Lighting Design Tips


When it comes to lighting and light fixtures, most people’s default mode is to think about indoor lighting where sunlight cannot reach and windows are far away. However, outdoor lighting can be just as essential to the look and functionality of your home as indoor lighting. There are many reasons you might have to want to revamp the outdoor lighting of your home. Perhaps you have decided to sell your house and are trying to enhance curb appeal. Maybe you are in the process of creating your dream home complete with visions of evening splendor for your front yard. On a more practical level, you may simply want to illuminate the front and help visitors find your house, especially if your home is far from streetlights.

Even if you desire to add outdoor landscape lighting, you might not know the best way to do it for your home’s style. These tips from the DIY Network and Better Homes and Gardens will give you the inside scoop.

Think in layers. Your house is not flat, so why should your lighting be? Only lighting the building’s exterior can look unnatural and even bleak. Using modern exterior lighting, you can place some focus on other landscape elements in the yard to add dimension and softness. Work with a lighting designer to make the most of ambient light, task light where it is needed (such as pathways) and accent lighting.

Design well to skip the pathway lighting. If your home’s outdoor lighting is designed in a way that it brightens the driveway or sidewalks as well, you may be able to forego pathway lighting altogether. Downlighting that shines from the roofline or upper story can show the way with an enchanting gleam.

Spotlights will draw attention to an elegant tree, a small fountain, or another focal point in your yard. Use these to create an inviting experience. If you shine a spotlight directly on a textured element, like the bark of a tree, it can emphasize outlines and shadows while casting a soft glow on foliage. When you’re uplighting objects such as statuaries or trees, a good rule of thumb is to use warm (yellow/orange) light on man-made objects and cool (white/blue) light on plants.

Highlight the hazards. Stairs and uneven ground can become safety risks at night. Your landscape lighting design can offer a fashionable yet functional resolution.

Add color and texture. If you place low lights near plants with interesting shapes, the shadows will add unique shadow patterns to the surrounding environment. It may suit you well to highlight brightly colored items to retain some of your garden or landscaping’s most interesting characteristics even after dark.

Emphasize edges. Rope or string lighting can be placed at flowerbed borders for a hidden glow. If your porch or patio includes stone walls or other hardscape, strip lighting or LED tape can be placed under the outcropping edges to transform a beautiful space.

Submerge some shine. For ponds and landscape water elements, underwater lighting adds a lovely, warm glow that can show off fish and submerged plants even at night.

Gross Electric’s lighting designers can help you craft the perfect outdoor lighting for your home, creating the spectacle you want it to be. Browse our outdoor lighting fixtures to get started.