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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Our Top Resort-Living Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Landscape_Lighting_Ideas_Resort_propertyVacations are great, but creating resort-style life in your own backyard gives you that “I’m on vacation!” vibe any time.

Whether you own a ranch with expansive grounds and landscaping or a high-end home with a pool, spa, waterfall and outdoor kitchen, there’s one element that will bring it all to life.


Adding professional, artistic outdoor lighting to the elements of your resort-style living will extend your enjoyment of your amenities long past sundown.

Lighting adds ambiance and atmosphere, whether you’re enjoying a romantic evening with your partner or entertaining a crowd of friends.

Let’s take a look at some of our outdoor lighting ideas that lend the resort-living feel to your property, and the challenges of lighting them.

The right outdoor lighting can make you feel like you’re on vacation — even when you’re not

Swimming Pool Lighting

A swimming pool adds hours of resort-style splash during the day. But add lighting, and it becomes a magical place at night.

We love to light pools so they look beautiful from inside your home, as well as from the pool deck. With the right lighting you can enjoy its beauty even when you’re not inclined to take a dip.

We love installing moonlighting over pool decks, because who doesn’t love a moonlit swim?

If mature trees surround your pool, we install lights in the branches overhead to mimic natural moonlight. This creates intriguing shadows from branches and leaves onto the pool area.  

No trees? No problem. We can create a similar effect by mounting lights high on your home’s soffits or gables.

Spa Lighting

resort style outdoor lighting ideas

If your resort-style living includes a hot tub or spa, chances are you don’t want a lot of light invading your privacy.

But we love artistically lighting the landscaping that surrounds the spa, drawing  the eye to the pretty trees, shrubs and plantings, rather than the hot tub.

If your spa area is surrounded by mature trees, that majestic maple might need two or three fixtures to artistically light it, one with a narrow beam spread to penetrate high in the tree and another with a wider beam spread to softly accentuate the leaves and branches.

Flower beds surrounding your hot tub area look magical at night, with 2-to-4 watt LED lights nestled into the bark mulch.

The Tropical Look Of Tikis

Tiki torches have gone high-end. And they are one of the most overlooked resort-style, outdoor lighting ideas.

Consider professional grade tiki lights for your pool area or patio that offer not only a festive flame, but wired-in lighting, too.

Professional grade tiki lights are crafted of high-quality brass and copper and are hard-wired into your landscape.

Fill them with oil and use the wick for an authentic torch flame, or switch on the lights for illumination from a bulb.

Lighting Waterfalls

Landscape_Lighting_Ideas_WaterfallIf your resort-style living includes a waterfall in your landscape, wait until you see it illuminated at night.

It sparkles.

You might think a big waterfall needs one big punch of light. But if that’s all you do, you just have a brightly lit “hot spot” in the landscape.

It’s important to softly light the surrounding rocks and landscape, too, so the waterfall is part of the entire scene.

Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah installed the lighting for the largest residential waterfall in Utah. We used 12 lights in the water and 20 lights around the surrounding rocks.

Each light had its own distinct purpose. Some had a wider beam spread to offer a soft, diffused wash of light.

Some had a narrow beam spread, so the light traveled far enough to reach the tallest part of the waterfall.

Some lights highlighted the surrounding trees and landscape.

We might light a waterfall from underneath, so the light dances off the water. A wash light from the edge of the pond or from a tall tree nearby creates a soft flood of light.

Aiming light where the water hits the surface of the water catches the air bubbles, and highlights the movement.

It all adds up this: with these outdoor lighting ideas, why leave home?

Lighting An Expansive Space

Installing landscape lighting on a sprawling ranch property or around a contemporary home with an expansive yard requires a lot of calculations and expertise.

Voltage drop is a huge issue. If the distance between the power source and your light fixtures is too great, wattage will decrease, and your lights will be dim.

Try to put too many lights on a long run of wire, or use wire that isn’t hefty enough, and you have the same problem.

It takes some calculating to determine the right combination of distance, wattage, number of fixtures and wire gauge for the lighting to look and work just right.

A sprawling property also needs multiple transformers to provide power, often in a variety of sizes. More calculations.


landscape_lighting_ideas_ranchAs a homeowner, you’re probably more excited about the lighting on your pergola than about composition. But from my standpoint, composition is crucial.

You don’t want each element of your landscape to stand out like a bright spot sore thumb.

That’s why it’s important to carefully light the dark spaces in between. This is especially important when lighting a large, sprawling property. Soft washes of light on the landscape between your illuminated features gently direct your eye from one spot to the next, so the overall effect is soothing, not jarring.

This might even mean adding a soft wash of light to an area of grass. Light the grass? You bet, if it means making the entire area around it more beautiful.

When you have a large, resort-style property, you might assume you need a ton of light. But simply adding more light doesn’t make everything better. A subtle touch can be more effective than light blasting everywhere.

Lighting Control

The best part of resort life is the ease of it all. Luckily, it’s never been easier to control outdoor lighting.

Programmable lighting means your landscape lighting will turn on automatically at sunset and turn off at dusk.

No muss, no fuss. You have better uses for your time than constant switch flipping.

Lighting control using your smart phone or iPad has really taken off. You can control your outdoor lighting remotely with the device you already have in your purse or pocket.

Want to dim the bistro lights on your pergola for more intimate mood lighting? It’s as close as your cell phone.

Time to bring up the lights around the pool a bit for a midnight swim? The control’s in the palm of your hand.

Enjoy Your Vacation — In Your Own Backyard

landscape_lighting_ideas_ranch_styleThink about the last time you visited a vacation resort — or the photos your vacationing friends post on Facebook.

What elements lend that luxury feel?

Sure, swimming pools, spas, water features all play a big part. But what ties it all together is lighting.

Professional lighting lends the warmth, ambiance, romance and high-end feel to your outdoor space.

Lighting kicks it up a notch. It transforms your fun in the sun spot into a luxurious evening retreat.

Put your feet up. Click on the lights. Send us a postcard.  

Like These Outdoor Lighting Ideas? Give Us A Call

If you’re ready to add professional, artistic landscape lighting to your resort-style living, we’d love to hear from you.

Give us a call at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our simple contact form.

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves customers throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Holladay. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects from Salt Lake County and Utah County, to Davis County and Summit County — and beyond.

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