mood, illuminate objects, and in general make your space more interesting. The fixtures are merely an infrastructure for the light.

We know that light is a designer’s most important tool. It can transform a space, set a mood, add drama, and contrast. We also know that it’s not just about the fixture—it’s about what you do with the light. When used properly, it should complement the architecture, enhance the shapes and colors of your furnishings, and make your room feel comfortable, beautiful, and inviting. That’s why we partner with you to create personalized lighting.

Don’t Light Everything

In order to create a good lighting design, you must learn to create shadows effectively. It is the contrast created by light and shadow that brings depth to your designs. Of course, not everything needs to be lit. One must have the knowledge of using lighting effectively to create shadows and depth.

Landscape lighting is about making your outdoor space feel and look inviting. It’s also a great way to attract attention and add some flair to your home.

Light Trees Properly

The tree lighting is best done with plenty of forethought. Clearly, you won’t be able to account for tree growth when it comes to placement and the number of fixtures. When placing lights too close to young spruce, they will be engulfed in tree branches in just a year or two. It’s worth it to place outdoor lights further away and have the light source better illuminate without obstruction.

A large, wide tree like this will likely need more than one light to capture it. We don’t want to add a second light to try to make the tree brighter, there are other ways this could be done. We would add a second light to ensure that the light feels more fulfilled.

Selecting the Correct Beam Angle & Lumen Output

Reflector housings with adjustable mounts create numerous lighting options for your outdoor setting. Different fixtures have different light dispersing capabilities to best illuminate your subject. With a number of different lumen outputs and beam-angled lamps, you can create some incredible projections.

You need to have the right light fixtures for the job. landscape lighting alone has many different types of fixtures which can create just the right amount of light for you. There are spotlights that narrow in on a particular feature and track lights that can follow the sun through different parts of the day.

Be Careful of Light Trespass

It is important to consider landscape lighting design when looking to light your yard. Designs used correctly will add interest to your yard and keep it secure for you and your family. Light plays a crucial role in your home’s curb appeal. When choosing outdoor lighting, you’ll want to make sure your fixtures are both stylish and functional. The first step is to determine whether you require floodlights or accent lights? Is the goal to illuminate walkways or keep neighbors in the dark?

Rotating the protective shroud on your fixtures will give you more control over where your light is being directed. If light is throwing a glare into an undesirable location, simply rotate your shroud until the light can no longer be seen. Careful consideration of light trespass will ensure that you and your neighbors are both happy with your lighting.

Don’t Design Without a Plan

The landscape lighting designs below are designed to be an inspiration and starting point for your project. However, every scene in your landscape has a distinct beauty and purpose, and it’s important to figure out what that is before you begin installing lights. Even simple landscapes have a balance and theme that pulls the design together.

To create a spectacular outdoor space, you need to make sure that you’re planning to make sure you use the right lighting. When planning, you should consider how your home’s features complement each other and see what type of mood they create.

How To Plan


1. Form Ideas for Your Landscape Layout

The first step when designing a landscape lighting plan is to perform a walk-through. This allows us to determine what we want to achieve with the project and helps in visualizing it before we begin. It also helps if good photos of the property are available. Caution should be taken to avoid undue disturbance of potential wildlife habitats and any home or building occupants’ privacy when taking these photos. After determining the key focal points and features, lighting can be selected for other areas of the outside property. This will make your outdoor space functional while also providing a sense of style.

2. Make a Sketch of the Landscape

Draw a perimeter around the garden to determine the area to be decorated. Add the size of buildings, decks, benches, trees, shrubs, and other references that can be used in landscape designs in your sketch. Make sure all of the key focal points, height, and length of existing landscape lighting are captured in your plans. This helps you determine whether you will need 120V or 12V lights in the next step of the process.

3. Select Your Landscape Lighting Fixtures

Landscape lighting planning takes careful consideration and research. There are a number of factors to consider when planning the layout of your application. Are you installing new or upgrading an existing landscape lighting system? What are the dimensions of your property? These are the two questions you’ll want to ask yourself before making any purchases.

WAC Lighting offers a variety of products for different applications. All fixtures can be controlled for color, beam width, and brightness levels. Installing twelve 120V light fixtures throughout the garden can be an expensive and time-consuming task. It requires you to run wiring twenty feet through your yard, and six feet below ground, in galvanized conduit. These tasks will require excavation. It is generally recommended that power sources for landscape lighting be placed near or within the home. For example, a power source can be located in the garage or exterior closet of a house. Alternatively, an outdoor receptacle can be installed near the landscape lighting system, which will allow the system to be powered by the 120VAC household electrical supply.

4. Fixture Spacing

Spacing between fixtures is a determinate factor that affects the quality of the finished product. An allotment of 6 feet of lead wire is provided with most products to make final adjustments on the field.

Path and Area Lights: It is advisable to install lighting on a pathway at least 10’ away from each other. Although these lights are meant to guide users through space, not illuminate it, they should be placed further apart to leave some room for any additional light sources.

Accent (Spot) Lights: small, potted palms may be best served by a single spotlight. More robust specimens with larger canopies will require more light – and two or more accent lights may be desirable. Alternatively, in-ground fixtures for trees can also be specified to accommodate these larger specimens.

Wall Wash: For a simple garden path, install lights 1 to 2 feet from the wall. Spread them out approximately 6 to 8 feet apart.

Hardscape Fixtures: For smaller spaces like window sills, decks, and handrails, use a 3-inch wide strip light. Larger spaces that require more illumination can be illuminated with a 6-inch strip light.

Step/Deck/Patio/Indicator: Illuminate outdoor areas generally used for entertainment where foot traffic is prevalent.

Indicator Lights: Perimeter borders should be at least 2ft apart in order to have a safe and effective landscape lighting installation.

5. Wire Runs, Power Supplies, and Final Layout

If your system is designed with 12V landscape lighting, we might have several runs from the transformer to each landscape light. These extend from just one transformer to each and every light, which means you should always keep as much distance within the wires by using a wire stretcher for straight runs to ensure that your lights will not get tangled or become an embarrassment in any way by coming loose.

With a single transformer, all landscape lights can be turned on or off from one location. Based on the power required to operate the lights and the number of lights used in the project, select a transformer that matches the requirements.

It is important to plan for the future and room to grow when setting up outdoor lights. If you plant a tree or add garden features, it will be important to highlight them with added landscape lighting without having to revise your original setup. This can be achieved with an added timer and/or photocell, which will help to automatically control your landscape lighting based on time of day.

Wrapping Up

Landscape lighting will make your outdoor remodeling project come to life, enhancing the architectural details of your home and adding spectacular aesthetic pleasure in the form of security features like photocells for automatic light activation. It will also add resale value and boost curb appeal.