Landscape lighting is subtle, but adds a huge effect to the aesthetics of your home. Sadly, many people neglect the effects that lighting can bring to a home’s outdoor features. Lighting can turn a bland, dark backyard into a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that you’ll love to spend your evenings in. Make your backyard the best room you’ve got by adding some landscape lighting features, or bring your front yard to life by accentuating its architectural features or the features your yard has to offer.

Below, we’ll cover the most basic and popular types of landscape lighting, and how each can be used to make your own home look incredible, even at night. By understanding these basic landscape lighting types, you can easily communicate your goals with a lighting designer, electrician, or light pro at the hardware store. With this guide, transforming your outdoor lighting is super easy.


1.             Path Lighting

These lights are used to illuminate walking paths and driveways. They not only improve safety, but also add a touch of elegance to your evening entryway. Path lightinghas come a long way in recent years, and has become as easy as putting solar powered lights in the ground and boom – you’re done. If you’re looking for something a bit more reliable and long-lasting, a low-voltage system can be installed and wired to a junction box. The most recent trend in path lighting is LED lights embedded into your walking paths. These come in a multitude of colors, giving you some fun options to play with for your walkways. The wire is buried underground, giving your path lighting a clean look that works even on the rainiest of days.

2.            Lanterns

These give a warm ambiance to any landscape. They come in numerous styles. Lanterns are typically connected directly to the house current, or comes with a 12 volt transformer for plugging into an outlet. A popular style is candle lanterns. Candle lanterns add sophistication, style, and a hint of nostalgia for simpler times to any landscape. Lanterns are typically used to encircle patios, pools, decks, porches, and can even be hung on posts and used as path lighting. You can even hang them in trees to really turn your yard into a dreamy place to sit and hang out at night. When working with lanterns, it’s important to work with a designer or a professional experienced in landscape lighting as it can be tricky to get “right” stylistically.

3.            Downlighting

These are placed overhead and cast light downward. They’re extremely common for lighting front porches, as they have a higher surface area than other lighting types. These are hardwired into the ceiling and connected to the house’s current.

4.          Flood Lights/Spotlights

Flood lights and spotlights, are used to shine light on a specific feature. This could be a statue, a tree, a garden, a fountain, or even the front of your house. The difference between the two is that spotlights shine a much more direct beam, whereas flood lights are designed to cast a wide light and “flood” the area. Spotlights are concentrated so it’s not recommended that they be shined in the direction of windows. Both lighting types are wired underground like low-voltage path lighting. There are also solar options available. These lights work best when they’re hidden among rocks or other landscape decorations so that they’re not taking away from the aesthetics of your landscape.

5.            Shadow Lighting

This is a newer trend that involves casting a shadow on a surface by shining light in front of an object. The light is installed in the same manner as flood lights and spot lights, and then the object is placed in front of it and the light is pointed towards it and slightly upwards. Shadow lights are customizable and give you a wide variety of options to play with for lighting your landscape.


Getting your landscape lights right is important when it comes to making the most out of your yard. With the right combination of lights fitted in the best spots, you can have a yard that just begs to be the host of the best BBQ in town or transform into your own personal zen space. Use this guide to get started on ideas for how you want to maximize your outdoor space, and you’ll be well on your way to getting the yard you’ve dreamed of.