The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Path Light Designs and Styles for Traditional, Modern and Commercial Outdoor Lighting

With so many options available, choosing the right path light can be challenging. Considering the style, material, and construction of a path light can help make this decision a simple process.

Weather you are looking to do a traditional, modern, or commercial outdoor lighting project, there are path light designs and styles perfect for your vision. 

What is a path light? A path light is an outdoor light fixture designed for illuminating pathways. Typically, a path light will have a post with a top hat. The top hat houses the light source and projects the light downwards onto the pathway. The top hat also acts as a shield to keep the light from shining upwards into people's eyes.  


This is a general description of path lights and does not apply to all path lights. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Here are some of our favorites

Traditional Path Lights

The path light description above is an apt way to describe a traditional path light. Traditional path lights vary in design more than any other path light style. With numerous manufacturers carrying several lines of different traditional path lights, it can be overwhelming trying to choose one. Here are our two points to consider when choosing a traditional path light (or any path light/landscape lighting fixture).

Contemporary Path PL3

  • Construction

Before choosing a path light, look at the construction and engineering. What kind of material is it built from? Unless its built from copper, brass, or stainless steel, you should be leery about placing it in your landscape. aluminum and plastic fixtures don't last. To learn more about materials, metals, construction, and what makes for a quality fixture, visit our blog The 3 Biggest Landscape Lighting Installation Mistakes


  • Timeless Design

There are many beautiful, intriguing, and perhaps even slightly odd, light fixtures on the market. Choose one that will always look beautiful. My advice is to try and always choose a fixture that will looks elegant and in style regardless of new lighting trends. Don't make the mistake of choosing a fixture that will look odd or out of place a year from now. 

8 inch Path Light

Here is an example of a timeless traditional path light that looks beautiful and is built to last. 


What makes a bollard different from a traditional path light? A bollard fixture is a more robust heavier set style of path light. It's a vertical post that emits light. The term bollard is a

Bollards are typically chosen over traditional path lights when something robust is needed for projects that are geared towards a more commercial application. They are also used for pathways that experience high traffic.  

Artemis Fixture

Because bollards are used in places where they need to be exceptionally able to handle tough environments, it only makes sense that they also be constructed of materials suited to the job. A bollard shouldn't be chosen for looks alone. They also need to be built with a thickly gauged metal. 

The above photo shows a bollard that was laser cut from a solid piece of metal. Constructed of high quality copper and brass with an exceptionally thick gauge, this bollard is built to withstand some serious environments. 


What is a modern fixture? Think of a modern style house and what sort of path light would feel most at home there. These fixtures are unique and different from traditional path lights and bollards. 

Modern Path                    

Apart from their ability to fit into unique settings, modern path lights  can also be used for different applications. 

For example, some of these modern looking path lights are directional. This means the light can be adjusted and aimed in different directions to create different effects. With a creative eye, these path lights can be applied in neat ways. 

If there is change in elevation (a path going up an incline or stone steps), a directional path light can be adjusted so that the light is directed onto the steps and away from the viewer. Directional path lights are great for changes in elevation because they eliminate the glare by directing the light away from the observer.  



When in doubt, feel it out. Get your hands on a fixture and feel it for yourself. When a path light is built well, it feels right.

I don't mean in an extensional  kind of way.

When you pick up a quality fixture you can feel the weight of the metal and components that have gone into its engineering. If you don't believe me, get in contact with your local lighting designer and let them know you'd like to see some their product first hand: you just might be surprised. 

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. 

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, and Utah Counties.

If you have an upcoming project you'd like help with, call (801) 440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form.

Free Landscape Lighting Design Guide

Outdoor Lighting | Path Lights