Understanding Landscape Lighting Terms

A guide to understanding the most common terms used to achieve the different effects used in outdoor lighting designs.

The architecture, trees and plants around your home or business take command of the landscape during the day. Once night falls, they disappear into the darkness unless you use outdoor lighting. You can light up just about anything-paths, trees, buildings, sculptures, patios, and driveways. There are so many options. Where do you begin? A little goes a long way when it comes to lighting the outdoors. That’s because the light doesn’t have to be strong. In fact, it’s best for it to be subtle. You can use this characteristic to create some really interesting effects by highlighting particular elements in your landscape and exterior design. The term highlighting can mean different things when it comes to outdoor lighting. There are many terms for landscape lighting, and some of them overlap and can be confusing. Below is a brief explanation with some samples.

Uplighting- Uplighting is where you place a light a few feet away from the base of an object to show the form from below. Adjust the distance between the object and the light to create different looks.




Down Lighting- Down Lighting accents landscape planting beds or other features from above. Down lights can be attached to walls or put under eaves. Moon Lighting is a form of down lighting where you can attach multiple lights high up in a tree to create the effect of moonlight.



Wall washing– Wall washing is a technique where a light is placed in the ground and angled toward a building wall to create a soft, gentle glow.


Path lighting– of all the highlighting techniques used in outdoor lighting, path lighting is most common. Path lighting creates a sense of safety along a walkway. Alternate the lights on either side of the path and place them 6-8’ apart for the most effective visibility and ambiance.


As you can see there are many options and ideas for outdoor lighting. If you find this overwhelming, a professional landscape lighting team will spend time coming up with ways to enhance your space through particular lighting effects. As professionals in the field Southern Outdoor Lighting will be able to discuss your lighting options such as the type of fixture, the light temperature and the spacing required as well as develop unique looks for your home.

$300 Value Lighting & Design Consultation for FREE

$300 Value Lighting & Design Consultation for FREE

Free Lighting & Design Consultation A $300 Value! For a limited time, we are offering a free in-home lighting consultation. We’ll show you demos of up-to-the-minute technologies and discuss ideas for your space.