The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Enhancing Outdoor Living Spaces After Dark With Beautiful Landscape Lighting Design

The best landscape lighting designs for outdoor living spaces are crafted by those who understand two things: that lighting is meant to be enjoyed in the evening , and that lighting needs to be tailored around the needs of the end user. 

Enjoying Your Backyard Landscape at Night Can Come Down to the Right Landscape Lighting

When the day is done and you're ready to unwind on the back patio, what makes the experience enjoyable? Is it the feeling of the warm summer breeze on your skin? Is it kicking up your feet with a cold beverage in hand? Is it taking your resolute position over the grill as you serve up some serious summertime barbecue? 


While the satisfaction you find in your summer evenings could be attributed to any number of experiences, these moments are all enjoyed because you had a chance to escape from the rest of the world (even if it was only for a moment). 

Your outdoor living space is your personal retreat, your getaway from all the madness that goes on during the day. 

That's why it's so important that this haven you've created for your evening delight is oriented around the way you live in and enjoy using a space. Having your outdoor lighting design tailored to your needs and designed for your evening enjoyment could be the most important aspect of your outdoor living.  

You've worked hard to build an escape. The evening is when you get to enjoy it. Lighting can either enhance or deflate your nightly ventures, depending on if it's done right.


Putting On Your Night Goggles

Creating a beautiful landscape lighting design means designing a system that will be enjoyed during the evening. This is more difficult for people than you might think. It sounds funny, obviously lighting is meant to be enjoyed at night. But envisioning what a space will actually look like at night with lighting just doesn't come naturally to very many people.


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Professional outdoor lighting designers know how to use, what could be termed, night goggles. They step back and try to envision what the space will look  like with illumination taking place in key places. 

It's not enough to just guess where a fixture should be placed. A lighting designer knows its more important to design with light in mind than fixture selection. Imagining where a fixture should be located and designing with light, are two different things. 

Designing with light means putting on our night goggles and thinking about lighting differently. It means thinking about how to create desired lighting effects & deciding on a fixture to facilitate that effect after the fact. 


Sage Advice: "Don't design with fixtures, design with light." 


Designing a Tailored Lighting System 

An experienced lighting designer's number one priority is learning how a space will be used at night. There are a number of questions they might ask their client.


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  • Will the space be used to entertain guests? If so, a designer will consider different approaches to help create some more festive lighting designs depending on the setting. If pool lighting is a consideration, for example, they might have the perimeter of the pool deck illuminated by tiki-lighters. These tall area lights provide a functional safety light with a tiki torch on top, that can be lit for the right occasion. Pool lighting can create a wonderful atmosphere when done in the right light.

  • Is safety & security a big concern? Elevation changes and steps always pose a danger in the dark. If safety lighting is a priority, a designer will look at places where there are trip hazards. The designer may also consider areas around the home where security lighting is lacking and design their lighting in such a way that it creates rings of security. (Layers of light to deter trespass).
  •   Is beauty & tranquility the priority? More often than people want lighting for the sheer beauty and ambiance it provides. When their outdoor living space is their retreat, it only makes sense that they would want this space to be warm, relaxing and inviting. When beauty is the focus, a designer will use the key elements in the landscape to accent and enhance the natural beauty of the scene. Elements such as water features, plant materials, statuary, etc., become the focus. It could be as simple as highlighting your favorite Japanese maple


Bringing It All Together

It's rare that a lighting project will only focus on one specific approach. It's likely that lighting for security, safety, festivities, and beautiful accents will all be a priority. This is the challenge of putting on night goggles and tailoring a design around the needs of the end user.




It requires an understanding of how to bring together several different elements into one cohesive design. This is why consulting with an experienced lighting designer can do wonders to help bring your relaxing getaway to life. 

To learn more about how to light your outdoor living space, call us at (801)440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website,

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

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