Where to Place Outdoor Landscape Lighting: The Essential Info

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

where to place outdoor landscape lights solar light in flower bed

If you are looking at adding outdoor landscape lighting to your home, you will need to take some extra time to decide where exactly you are going to place your outdoor landscape lights. So the big question is where to place outdoor landscape lighting.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Design

One of the best things about adding outdoor landscape lights to your home is that it can bring out the true beauty of your house or patio. The right lighting will highlight all of the features you have worked so hard on, and with this knowledge, you can easily decide where to put the outdoor landscape lighting on your property.

The first thing to do when installing outdoor landscape lighting is to find a suitable place to install it. The best way to do this is by considering how large your property is, and what kind of lighting design you plan on going with.

You should also consider any features you might want your lighting to have.  Maybe you want dimmable lights, solar-powered lights. or outdoor string lights.  Having landscape lights that are smart home capable would give you more control over the overall lighting design as well in your outdoor space.

  • Find a place where there is adequate distance between each light fixture, and make sure that area cannot be blocked out by anything such as trees or bushes.
  • You should place lights around the outer edges of your home and have at least one in the middle. This will ensure that the front and back of your property are well lit up.
  • Keep in mind how far your lights would have to travel to reach their destination. For example, by placing a light on a corner it could easily hit a tree that dwells over it so make sure wherever you put them you know they can be seen from afar.
  • It is not enough to just have outdoor landscape lighting, the lights need to be set up so they work together.


Where Should You Put Your Lighting?

In order to find out what kind of design to go with when adding outdoor landscape lighting to your home, you will want to do some research and see how other properties have implemented them into their designs.

Think about the layout of your backyard, patio, or pool area.  Are there certain areas or landscape features you might want to highlight?  Maybe there is a tree, flower bed, or water feature you want to spotlight.  If you have a path from your deck to the pool you might want to line that with stake lights to light the way safely at night.

Staying Safe and Sound

Another thing to keep in mind is safety around your home when deciding on where to place lights in your outdoor landscape lighting design.

If you are like most folks, you cannot see far in the dark, you will want to make sure to place lights in these darker unlit areas as well. Lighting up your backyard and the front of your house are also important.

If your neighbors can access your property or you have frequent visitors, lighting pathway walkways and also keeping them well lit when needed is a great idea.

If you have kids they may need a little extra lighting outside as well.  It is important to make sure you can safely navigate your outdoor landscape in the dark if need be.  You don’t want to accidentally walk into the pool or garden.

Creating the Desired Outdoor Lighting Effect

Let’s face it the reason why most people install outdoor lighting is to create a “mood” or ambiance in their outdoor space at night.  There are few things to keep in mind when going through the placement of the outdoor lights

  • Don’t overlap light “pools”. This means you are installing the lights to close together if the light patterns or pools of light overlap
  • Try to space lights so they cast a 4 or 5 ft area of light.
  • Install the lights high enough to adequately light the area you need
  • Don’t put the lights too close to the base of your home, since that might limit the desired light effect
  • Avoid the “runway” effect offset your lights, which makes the lighting more appealing to the eye
  • If installing low voltage outdoor landscape lighting, make sure to get a transformer capable of handling all the lights you want to add.
  • Think about the types of bulbs you will be using as well fluorescent bulbs, incandescent bulbs, and led bulbs put off different types of light.
  • Be aware of the area you are installing the outdoor lighting, for instance are you installing the lights in wet locations, or locations with large amounts of foliage.

Draw Up an Outdoor Lighting Plan

After you have decided what you want, you need to visualize where you are going to place the outdoor lights.  The best way to do that is to sketch it out.

In the sketch, you need to include any existing buildings, lights, garden walkways, and other landscaping.  Each of these different items in the outdoor landscape could affect the way the outdoor lights work in your landscape.

You also might want to consider the height of objects around your yard, especially any trees and any larger bushes.

Putting the Outdoor Lighting Plan in Motion

Decide what you want to achieve with the outdoor landscape lighting. You need to decide if the lights will accent your home, provide a path to an area of interest, or illuminate a certain object or outdoor space. Once you have decided this, you can then place and install lights around the areas in your property that need lighting.

 Outdoor Landscape Lighting FAQ

Where should you place outdoor landscape lighting?

You should focus on not putting the lights in a straight line.  Placing outdoor lights in a straight line makes your walkways look like runways at the local airport.  You want to stagger the lights to give a more unique and inviting pathway.

Where to place landscaping lights?

While it is obvious that you would want to place lighting on well-used paths to and from your home.  Don’t overlook second-thought of locations like dark corners of your yard, or having a light place some emphasis on the second floor or your home.  Outdoor string lights hung up in a backyard or pool area provide just ample lighting for ambiance and safety but don’t light up your yard like a wall mounted flood light.

  It could prevent you from taking full advantage of the safety, security, and beauty that landscape lighting has to offer.

If you are worried about security in your home you will want to place motion sensing security lights on the exterior surface of your home, usually in locations that are out of reach of a normal-sized person.

How much does outdoor lighting cost to install?

The individual outdoor landscape lights start at around 20 dollars at your local home improvement or hardware store. A transformer that is needed for the low-voltage landscape lighting costs about $200, and a low-voltage wire costs 70 cents per foot.

A pro will typically install a 10-light system for between $2000 – $3000 depending on the type of fixtures you selected.

How long do outdoor landscaping fixtures last?

Manufacturer warranties on fixtures and low voltage transformers can range from one to 10 years long.

Outdoor landscape lighting fixtures made of brass, copper, or stainless steel should last indefinitely, as long as they are cared for properly.

How Much Maintenance is Required?

Landscaping professionals recommend checking bulbs every six months; homeowners should do so annually.

It is important to replace burnt-out bulbs quickly so that no other bulbs in the system are not overloaded from the extra voltage.

Keeping leaves, debris, and insects away from the lights is important to keep the lights operating correctly

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