The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Downlighting & Uplighting: When to Use Each Landscape Lighting Technique

Landscape lighting is meant to enhance and beautify your property. It should create a space that draws you out after dark. The goal we have when lighting a landscape is to bridge the gap between an indoor living room and an outdoor living room. We want you to want to out in your outdoor living spaces and enjoy them even after the sun goes down. 

While there are so many ways to bring light to an outdoor living space and landscape, there are two techniques that are widely used, up lighting and down lighting. Knowing when to use an uplight vs a downlight can be tough if you are not an experienced professional. Here are a few examples of how each technique should be used around a property. 



Up lighting is a technique that lights from the ground up. The fixture is placed down at, or near, the base of an object to illuminate it from below. When the light is cast upward from the base, it helps capture the beauty of whatever is being lit. This helps to create a backdrop to the rest of the home and help define perimeters and spaces around the property. 

This lighting technique is best used when lighting trees, architecture, water features, and statues. It highlights all delicate and beautiful features each of these elements have to offer. Too often our architecture, water features, or landscaping get lost when the sun goes down. When we light these elements, it creates a very balanced and appealing look to your home at night that would otherwise not be there. 



When the property allows, downlighting is a great technique for lighting from above. The fixture is mounted high up in a tree, architecture, or structure to cast light on the space underneath. It creates an effect that embodies the feeling of 'moonlight'. Since it comes from above, the subtle light that is casts makes it feel extremely natural and beautiful. 

This lighting technique is great for lighting walkways, dinning areas, outdoor living spaces, driveways, and certain beds of landscaping. Downlighting guides those walking on a path safely, helps you and guests see what you are eating when dining, allows you to be in your outdoor living space after dark, and simply brings light to all the different areas of your home that can be a hazard or unusable at night. 

Combination of both 


When you use both up lights and down lights in conjunction with one another, they bring a very cohesive feel to your landscape. The combination of the two brings this beautiful harmony to the property. Using just one or the other however, can create a disconnect and a line of demarcation that is visually unappealing. It makes the source of light very noticeable, which is not something that is desired with your landscape lighting. Up and down lights when used together makes it hard to see and know where one light source stops and the other begins. All you see is a harmonious, natural looking light. 

Are you in need of landscape lighting?

If you are looking for a high quality landscape lighting system for your home but don't know where to start, take the first step and request a consultation here! Let our designers create not only a functional property, but one that highlights the beauty of your home even at night. 

At Landscape Lighting Pro, 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 nearly 20 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. 

Free Landscape Lighting Hiring Guide


Outdoor Lighting | Low Voltage Landscape Lighting