Outdoor Lighting

When lighting professionals think of design, they think of creating an evening outdoor room, one filled with just the right amount of effective lighting, afterall it has the ability to enhance the design of your garden, or to make an alfresco dining space look even more appealing. With the warmer weather and Summer months fast approaching, it’s a good idea to think about how outdoor lighting can extend the use of your home after dark.

Correct lighting techniques will highlight your important features and create the perfect amount of outdoor drama. Check out our list and see which lighting works for your outdoor space.


Any lighting that draws special attention to a specific feature is considered accent lighting. Specifically angled up-lighting or down-lighting can be used as accent lighting, to point out an architectural design, plant, or other feature. Try using a narrow beam spotlight from a hidden fixture to add a flair of mystery to your accent lighting.

Up Lighting

Soft, understated uplighting adds a touch of class to any setting. Smaller ornamental trees or even palms can be excellent candidates for uplighting. With complex limb structures, the evening sight of these beauties can be enjoyed year-round. Consider creating a wall of light using a series of visually appealing trees. The trees do not need to be on the edge of the property, they may be relatively close to the pool deck, thereby narrowing the view to the immediate area.

Grazing is a technique which essentially points straight up, usually from six to 18 inches away from its subject. It is used most often to highlight the texture of stone, stucco or brick walls. On the other hand, washing employs a broader flood that is set back farther and directed at the wall, creating an even, less textured effect.


Create moonlighting techniques by placing a large fixture with a full glare guard high up inside a tree, and angled downwards. This effect looks like moonlight shining down through the branches. It causes attractive shadow patterns on the ground to appear, plus it provides a very natural and beautiful lighting effect.

Path Lighting

Path lighting is a much smaller version of downlighting. This popular fixture treatment displays streams of light along walkways, steps and beds. Be careful not to overuse path lights; less is more. While it is important to light steps and walkways, remember that not all walkways will be used at night.

Another way to light stairs is via step lights. They can be built-in during the creation of walls and stairs or surfacemounted after construction. These types of light can be more productive if they are placed on cheek walls (walls adjacent to stairwells) rather than in the risers of steps. Consider using deck lights similar to those mounted on the posts of wooden decks.

Wall Washing

Wall-washing creates a soothing and even glow that comes off the wall or facade it’s pointed towards. For best results, place the lighting fixture a few feet away from the feature, and give it a sideways angle. By shining along side the wall, it maintains an even and somewhat subtle ambient lighting for the nearby area. A wide angle flood light with low wattage is recommended for this, as opposed to a spotlight.

Deck Lighting

Transform a simple deck into an elegant entertaining area with the use of LED lights embedded in the timber panels. There are a number of colour options available, but natural is always a timeless option as colours go in and out of vogue relatively quickly.