Tips for Landscaping Lighting

If landscape lighting is on your summer to-do list, a quick trip to the local home store will leave you with lots of choices and maybe some confusion.

To narrow down the choices, decide if you want solar or wired lighting.

Solar lighting is easy to install and probably less expensive. The downside is that it won’t work well in areas with no sunlight. The LED lights are often not as white or bright as wired lighting.

Low voltage electric landscape lighting is usually the choice of professional landscapers, according to They look professional and offer superior illumination and timers, something you won’t get with solar lights. The downside is wiring, which usually is not that difficult but might require a professional to install.

Once you decide on the electronics, placement is the next consideration.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, landscape lighting falls into three categories: Space, task, or accent.

Space lighting illuminates places like gazebos, decks or patios.

Task lights provide safe access along paths or steps.

Accent lights highlight architectural features and are used to wash a wall with light and accent plants.

No matter what kind of lighting you need, the first rule of thumb is that less is more, according to

Too many lights distract from the beauty and too-high wattage looks and feels garish.

For wash lighting on the side of the house, use a wide beam. Pay attention to the shadows the lights cast and whether the lights shine too severely into the house.

With wired lighting, wait a couple of days before you bury wires. You will almost certainly change your mind on the light locations and even the number of lights. Experiment with positioning.

The idea behind great landscape lighting is to create safe areas and layers of light.

Avoid creating a runway effect with lights placed in a straight line.

Use lower-wattage wide beams focused upward to wash your home in a delicate glow. Make sure it doesn’t shine in the neighbors’ eyes.

Uplight interesting trees.

Downlight patios and decks. Make sure you can turn the light off if you want just candlelight.