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Landscape Lighting Techniques | Uplighting & Down lighting

The majority of landscape lighting effects are produced by fixtures that are difficult to see from a landscape perspective.

The lights that illuminate this entrance are just barely visible at the bottom. This is known as indirect lighting. The light fixture's intended purpose is to illuminate a part of the landscape while remaining invisible. It is either buried low in the ground, hidden by vegetation, or covered by a bush.

This light may be used by a clever outdoor lighting designer to produce zones of direct lighting, the other areas are lit up by reflected light off of the directed light zone and light that spills over it.

Accent lights, well lights, in-ground lights, or wall wash lights are frequently used for up lighting.

Here are some techniques that the designers disposal.

Front Lighting

The simplest type of up lighting is lighting from the front involves placing a single fixture in front of the object to be lighted and directing the light at it. This method works well for tiny shrubs and plants. On the wall behind the plant, as well as on the trees inside the landscape, lighting from the front may produce dramatic effects of light and shadow.


When front-lighting is directed on an object, and the direction of the light is the wall behind, the effect of shadowing is produced, which causes shadows to be formed on the wall. When there is only one fixture, shadowing is most effective; however, when there are two or more fixtures, the shadows will be more obvious.

While unintentional shadowing may be a terrific way to add visual flair, it can also be visually confusing and impair clear vision. Try to limit the use of shadowing to walls and flat surfaces.

Cross Lighting

Cross lighting is a better option for illumination than front lighting for medium to big shrubs and taller trees. When cross lighting an object like a tree, p lace one light on each side of the object, aiming them so that their beams cross in the middl. Cross lighting gives the object a more even illumination while adding depth and dimension.

Furthermore, it provides optimal viewing from all angles. If you want to light an object to be seen both from the street and from the interior of the house, assembling the fixtures so that one is on the front and the other is on the back of the object will create a cross lighting effect that looks wonderful from both perspectives.

Back Lighting

When an item is backlit, it appears as a shadow rather than a positive shape because the light is shining on it from behind. That is back lighting.

Back lighting
Back lighting appears as a shadow rather than a positive shape

Silhouette lighting is a type of back lighting, in which a light is positioned behind an item in front of a wall to illuminate the wall. In contrast to the brighter wall behind it, the object once more casts a shadow or a silhouette and forms a dark shape.

Wall Wash

In order to create a light zone in the architecture, a light is positioned in front of a wall and pointed up towards the wall. That is wall washing.

Wall Wash Lighting
Wall Wash Lighting

In general, grazing is a wall wash with a light where the fixture is set extremely close to the wall, around 6 inches away, and aimed either straight up or at a sharp angle from the side. Grazing generates dramatic shadowing effects with the interesting textures of the material and is particularly effective on highly textured surfaces like brick, stone, or stucco.

Mirror Lighting

By cross-lighting a tree or other big object behind the water or the lake, mirror lighting makes use of the mirrored surface of a pond or pool to produce a dynamic, eye-catching source of reflection light. This is called mirror lighting.

Mirror Lighting
Mirror Lighting

Down Lighting

When a light source is above a lighted object and shines downward toward the ground rather than upward into the atmosphere, this is referred to as down lighting. Down lighting is the sole choice for illumination in some regions since up lighting is prohibited by local laws. However, there are plenty fixtures available for down lighting, including Path lights, hardscape lights, deck lights, and step lights. Accent lights can also be pointed downward when installed in trees, on walls, beneath soffits, on pergolas, or on other textural components.

Down Lighting
Down Lighting

Moonlight Effects

The creation of moonlight effects is one of the most popular down lighting techniques. In order to do this, a light or fixtures are installed very high in a tree, and the beam is directed through the branches to create intriguing shadows on the ground. This effectively lights a large area of the land and adds soothing natural light which resembles moonlight. It works well for front yards or driveways that need to be used at night.

Moonlight VS Uplighting
Moonlight VS Uplighting

Activity Lighting

The above-mentioned subtle lighting effects won't work if there are areas of the property that will be utilized for activities that require adequate light to see well. such as basketball courts or a yard where the family does sports after work, etc.

