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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Down Lighting vs. Pathway Lighting

Down Lighting or Path Lighting?

You might be asking yourself what the best option for your landscape lighting design project might be; is there a benefit to one approach over the other? The answer may be yes or no. Consider your goals for the project, the span of the project, the limitations of the project, and which style might fit your needs best.


Let us take a look at traditional Path Lights and Tree/Architectural mounted Down Lights, so we can understand some of the differences and what is important to consider when choosing one for your landscape.

Path Lighting

Path lights, when strategically placed, create, in addition to security and safety for properties, an element of aesthetic charm and appeal.. I like to think of path lighting as a style of lighting that is naturally called to serve a deliberate purpose; creating small ground level pools of soft light. Path lights serve a specific purpose, and it's for this reason that they can be used to fulfill specific tasks: lighting a stairway, lighting a meandering pathway, or lighting a trail are but a few of the ways path lights can be used. Path lighting, ultimately, is used to help people walk safely at night from one place to another.


Down Lighting

Down lighting is when a light fixture is mounted carefully above an area you want to have illuminated at night. Typically, this specialized light fixture will be mounted to a mature tree trunk or limb. This type of fixture can also be mounted architecturally to a gable, soffit, or pergola. Try not to think of this as a flood light mounted to your back door, but rather, think of down lighting as something small and discrete that can be easily concealed. The purpose of down lighting is to duplicate, ever so softly and aesthetically, a light that is similar to moon light. In fact, down lighting is often referred to as Moon Lighting.


Using Path Lighting, Down Lighting or Both

Whenever I approach a project I really like to take in the atmosphere; learn all that I can about how a particular space will be utilized by visualizing it. I also like to study how Mother Nature will play a role in the design. Whenever I have a mature and well established canopy of tree's I like to consider whether Down Lighting from above will fit the overall scheme that we'd like to achieve. Approaching lighting this way allows for a beautiful and natural feel. We create light with dappled leafs and limbs shadowed over walkways and ground covers. Often the right amount of Down Lighting can replace the need for traditional path lights. However, sometimes it is also appropriate to use both in combination to create a superior visual effect overall.

Mother Nature is not always willing to lend a hand (or branch, if you will) and Path Lighting may be the only practical option. When this is the case, when a pathway must be properly lit, using path lights is best, because lighting pathways is the task path lights are meant for. It is my experience that Path Lighting can be overused and placed to close together in proximity. Remember that light and shadows, when inter played together, will create a beautiful and often needed result.



Give Us A Call:

To learn more about how down lighting and path lighting can work together to make your landscape beautiful, call us at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form at our website, www.utahlights.com.

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis and Utah Counties. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects throughout Utah and beyond.

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