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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

3 Wash Lighting Tips for a Spectacular Outdoor Lighting Effects

Wash lighting is one of the secret ingredients to creating beautiful outdoor lighting design. However, understanding how to incorporate wash lighting can be tricky. In this post, we discuss tips for how and where wash lighting can be used to light your home or property.

What is wash lighting?

Its in the name: wash lighting is where a light source is used to cast light onto a flat surface. The best example of wash lighting we've all seen is the lighting on billboards. Commercial lighting like that seen on billboards, however, is very different from the wash lighting desired for residential applications.  

When it comes to residential wash lighting, we are looking for low, warmly toned, lighting levels.

Architectural elements


Throwing a splash of light on your home's walls, pillars, dormers, and other unique features, is where wash lighting adds a lot to your home's aesthetics. Wash lighting your home's architectural elements can be done by up lighting your home from the foundation. This technique can cast light on walls revealing unique textures through shadows. Balance is the key.

Not sure what to light? take a close look at your home and ask yourself which features make your home unique, or which features are important to you. 

For some the area around the entrance is whats most important. For others, it might be the stone work on their home's facade. It all really just comes down to whats most important to you. 

The goal is to light the different architectural pieces across the front of the home to help the viewer's eye smoothly travel from one piece to the next.


Retaining walls and large bolder

Sometimes lighting isn't about capturing just the large pieces like your home. Rather than only focus on the centerpiece, it can be advantageous to illuminate the surrounding areas. 


Wash lighting exterior walls, retaining walls, and large boulders can soften the edges of your outdoor space. Softly washing boulders and lower retaining walls will help showcase important transitional elements. Dark holes or patches in the landscape can feel like vast voids of emptiness. Soften these dark areas with a splash of wash lighting where it can be used. 

Creating ambiance can be challenging. Adding a backdrop by lighting elements other than trees and pathways can make all the difference. 


Wash walls inside structures

Getting creative with wall washing effects can enhance your outdoor living spaces in so many ways. Are there sitting walls around your patio area? Does the bar top have an overhang with beautiful stone work below? Illuminating the areas where you spend time can your outdoor living more functional and beautiful. 


Time spent outside in the evening should be spent relaxing and enjoying the ambiance of your outdoor space. In addition to wash lighting, there are many other lighting techniques that can be used to cast your landscape in the right light. 

From up lighting trees to moon lighting patios, the possibilities are endless. 

If your planning to have some lighting done around your home, be sure wash lighting doesn't go overlooked. 

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 and beyond.

If you have an upcoming project you’d like help with, call us at

(801)440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com

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 & Utah Counties.

Landscape Lighting Design | Commercial Lighting | Lighting Design | Outdoor Lights