9 Landscape Lighting Techniques That Will Make Your Exterior Pop

Outdoor lighting adds to a home’s curb appeal, safety, and beauty. Whether you’re creating a walkway to your backyard or want to illuminate your garden, exterior, or other areas of the home, landscape lighting can help.

It’s easy to get carried away, buy a plethora of items and hope your lighting looks great.

But instead, you should focus on key landscape lighting techniques that each have a purpose. When you know the right techniques, you’ll be able to create an exterior space that is perfect for your home.

9 Outdoor Landscape Lighting Techniques to Consider

Once you have an area chosen to add lighting to, you can use one or a combination of the following techniques to really bring out the beauty of this space:

1.  Accent lighting. Also known as spot lighting, this is a technique that involves an intense beam of light that is designed to highlight areas of your space, such as your statues, shrubs, gardens, or flowers.

2.  Cross lighting. A great technique for wooded areas. Cross lighting adds a 3D form to objects, including trees or statues, by illuminating two or more sides of the object.

3.  Diffused lighting. If you want to add lighting to flowers or shrubs, you can use low-level illumination that covers a larger area with lights. These lights can also be cast on your pathways or patios. LED lighting is particularly great for creating this effect.

4.  Downlighting. A form of lighting, very similar to moonlighting, where the light source is placed up high in a tree. The difference is that downlighting is brighter and has the goal of illuminating larger areas. This is a great option for steps or key focal points of a yard, such as a flower bed.

5.  Grazing. If you have an object, or even an exterior wall, that is made of interesting textures, grazing can make these areas pop. Position the lighting close to these surfaces to make them stand out.

6.  Moonlighting. Sometimes, moonlight is better than direct light. You can create this effect with outdoor lighting by positioning your soft lights up high – very high. The light will shine down, adding brilliant shadows to your space.

7.  Shadowing. Do you have shadows or trees that can create beautiful shadows? If so, the shadowing technique allows you to place lighting behind these objects to create shadows on surfaces or even walls.

8.  Silhouetting. Silhouetting is a really interesting and dynamic technique created by lighting an object behind the item you’re silhouetting (typically a wall), creating a dark outline of the element you’re silhouetting against the light cast behind it.

9.  Uplighting. The uplighting technique is when you position your lights upward so that the light shines up an exterior wall of your home or up one of your landscape or hardscape elements. The goal of uplighting is to bring attention to key objects in the yard and may include burying the lights in the ground.

Landscape lighting is an art, and you can make use of it to make your landscaping truly special. Whether you’re trying to add safety to the space or simply make an area the focal point of the yard, these techniques can help.

A skilled outdoor lighting designer can pick the right combination of all of these elements to make the most of your unique landscape.

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