Outdoor Lighting – Dos & Don’ts

Aug 11, 2021

When done well, landscape lighting does more than just provide function and safety to your home. It also creates an atmosphere that increases the curb appeal of your home and makes entertaining outside feel special.  

Outdoor lighting is more than just pointing lights at trees or lining them up along walkways. A well-designed system provides many benefits beyond the basics. Of course, bright lights that increase visibility enhance safety. But by strategically playing with the relationship between light and shadow, outdoor lighting can transform and elevate your home. 

For example, when you combine wide, diffused lights and gentle down-lighting, it creates stunning layers and a relaxed mood. Spotlights focused on interesting features creates a sense of drama through contrast. 

Creating an outdoor lighting scheme that truly wows is difficult without the help of a lighting designer. Whether you are committed to doing it yourself, or working with a professional, below are a few dos and don’ts to think about as you continue your outdoor lighting project.


Use Multiple Layers of Light

Light looks most balanced when you use several layers. For example, you can use spotlights with different angles to illuminate a garden statue or pillar, which will look more sophisticated than a single spotlight. 

Just be careful not to overdo the number of fixtures when creating layers. A professional lighting designer will know where to place fixtures so your outdoor space doesn’t appear cluttered. 

Warm lighting

Cool toned outdoor lighting can make landscaping look dull and less vibrant. Opt for warm white lights that look natural outdoors. Typically, lights between 2700K and 3000K look best for outdoor use. 

Use a variety of Lighting

Using the same brightness in every outdoor light fixture will make your landscape look flat. Instead, vary the brightnesses to create texture and depth. 

It’s also important to vary the types of outdoor lighting fixtures you use throughout your outdoor space. Instead of using all of one type of fixture, choose a variety of fixtures including spotlights, path lights, wall sconces, lanterns, and recessed lights. 

LED Lights 

LED outdoor lighting is the current industry standard for many reasons. They give off less heat than incandescent bulbs, which makes them safer. They use far less energy as well, so you can save on your energy bill and reduce the environmental impact of your outdoor lights. Today’s LED bulbs are available in a wide variety of color temperatures, brightnesses, and shapes.


Brighter isn’t always better

Super bright lights are not necessarily the best option for outdoor lighting. While you may feel the urge to use fewer, brighter lights to cut costs, the visual appeal of many slightly dimmer lights is worth the investment. It is also best not to shine bright lights directly onto your home, but instead create drama by filtering the light through trees and other landscaping features. 

Bury Wires, Don’t Cover Them

For your safety and to avoid the hassle of replacing fixtures, be sure to bury your wires completely underground. It may be tempting to simply cover them with mulch, but you then run the risk of accidentally running over them with a mower or having them come uncovered in the rain. The best option is to bury them underground, then forget they are there and enjoy your lighting. 

Pathway Lighting

Don’t use path lights that point upward. Instead, use down lighting to make them safer to navigate at any time of day. 

Also, try to avoid placing light fixtures in one straight line along your pathway. Staggering the fixtures looks more visually interesting and more natural.

Overlook Staircase Lighting

Often, people will light staircases the same way they light pathways. This can cause lots of unwanted shadows on staircases. 

When lighting stairs, you can install recessed lights underneath each step. This makes it easy to see where you are stepping at night for enhanced safety and comfort. 

TCP Lighting

Ready to start your outdoor lighting project? TCP is here to help! We offer a wide variety of LED outdoor lighting that will make your home beautiful, safe, and functional. 

Whether you’re shopping for outdoor lighting for patios, pathways, porches, or landscaping, TCP has a high quality outdoor lighting fixture you’ll love.

Click here to shop outdoor lighting from TCP. 

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