Basketbal court lighting
Basketbal court lighting

Install accent lighting in trees, on walls, or under a soffit to provide sufficient lighting. Here, cross lighting may be required to remove shadows from the activity area. In this large pool area. The walking path has accent lights installed on the trees to provide illumination.

Specialty Lighting

We will consider all of the up lighting or down lighting techniques used in specialty lighting. In a range of typical landscape lighting applications, the lights are intended to provide these effects.

Path Lights

Path lights may be the emblem of landscape lighting because they are the fixtures in a landscape lighting installation that you can see. However, they may also be among the most problematic.

They are more prone to damage because they stick up out of the ground, and too many of them give off an unprofessional-looking Runway effect. They are a useful addition to the designers' toolkit when used wisely, though. Always utilize path lighting in landscaping that won't be disturbed, since maintaining the lawn or flower beds may hasten their mortality.

They are frequently inserted into tiny plants or other landscaping elements to provide downlighting effects. A good safety installation way might be positioning path light close to a step or a curve in the sidewalk. It's often a good idea to use reflected light off of walls or plant material to illuminate long and straight sidewalks.

Solar Bollard Lights
Bollard Lights

The way a bollard light functions is similar to how a path light does, but it creates a gently glowing focal point in the landscape by hiding the light source in a long blurred glass tube.

Deck Lights / Post Lights

Different deck and post lights are available that are made to work with decks and wooden fences. These are usually very tiny fixtures that cast light onto the ground underneath them. Locating objects that might be a danger to safety, such as steps, deck corners, or other obstructions. To add a flair to the landscape lighting design, posed lights install on the 4 x 4 post.

LED strip lights are available that may be fixed on decks, steps, benches, or other hardscapes.

Step Lights

There are also step lights that may be installed in concrete, brick paver, or wooden steps. They provide safety by illuminating the boundaries of stairs.

Hardscape lights

Hardscape lights function similarly to deck lights, with the exception that they are made to move between Hardscape blocks for simple installation. Tape lights are mounted easily to almost any surface. They are excellent for fences and hardscapes. They offer an easy plug-and-play installation and may be shortened to length.

How is the Light Intensity Adjusted?

Now that we've spoken about the lighting techniques available to designers. Let's take a minute to think about certain characteristics of light that will enable you to utilize these lighting techniques to their full potential.

As we've seen, the majority of landscape lights point upwards or downwards. Bollards are one exception where where the light source is visible and is muted by the textured glass cover. Bollards are one example where the light source is visible and aim towards plant material or architectural. There are two major techniques to change the lighting style and intensity of the light.

1. Change the fixtures' Lumen output

Different Lumens
Different Lumens

The lumen output measures the intensity of light, a 352 Lumen light will provide more light than a 116 Lumen light. Be aware that two fixtures with the same wattage may produce different amounts of light (lumens). In the past, many experts would refer to the light's wattage to describe the brightness of the light. Lumens are a more exact way to measure output with modern LED lighting.

2. Change the beam dispersion

different beam dispersion of the light
Change beam dispersion of the light

The beam spread of accent lights also influences light intensity, if two lights have the same Lumen output, the narrower beam spread fixture concentrates the light output over a smaller area than the broader beam spread fixture. The light generated by the fixture was the same quantity; it was simply distributed differently.

Principles of Light

An performer on stage is directly lighted while he is in the spotlight. If you've ever been in this position, you are aware that the spot lights are distracting and not very pleasant. This explains why indirect lighting is used so often in landscape lighting. That is, no one in the landscape should be able to see the illumination source.

Stage Lighting
An performer on stage is directly lighted while he is in the spotlight. If you've ever been in this position, you are aware that the spot lights are distracting and not very pleasant.

The purpose of landscape lighting is to brighten an area by shining lights on objects such as trees, plants, walls, or other architectural aspects. Although this involves lighting architectural features and the landscape layout directly, the area is indirectly lit throughout.

Maintaining light where you want it and preventing it from traveling where you don't is one of the major issues for the lighting designer.

You must take action to avoid glare. When spectators are directly exposed to a fixture, they will be blinded by the Light Source. You have a variety of tools at your disposal to cope with this issue, including buried well lights and louvers. Keep in mind that you must take into account all possible views that people may have of a lit area, including views of a house's inside and exterior from an outdoor living space.

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