What are the different types of landscape lights?

You look at your neighbor’s beautiful landscape with so much admiration. It looks stunning during the day but even more visually breathtaking at night.


If you’re having troubles navigating your yard, have outdated landscape lighting, or are worried about the safety of your loved ones, it may be time to invest in new landscape lighting.


Lighting options vary widely. You're probably unsure where to start or which option is most practical and suitable. You want an aesthetically pleasing yard, but you don’t want to burn your budget nor think about tedious maintenance.


Partnering with a professional helps so you can map out a custom lighting system and increase function, safety, and comfort in your property.


To help you get started, let's talk about the different types of landscape lights, their uses, and how to make the most of them.


Content overview

Don’t think of landscape lighting as something you can only enjoy while in your yard. You can also bask in its view from indoors.


Here's an outline of what's in store for you in this post. Feel free to jump to what you need.


I. Importance of landscape lighting


  • Increasing safety

  • Boosting usability

  • Enhancing property value


II. Different types of landscape lights


  • Spotlight

  • Floodlights

  • Step lights

  • Path lights

  • Well lights

  • Bollard lighting

  • Downlight

  • Hardscape lights


III. Outdoor lighting placement tips


  • Take a look at the big picture

  • Aim for subtle lighting

  • Prioritize entry lights

  • Show off your yard features

  • Choose practical light bulbs

  • Avoid DIY lighting

  • Prevent outdoor light pollution


IV. Can landscape lights be solar powered?


V. Custom lighting system installation in Southern California


If there's anything you want to know more about, our team is happy to share information with you. Even if you’re considering using an outdoor lighting kit for your project, it still helps to consult with professionals. Contact us today at 323-839-0101.





Importance of landscape lighting

Coming home to a beautifully lit home doesn’t only spark joy and pride. It gives you warmth and a sense of security. Here are more reasons why you should pay attention to your landscape lighting:


a. Increasing safety. Detecting activities in outdoor spaces is easier with proper lighting. Efficient lighting eliminates dark areas and reduces spots where intruders can lurk and hide. Steps, inclining areas, or uneven grounds also warrant outdoor lighting for safe navigation.


b. Boosting usability. Well-thought lighting lets you extend the use of your outdoor living areas through the night. Activities won't have to be squeezed in during the day. You can bond with your family or entertain guests at any hour.


c. Enhancing property value. Beautiful lighting is a sight to marvel at. Proper positioning of lighting fixtures allows you to highlight elements in your yard overlooked during the day. A curated lawn or even a random corner in your yard can look even more astonishing.


Different types of landscape lights


When you check product catalogs, you're bound to see countless choices for outdoor lighting. It can get overwhelming or exhausting even before you begin.


To help you narrow down your choices, here's a list of the different lighting fixtures and how you can use them.


1. Spotlight. A spotlight directs light toward a specific spot. Think of the spotlight on a stage, but not stiff. You can use different techniques to make the lighting look softer. For example, you can direct light upwards against a wall to create a grazing effect, position it downwards for a more dramatic appearance, or use it to illuminate plants, statues, or any installation.


Tip: Choose LED or low voltage landscape lights. Spotlights may seem so simple to install, but it takes technical expertise. You need to set up a transformer, fold the sod or the topmost layer of the soil with grass, bury cables underground, dig holes for the fixtures, and then check the electrical connection.


2. Floodlights. Floodlights direct light downward. Their advantage is they can illuminate a wide area. They may be ideal if you’re looking for bright illumination to cover a sprawling activity area, such as an outdoor pool or court. Floodlights use easy-to-install, strong LED bulbs. But since they emit bright light, they require higher wattage too. They can be equipped with motion sensors, though. This is one option to increase outdoor lighting efficiency.


Tip: Walk around your yard and note where you need lighting the most. Check as well if there's a power source nearby. Floodlights must be installed properly for them to function as intended. You may also install them in areas where intruders may hide.


3. Step lights. Steps make traversing uneven or inclined grounds a leisurely experience. But without adequate lighting, they can present more harm than help. You must consider two parts when lighting outdoor steps. First is the tread or the horizontal part and second is the riser, the vertical part. Lighting can be attached to the sides or walls of the treads and directly on the risers.


Tip: You don’t have to attach lighting on both risers and treads. Lighting can also be installed on the fences or nearby steps of a deck.


4. Path lights. Path lights romanticize a walk down your outdoor spaces. You can direct lights to the pathway itself, or plants that line it. Strategic placement is crucial if you prefer small lighting fixtures. Avoid missing spots, make sure the gap between every fixture is even, and ensure the use of low-electricity options. Consider lights that provide a subtle glow yet powerful enough to illuminate the path in front of you. Mark boundaries, protect border plants from being stepped on, and increase curb appeal.


Tip: Choose sturdy path lights that resist wear and corrosion. Lighting fixtures can be made of stainless steel.


5. Well lights. Well lights are versatile lighting fixtures mounted on the ground. You can also install them at the bottom part of your plants or trees to drive attention to them. Also called in-grade lights, well lights are suitable for areas outside of pathways or foot traffic. They can be hard to see since they’re buried in the ground. That said, mowing over them shouldn't be an issue.


Tip: Well lights can also be installed in driveways. Be sure to choose fixtures that can handle vehicular weight well.


6. Bollard lighting. Bollard lights are small light posts without covers. They produce a 360 lighting coverage, making them suitable if you're looking to reduce the number of necessary lighting fixtures. You can use bollard lights to line your pathways or serve as accent lights. They also work great in styling a space or emphasizing boundaries.


Tip: Take cues from the post height in determining the right distance between fixtures. Keep lights from overlapping. Install the next fixture outside of the area adjacent posts illuminate.


7. Downlight. Make your prized plants or decors shine even more with these beautiful lighting fixtures called downlights. As its name suggests, downlight casts slightly dispersed light downwards. It's often described as lighting from above or a little support since we can't rely completely on lighting from the sky. You won’t notice the bulb as your attention is directed to the object it illuminates, or at least that's how it should be done.


Tip: Be careful not to cause glares. One common mistake when installing downlights is hitting the eyes with harsh lights. It's also not advisable to DIY as you'll be working at height.


8. Hardscape lights. Hardscapes refer to landscape features that use stones and bricks. They include pathways, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and patios. Lighting can be installed on these elements for a more dramatic effect or to help you carry out tasks. Hardscape lighting creates a glamorous, more inviting view of your outdoor areas.


Tip: Make your outdoor lighting look and feel natural. Choose energy-efficient, long-lasting, and money-saving fixtures and focus only on what you need.


Outdoor Lighting Placement Tips


Designing and installing landscape lighting is a meticulous process. Let's walk you through some tips for illuminating your yard.


* Take a look at the big picture. Avoid getting fixated on one area alone. Even if you’re only enhancing a specific area in your yard due to budget or time limitations, consider planning for your entire yard. This way, you see how everything will pan out even if you’re completing the installation by portion.


* Aim for subtle lighting. Your family members or guests will probably appreciate that more. Nobody wants strong, glaring light directed on their faces. Subtle lights or warm white light also make for more relaxing experiences.


* Prioritize entry lights. Increase safety and security in your yard. Be sure your lighting fixtures on entry and exit points allow for a clear view of activities. A wall wash effect can help reduce shadows and illuminate surfaces at a wider angle. Take note of vulnerable spots in your yard where shadows or opportunities to hide abound.


* Show off your yard features. Your yard should be attractive and user-friendly throughout the day. List down spots that don't garner much attention during the day. Your contractor can help you turn them into focal points at night with the help of outdoor lighting.


* Choose practical light bulbs. Light bulb types vary. Fluorescent bulbs offer a lovely color range and are generally cheaper than other options. Incandescent bulbs can also be pleasing to the eyes but can be energy hogs. LED lights can be costlier, but they last a long time and consume less electricity. Ask your contractor for fixtures that meet your needs and budget.


* Avoid DIY lighting. You'll probably manage to handle simple lighting installations. But for complex ones or to achieve grander effects, go to a landscape lighting specialist. Professionals can offer expert advice and keep you from going overboard. They're aware of which spots need lighting the most and how you can save electricity.


* Prevent outdoor light pollution. Another advantage of planning your outdoor lighting with a professional team is avoiding light pollution. Professionals can aim lights properly to avoid glare or unwanted light in indoor areas. They can map out an energy-efficient plan, so light bulbs provide the illumination you need without being harsh on the eyes. They can also install sensors, so lighting is only on when necessary.


Can landscape lights be solar powered?


You want to update your outdoor lighting, but at the same time, still enjoy a view of the night sky.


Unnecessary lighting can make the moon and stars less visible and charming. Illuminating yard spaces should be done beautifully, all the while considering your neighbors and the environment.


Since Southern California, particularly Los Angeles, is a populous area, neighborhoods can become too bright at night. Avoid contributing to the unwanted lighting. If you want, you can also look for alternative energy sources, such as solar energy.


Take a look at solar lighting fixtures. Talk to your landscape designer about using solar-powered LED lights without the tedious installation and maintenance.


Yes, landscape lights can use alternative energy sources and withstand exposure to external elements. Get in touch with us today at Lunaquatic for more information.


Custom lighting system installation in the Los Angeles area


Even a small area in your yard can make a huge impact with proper outdoor lighting. And you don't have to go beyond what you can afford.


Here at Lunaquatic, we design outdoor lighting spaces to complement your budget and lifestyle. We focus on long-term enjoyment and provide you with honest recommendations so you can make the most of your yard.


Professionally designed lighting can revamp and make your property safer. Do you have ideas for upgrading your yard? Are you excited about overhauling your yard and hearing compliments from neighbors and guests?


We’re happy to listen and help you make those visions a reality. Contact us today to learn more about cost-effective, custom outdoor lighting design for your Southern California home.

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