Upgrading Your Outdoor Living Space with Landscape Lighting

Does the beauty and functionality of your yard disappear with the sun?

The daylight might make your backyard picture perfect. But what happens after dark?

Let Your Yard’s Beauty Shine with Outdoor Lighting

IMG_4622With nightfall, all you really need for your yard to stand out and be inviting is some outdoor lighting.  Proper landscape lighting not only extends the time you are able to spend in your outdoor space, but it will also transform your backyards overall appearance. Lighting can make it look larger, as well as more interesting and even cozier, and inviting after dark.

Outdoor Lighting Techniques

There are two main types of lighting that can be used in order to achieve a number of looks: up lighting and down lighting.

It is very typical to incorporate about 70% of up lighting with 30% of down lighting when designing your landscape lighting. This provides a mix of different shades, brightness and dimming factors. Also consider these front of the home lighting schemes that can work when lighting up the exterior of your home.

  • Up Lighting: This type of lighting is used in order to shine light onto trees or up at beautiful architectural elements you want to draw attention to.  It is used to highlight and cast shadows. This can take a tree that looks ugly in the sunlight and turn it into an incredible piece of art at night.  The ideal way to create this effect is to position two lights that are shining up onto a tree from opposing directions.  Small trees that have foliage growing close to the ground work very well with this type of lighting.  By up lighting a gazebo or a sculpture lets you enjoy these pieces of art from the inside of your home, not just from the outside.
  • Down Lighting: Down lighting is used to light up a tree or structure from the top.  Though generally the light source is overhead, it may be lower to the ground as well – think of those mushroom-like solar path lights.   This type of lighting is also considered to be down lighting, and it works very well in order to light your walkways, stairs, and your planting beds.
  • Focused Spot Lighting:   This type of landscape lighting can be achieved by either an up or down configuration.  One light source is focused on a specific element.  Spot lighting is generally used to draw attention to a structure or planting in your yard.


As you are thinking about how much lighting you’ll need, take into account the purpose.  When considering path lighting keep in mind that less is more, meaning you do not want your pathway to look like you are trying to land a plane.  Positioning a few path lights near your flowers is a great way to highlight the beautiful colors at night while illuminating the walkway for safety reasons.  But if you’re lighting up an outdoor kitchen or patio area for nighttime gatherings, a variety of lighting that illuminates the space well is needed.

Don’t let that beautiful yard fade away at sunset.  Here at ALD we are a licensed MN outdoor lighting contractor specializing in low-voltage landscape lighting.  We can suggest outdoor lighting that can make your yard come alive and be more inviting (and safe) after dark.  Call us today for a free in-home consultation.   In the meantime, check out our Pinterest Landscape Lighting Looks board for some inspiration.