We are open for business — and following all health and safety guidelines during COVID-19.

The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Answering 3 Questions about Landscape Lighting Design

1. What Should Be My First Considerations for my Lighting Design?

The number one thing your lighting designer will invite you to think about is the way you use and enjoy your outdoor living space.

Your front yard is something you light for everyone else. Your backyard is for you and your own personal enjoyment. This is why thinking about your outdoor living space should be a top priority.

Do you entertain a lot? If you enjoy entertaining friends and family, you may want to consider incorporating design elements that will help you create a more festive atmosphere.

Do you use your outdoor living space as more of an escape? If this is the case, then the design will need to be more geared towards creating low ambient light levels to softly accent your personal haven.


Do you like having dinner on the back patio/does your outdoor kitchen need some functional light? You should consider the need for functional task light as well as light that provides beauty. 

Are there stairs and pathways being traversed in the evening? If so, these potential trip/safety hazards should definitely be considered in the design.

If you have a putting green, swimming pool, pergola, etc. these should also be taken into consideration for your design.


2. What Fixtures Will Add Character to My Landscape?

When it comes to lighting design, our concern should be focused on the effect. Lighting designer’s design with light, not fixtures. We first look at what effect we’d like to create, then select a fixture that will necessitate that.

There are a lot of decorative fixtures out there with a lot of character. Keep in mind, however, that what might look good now, might look dated and out of style in a few years. A good lighting designer will steer you in the right direction in selecting fixtures that look timeless and age well. And of course, they will make sure the fixture will provide.

Here are some fixtures to consider:

  • Pendent lights are great for adding beauty and a bit of interest. These lights don’t provide a lot of function. But what they lack in function they make up volumes for with a splash of magic. 
  • Path lights are also the most visibly noticeable light in the landscape. With so many different path light options available there is sure to be an option that will blend fabulously into your landscape.

Disclaimer about Path Lights

Be mindful that not all path lights are made equal. A beautifully ornate aluminum path light might look great conceptually, but it probably won’t last the way you’d hope. Path lights take a lot of abuse (more than almost any other fixture) and need to be able to rise to the occasion if something were to potentially cause damage. But not to worry, your lighting designer won’t steer you wrong: they will only recommend fixtures they know can stand up to the test of time.


3. How Should Path Lights be spaced for Walkways and Stairs?

Path lights get misused and abused a lot. In poorly conceived landscape lighting designs, you’ll see path lights in the middle of flower beds, attached to fence posts, you name it. Path lights should be used purposefully for lighting pathways and steps.

  • Even spacing and balanced composition is the key to good path lighting.
  • Path light spacing for walkways can largely depend on the scope and scale of the walkway being lit. The path light should coincide with the size of the pathway to provide light coverage across the path in a way that lines up evenly with other path lights.
  • Path lights can alternate from right to left going up a winding path to eliminate the feeling of a runway that is often created when path lights are spaced directly across from one another periodically up the path. But sometimes this runway effect can be desirable. It all just depends on the project.
  • Keep in mind that there are situations where path lights can be avoided all together. Consult with your lighting designer to see if there are other options for lighting your stairs and pathways without the need for path lights. 

 Burton-134-HDR_B Edit

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.

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.

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

Free Landscape Lighting Design Guide

Landscape Lighting Installation | Landscape Lighting Design | Hiring a Lighting Professional