The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Our 3 Favorite Pathway Lighting Techniques for Residences

There are so many reasons why we want our pathways lit. In this post, we look at a few path lighting techniques that can help make your home a safer place to walk around at night.

When we traverse our properties at night, its comforting to know that everyone can find their way.  We don't want to worry that someone might trip or fall. This can be especially important when there are guests over who may be unfamiliar with the layout of your walkways and elevation changes. There is a certain comfort that comes with knowing that everyone can find their way around your property safely. 

Task light is important for making our homes safe and avoiding any trip hazards. But there are countless methods that can be used to mark and illuminate a walkway.  Finding the best solution for your property can be challenging. Here are some of our favorite techniques for lighting walkways. 

1. Traditional Path Lighting

Pathway lights Sugar House Utah

The traditional path light is one of the most versatile fixtures. This fixture is made up of a post with a top hat. Housed inside the top hat, there is a light bulb that emits light downward onto the path. The idea is that the top hat blocks glare from the light source so we can experience the light's effect without directly seeing the source. 

Traditional path lights come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. whether you have a more traditional home, or something more contemporary, there is a path light that can complement your home's aesthetics.

Low Voltage vs. Solar

You'll find there is a big difference between solar powered path lights, and low voltage powered path lights. Solar path lights emit very little light, and tend to simply mark the the outline of a path, rather than reveal the path. They also break easily and are built from hard plastics.

Path lights powered by a low voltage landscape lighting system are actually wired into your home's power, and cast a light that will reveal the path.  Its important to be selective about fixture options. You'll want something robust  and engineered to stand the test of time.

At the end of the day, a quality landscape lighting fixture will give you much better results.

2. Down Lighting


Down lighting is one of our favorite path lighting techniques. This type of lighting does require a few prerequisites in order for it to work properly. Established trees, for instance, will make down lighting a magical experience.

A down light is a fixture that is mounted high up in an established tree, or off the architecture of a home's soffit. The light is then aimed down onto the path below. A soft wash of light is cast over the path, creating a dreamy moonlight effect. If there are a few branches to obscure a small portion of the light, even better! The dappling of the leaves' shadows on the ground help to make the effect feel more natural. 

While down lighting can require finesse, its definitely one of our favorite methods for lighting pathways. 

3. Recessed Tread Lights for Steps

Recessed Tread Lights Sandy Utah

Places with elevation changes pose the biggest hazard. Steps and stairways especially need to be lit for safety. One of our favorite ways to light a stair case is with a recessed tread light. A tread light is a fixture fixed back into the vertical face of a step that directs light down onto the horizontal surface below. 

The louvers (the gaps that allow the light to shine through) keep the light from shining in your eyes. These lights are also great for lighting steps because they are low profile and blend into the step during the day time.

In Conclusion

There are numerous ways to light a path or set of steps. For instance, many steps can be lit with any of these three path lighting approaches we touched on.

Keeping your walkways safe is important! No one wants to have someone fall or get hurt because they couldn't see where they were going.

If your thinking about lighting your paths or steps, try and think about it from different angles. Have fun with it! It your still not sure where to get started, consider meeting with your local landscape lighting designer. With years of experience, they'll be able to quickly help you find the best way to light your path. 

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.

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,

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.



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