LED Landscape Lighting Design: What Lights to Use and Where to Use Them

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LED landscape lighting is a great way to dress up your yard and show it off, but there are many different options for accomplishing this. How do you know which lights to use where and for what? Read on, and you’ll find out.

The first step in adding light to your yard is to know what you want to highlight. You might not be aware of the many ways you can use light to achieve an interesting, eye-catching outdoor design; look at the examples in this post or browse the internet to get some ideas. Next, you should know what types of lights are available, the effects that they create, and where they’re typically used. We carry a wide variety of 12-volt LED landscape products, including spot, path, flood, hardscape, step/deck, pond/fountain, well, path, recessed, and fence lights. For each type of light, there are options for brightness, color, style, and additional features. Take a look below to see how and where you can use these lights.

Jump To:
Trees and Shrubbery
House Features (Pillars, Porches, Eaves, Walls)
Statues & Other Structures
Gardens & Rock/Mulch Beds
Fences
Decks (Railings, Structure, Steps)
Stone (Walls, Retaining Walls, Steps)
Patios
Walkways & Paths
Ponds & Fountains

 

Trees and Shrubbery

Spotlights

Use LED spotlights to make trees, plants, or shrubbery stand out. Mount them in the ground, and adjust their aimable heads to wherever light is needed. This is not to say that light has to come from below. You can also use these lights in trees to achieve a moonlighting effect. When mounted at the right height (usually between 15-30 feet) and angled properly, the ground below can look like it is lit by the moon instead of an obvious light source. This is perfect for patios or sitting areas. These fixtures are sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

 

Well Lights

Place LED well lights in the ground under the tree, bush, or plant you want to illuminate. If you want to light both the trunk and canopy of a large tree, it might take several well lights. You can choose your color temperature (cool, natural, or warm white), or choose an RGB fixture if you want to pick from many vibrant color options and color-changing modes.

 

Flood Lights

LED flood lights have wide beam angles and are great for lighting large bushes or shrubbery that lines the side of a house or building. The farther away you place the light, the more area you can cover.

House Features (Pillars, Porches, Eaves, Walls, Etc.)

Spotlights

Spotlights can be used to highlight a home’s architectural features. Mount them at the base of a wall, or aim them at porch columns. You can also use them for downlighting on the side of your house or under eaves. These fixtures are sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

 

Flood Lights

Use these wide-beam fixtures to light a section of or the entire front of your house. Choose cool, natural, or warm white color temperatures, or choose an RGB flood light to illuminate your house with any color imaginable.

 

Well Lights

LED well lights are perfect for accenting porch columns or the sides of your house. They mount flush with the ground and emit illumination that stretches vertically from bottom to top (depending on the height of what you’re lighting).

Statues, Flags, & Other Yard Structures

Spotlights

Using LED spotlights, you can light anything from fountains and gazebos to statues and flags. Choose an intensity that’s right for the object you’re highlighting. If you’re having trouble imagining how much light is enough, think of the size of what you’re lighting. Smaller objects require lower lumen outputs and vice versa for larger objects. These fixtures are sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

In addition to basic highlighting, there are different techniques you can use to light structures.

 Silhouetting:

A spotlight is placed behind the structure and aimed up at an adjacent wall. With this technique, you’ll see the shape of the statue or structure against a lighted background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scalloping:

The spotlight is placed behind an object and aimed upward at a wall at such an angle that it creates a sharp cone-shaped beam. This creates an interesting effect where the outline of the object is all you see against the beam on the wall.

 

 

 

Shadowing:

The light is placed in front of plants or other objects in order to project their shadows onto a wall.

 

 

 

 

Flood Lights

Large yard or house structures can benefit from a wide beam of light. Different mounting options are available for mounting flood lights on the side of homes, top of banisters, or in the ground.

 

Well Lights

Well lights look great when placed at the base of a statue, fountain, mailbox, or other yard structure. You could also place them around gazebos or at the base of deck posts or other posts/pillars.

Gardens or Rock/Mulch Beds

Path Lights

These fixtures aren’t limited to paths. When mounted in gardens, they provide a gentle glow that lights a small surrounding area of plants, rock, or mulch. There are many decorative styles to choose from. These fixtures are sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

 

Spotlights

You can place spotlights inside of a garden or rock/mulch bed to aim on single plants, shrubbery, or trees. You can also mount them just outside of the garden or bed to illuminate the entire area or several plants at once. These fixtures are sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

 

Well Lights

An LED well light makes the perfect addition to a small garden or rock/mulch bed. Use these fixtures to bring out the details of a particular plant, small tree, or group of plants.

Fences

Flood Lights

These fixtures will light a large section of your tall, wooden fence, which can add an interesting design element to your yard. If space allows, experiment by using several fixtures evenly spaced and angled to create wide cone patterns with sharp cutoffs.

 

Surface-Mount Eyelid Lights

These lights are easy to mount and cast a downward beam of light on your wooden fence. They’re found in our deck and step light category. Use several evenly spaced fixtures for decoration along your entire fence, or use a single fixture to highlight a specific area. If you have anything against your fence, such as a grill or small garden, these fixtures will light them too.

Decks (Railings, Structure, Steps)

Recessed or Surface-Mount Step Lights

Use these lights to increase visibility around decks and deck steps. Recessed fixtures are available in round or square shapes that are available with open, louvered, or eyelid face plates for directing light where it’s needed. Face plates for these fixtures come in several finish options. We also have recessed fixtures that mount flush with deck floors. Surface-mount options, such as eyelid lights, are great for mounting on posts or along the sides of a deck. You can also try linear surface-mount options under stair treads or railings. These lights function just as much for aesthetics as they do for safety.

 

Hardscape Lights

Though they’re typically thought of for stone applications, LED hardscape lights are perfect for lighting deck steps and can also be mounted under railings. They’re available in different lengths and color temperatures for creating the look you want.

 

Post-Cap Lights

Use this fixture to add decorative accent lighting to your fence or deck posts.

Stone (Walls, Retaining Walls, Steps)

Hardscape Lights

With their attached mounting plates, these LED hardscape lights can be mounted under retaining wall stones or stone steps. You can choose from various sizes, color temperatures, and even adjustable options for directing light outward at different angles.

Patios

Spotlights

Mount spotlights high in a nearby tree to achieve a moonlighting effect. Using this technique, you can experience the look of a naturally lit patio. You can also mount LED spotlights in the ground and aim them at surrounding exterior walls to illuminate your patio. These fixtures are sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

 

Decorative String Lights

String these lights around your patio, pergola, or gazebo to increase visibility while adding a decorative touch. You can use virtually any style and shape of LED bulb, such as vintage, spiral filament, or standard frosted.

Walkways & Paths

Path Lights


Use these lights to enhance the look of your yard while making walkways obvious. Choose from several styles to complement your house. These fixtures are usually placed about 10 feet apart. They’re sold individually, in complete kits with transformers and wire, or as add-on kits.

 

Recessed or Surface-Mount Step Lights (Vertical Path Marking)


If you have a vertical path you want to illuminate, you can use our recessed deck and step lights. Mount them in the walls on both sides of your walkway. This project is pretty involved and would usually be done by a contractor or during a build.

Ponds & Fountains

Waterproof Spotlights


These spotlights are IP68 rated, so they’re safe to use under water. Use them in a pond to create a soft glow from below. Weighted bases are available to keep the fixtures where you want them.

 

Waterproof Well Lights


These IP68-rated LED well lights are meant to be mounted in the ground of a pond and shine upward. They’re perfect for showing coy or other fish.

 

Waterproof Surface-Mount Lights

Mount these lights on the sides or bottom of preformed pond liners to show what’s inside.

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