The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

How to Pick Out Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Fixtures For Your Yard

Whether you're already familiar with landscape lighting fixtures, or are just getting started, this guide will help familiarize you with fixture types, uses, selections, and applications. Different fixtures are used around the landscape to add both beauty and function. In fact, the topic of form and function might be a good place for us to get started. 

fixtures for task vs. accent

With good landscape lighting design, everything comes down to form and function.  It is important to understand the difference between task lighting and accent lighting.

task lighting

Task lighting refers to light fixtures that have a certain task or function to perform. Task lighting has a role to play and that role is safety. Task lighting fixtures are the fixtures used to help us see at night, keep us safe, and add security around our homes & properties. 

Here are a few examples of common task lighting fixtures and where they are used in a well-thought-out lighting design:

  1. Path Lights
    Whether you've seen them driving around your neighborhood, or came across them doing other online research, you are probably already familiar with what these look like. These fixtures are pretty straightforward: their name really implies what they are used for. They are used to illuminate walkways and pathways so no one stumbles or falls in the dark. They come in a wide variety of styles and looks (more than any other landscape fixture). Selection should be made with extra care since these are the fixtures people will notice more than any other in your landscape. 

  2. Step Lights
    Steps lights are fixtures that cast light down onto the stairway coming off the back deck or patio. By splashing light over the stairs it helps people with safety going down them. Tread Lights are the most common fixture to light your stairs. If you want to know more about other ways to light up your stairs click here!
  3. Down Lights 
    Down lights, also known as moon lights, are fixtures placed high up in the trees or on the architecture of the home to cast a soft light over whatever space needs to be lit. Click here to learn more about moonlighting and how it works.



Accent lighting 

If task lighting adds functional lighting then what is accent lighting? Accent lighting is there to add beauty and visual control to our surroundings. Accent lighting is used to add form, and to cast lighting on key landscape features like trees, ponds, and outdoor living spaces. 

Here are some examples of task lighting and a few ways to use them around your property:

  1. Directional Up Lights
    This fixture helps to highlight the different trees in your yard. Sometimes referred to as bullet lights, they can also be used to light things like fountains and statues. If you want more information about where to use up lighting, click here. directional_up_light
  2. Wash Lights
    These lights help cast light on walls, larger architectural pieces, wide shrubs, etc. These specific lights are used to throw a soft, subdued, light with a wider beam spread. If you'd like to learn more about LED beam angles, lumen outputs, and kelvin temperatures, click here.

  3. Ornamental Fixtures
    These fixtures are really meant to just be pretty to look at. There are numerous examples we could use to show an ornamental fixture, but one that really comes to mind - it happens to also be one of my favorites - is a water sphere. Take a look at the picture below. This submersible fixture is a handblown glass orb that floats in a pond or other water features. This fixture is used to add a splash of color and add some visual interest.

where do I go from here?

Now that you are more familiar with some of the basic landscape lighting fixtures, you're ready to get started!

Figuring out how to approach lighting for your own home or property is simple if you remember two things: how task lighting and accent lighting are used to add both form and function to your outdoor living space.

Still not sure where to get started?

If you still need a little help figuring out how to light your home or property, check out our free lighting design guide. Download it for free by clicking the link below!

Free Landscape Lighting Design Guide

Still need help with your lighting? We'd love to hear more about your landscape lighting project! Our outdoor lighting designers have years of experience and can help you make your landscape a truly magical place after the sun goes down. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced lighting professional, click the link below! 


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 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. 

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting