The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

3 Wash Lighting Ideas to Make Your LED Landscape Lighting Magical

Wash lighting ties your landscape and home's architecture together. The ambient light produced by wash lighting is the secret to a beautifully lit property. 

Lighting designers use different wash lighting techniques to set the stage for the mood their lighting will create. Transforming a space is all about capturing the details with soft accents that blend into the backdrop.

Do not think of wash light as a way to try and make your home appear brighter. Instead, think of it in terms of visual appeal. Often, less says more.  

Here are our favorite 3 wash lighting ideas to elevate your LED landscape lighting. 

3 Wash Lighting Ideas:

  • Washing a Space with Down Lighting

Down lighting, often refereed to as moon lighting, is the technique of hiding fixtures in obscure places up high, like in the branches of tall established trees, to project light downwards. When done correctly, this lighting technique produces a beautiful effect similar to moon light.  

In the image below, you can see a great example of how this pathway is being washed with a subtle down light from above to produce this moon light effect. Note the dappled shadows cast by the leafs. The aim is to mimic what would naturally occur in nature. The beauty in lighting can be seen in the small details. 


  • Washing the Architecture of a Home

Washing the different architectural pieces of your home with a splash of light can make a big difference in your home's curb appeal. However, lighting your home's architecture can require some finesse.

The goal is to capture the different textures and dimensions in the wall, brick, or stone work of your home's exterior. Playing with the positioning of the fixtures, as well as the beam spread and lumen output of the lamp inside the fixture, can help you discover the details in your home you may have missed or not noticed during the day time. 

In the image below, we can see an example of how wash lighting this home's architecture accentuates the rusted steel wall with the small shadows cast between the joints of the woven folds. These textures aren't defined or noticeable during the day time. 

The magic of lighting is found in the places where shadows reveal what wasn't seen before. 


  • Washing Ornamental Trees

In a beautifully orchestrated landscape design, its the little things that matter and make the biggest difference. Illuminating the ornamental trees in the landscape with a soft glow will speak volumes without the light being too loud. 

Washing a soft light on low trees, ornamental grasses, and small shrubs, can make all the difference. 

In the image below we see an example of how lowly toned lighting levels can still make these Japanese maples stand out. 


Some common problems people run into is trying to use wash lighting to make their lighting design bright and loud.

Indirect lighting, the light that reflects off different surfaces being, facilitate a real sense of ambiance. 

Beautiful lighting requires a light hand. Rather than aim for brightness, try aiming for dimension and composition through low ambient light levels.  Wash lighting techniques are a great example of what can be achieved when a gentle brush stroke is used in substitute of a large paint roller. 

Landscape Lighting Makes All The Difference

At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do. For over 15 years, our award winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people's homes and businesses across the Wasatch Front & beyond. 

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah installs, maintains, and repairs lighting systems throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis, and Utah Counties.

If you have an upcoming project you'd like help with, call (801)440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website,

Free Landscape Lighting Design Guide

Landscape Lighting Design