Types of outdoor lighting for landscapes

Let's Talk About Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor Lighting 101

Low voltage outdoor lighting should be a part of every professionally designed landscape plan. A well-designed lighting plan creates a dramatic enhancement of the home by illuminating colors and textures in the design. Warm and properly placed lighting is one of the most effective ways to naturally enhance a home's curb appeal.

Before you run to the local hardware store, it is important to understand the different types of outdoor lighting and how they should be used. The choices in outdoor lighting fixtures are nearly endless, with new ones coming out every year. Pretty much everyone is familiar with path lights, but there are also up-lights, down-lights, underwater, and in-ground lights, plus a number of specialty lights.

What is low voltage lighting?

Low voltage lighting is hardwired and runs through a transformer, lowering the voltage from 120v to between 12-24v. Since low voltage lighting requires less energy, it is considered safer and more energy-efficient compared to other outdoor lighting options. To install exterior low-voltage lighting, sleeving will often be installed under sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Additional electrical outlets may also be installed. For this reason, outdoor lighting should be installed by a licensed professional.

Path lighting guides guests from the upper patio to the lower patio.

Path Lights

Path lights are one of the most popular options in landscape lighting. Just as the name implies, path lights are typically placed along walkways or around patios to guide homeowners and guests. In some cases, path lighting may be placed within garden beds to illuminate colorful plantings under the night skies. This type of outdoor lighting is used primarily for safety and security. However, many homeowners use path lighting purely for aesthetic charm.

Uplights illuminate the trees along the fence.


Uplighting serves a mostly decorative purpose. Uplights are typically placed in the ground and shine up to illuminate a specific focal point, such as sculptures, structures, stone, trees, and walls.

Downlights illuminate the homes texture, while uplights highlight the softscape within the garden.


Downlights are placed overhead, often in trees or on structures. They can be angled to highlight a specific object or a more broad subject, such as a home or garden. Since downlighting shines from above, it creates the illusion of natural light. A well designed lighting plan will usually include a mixture of both uplighting and downlighting.

Wash lighting is intended to highlight varying textures within the landscape.

Wash Lights

Wash lights are placed on walls, pillars, or other structures. This type of lighting is designed to highlight textures and add depth to a landscape. Lighting experts Utah Lights, assert that wash lighting is the "secret ingredient" for great ambiance and should be included in every professionally-designed outdoor lighting plan.

Three ways to add curb appeal to your home

Residential Landscaping Services

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Enhance your Minnesota landscape's function and beauty with dramatic outdoor lighting.

Front Entry Design

Enhance the curb appeal of your front entry with gardens, lighting, and walls that fit the architecture of your home.

Paver Driveways

Paver driveways add style and function to any landscape. Industry-leading warranty.

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