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Landscape Lighting: Tips, Tricks, and Pitfalls

Landscape lighting has the power to turn ordinary outdoor spaces into something magical. When done right, it accentuates architectural details, highlights garden features, and increases home security. If you’re planning to incorporate or recommend landscape lighting to your clients, this comprehensive guide will ensure your illumination efforts are spot on.


1. When and Where to Use Different Colored Lights

Different colored lights evoke different moods and can be used for specific purposes:

  • Warm White/Yellow: Comparable to candlelight, it gives a cozy, intimate ambiance, perfect for patios and relaxation areas.
  • Cool White: Resembling bright daylight, it’s ideal for security lights or areas requiring clear visibility.
  • Colored Lights: These can give festive flair during holidays or special events. Always ensure they complement the overall design.

Provided by Alliance Outdoor Lighting.

2. Choosing the Right Uplight for Trees

The height, width, and texture of the tree dictate the kind of uplight you choose. Broad trees like oaks may require wider beam angles, while tall pines may benefit from narrow beams.

Provided by Kichler Lighting.

3. Aim for Balance

Over-illuminating a small space can make it look cluttered and intense. Strive for a harmonious and purposeful arrangement by positioning lights strategically.

4. Layer Your Lighting

Create depth by using a mix of ambient (general), task (specific-purpose, e.g., pathway lighting), and accent lighting (focused on a particular object or area).

5. Location Matters

Always place lights in the mulch or on walls. Avoid grassy areas to save landscape professionals the hassle of mowing around them.


1. Upselling Landscape Lighting

For existing landscaping projects, highlight the beauty, safety, and security benefits of adding landscape lighting. Showcase how it can make features pop and extend the usability of outdoor spaces into the evening.

2. Combat Light Pollution

Shielded fixtures or those with adjustable angles can help focus light where it’s needed, minimizing spill and glare. This respects both the environment and neighboring properties.

3. Avoiding Shadows and Dark Spots

Strategically position lights to steer clear of harsh shadows. For pathways, lights should be spaced approximately 6-8 feet apart for uniform illumination.

Provided by Kichler Lighting.

4. Mimic Moonlight

By mounting fixtures high in trees, you can recreate the natural, whimsical look of moonlight filtering through the branches, creating a serene landscape mood.


1. Under-quoting

It’s essential to provide an accurate quotation covering the cost of fixtures, installation, and potential additional expenses. An under-quote can strain client relationships and impact profitability.

2. Overlooking Maintenance Packages

Offering a biannual maintenance package is a win-win. It ensures lighting systems remain in prime condition and provides a consistent revenue stream. This service can include straightening fixtures, cleaning, and general yard upkeep.

3. Inconsistent Design

Consistency is key. Avoid mixing too many design styles, as it can lead to a chaotic appearance. Once you choose a theme, stay with it throughout the entire project.

4. Safety First

Improper wiring isn’t just a performance issue; it’s a safety hazard. Always ensure that electrical connections are weatherproof and adhere to local codes.

5. Avoid Overcrowding

As emphasized earlier, cramming too many lights into a compact space detracts from the desired ambiance. Balance is pivotal.

Provided by Kichler Lighting.

Bonus: Spotlight on Top Brands


When it comes to landscape lighting, some brands consistently outshine the competition. Among these luminaries are Kichler Lighting, FX Luminaire, Alliance Outdoor Lighting, and WAC Lighting. Notably, WAC and Kichler offer adjustable fixtures. This feature proves invaluable as it allows for the adjustment of the beam spread, accommodating the growth of trees or shrubs over time. Landscape lighting is a blend of artistic expression and careful calculation. When executed flawlessly, it elevates properties, ensuring they shine their brightest even after sundown. Remember these tips, tricks, and pitfalls to illuminate your clients’ landscapes masterfully.

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