The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Tips for Swimming Pool Lighting [Top 10 Ideas for Lighting Your Pool]

You've likely enjoyed using your swimming pool to host parties and relax with family. But today, the fun doesn't have to stop just because the sun has set. You don't have to depend on the back porch light and the glow from inside your pool to serve as your only light source. Adding beautifully functional lighting elements to your pool area can make all the difference in wowing your guests and adding that much needed element of safety. 

Pool Lighting Ideas

Here, we have compiled a list  of our top 10 ideas for lighting your pool. These tips for swimming pool lighting are our favorite pool lighting ideas for making your backyard feel like a true escape from the rest of the world. 

1. Pool Deck

pool-lighting-3Let's face it, your pool deck is a busy place. There is a lot of activity going on when it's being used. Keeping this area lit is important for people's safety. Adding lights that can spill light out over the deck is a wonderful way to add both function and safety. Consider if there are any walkways leading to or leaving your pool deck area. these paths can be difficult to traverse at night. Adding lights here can make a big difference. 

2. Outdoor Kitchen/Bar Top


Have an outdoor kitchen? It can be a challenge to try and figure out if the burgers on the barbecue are done when you can't see. Fumbling with a flashlight doesn't help the situation either. Adding some functional lighting to your outdoor kitchen can make all the difference in the world when dinner is on the line. 

Bonus Tip: Do you enjoy dining out on the patio at your favorite restaurant? Lighting your bar top area will elevate your outdoor dining experience at home. 

3. Lighting the Surrounding Landscape

Illuminate the landscape surrounding your pool and patio will set the mood and add beauty. By lighting the area around your pool, you will have better visual control over your surroundings. A lighting designer's goal is to bring soft, warmly toned lighting levels to your outdoor living space. The idea behind lighting the landscape is to create a backdrop


If you are concerned that your new landscape established enough to light, don't worry. In the world of low voltage lighting, the lights can be dialed in to light features in a tailored fashion. There are countless different types of bulbs (with different light intensities and beam spreads) that can be used to softly light an ornate Japanese maple, or a well established oak tree. 

4. Tiki Torches

Tiki Pool SideAre you a fan of the way tiki torches look, but tired of settling for poor quality? High quality tiki torches have all the fun of tiki torches without any of the downsides. Built from brass and copper, they are wired in with the rest of your low voltage lighting system. 

With a wick that burn oil at the top of the torch, and a light at the bottom to splash light onto the pool deck, you really get the best of both worlds. 

5. Fire Pit

Drying off by the fire after a dip in the pool, or to warm up on a cool evening, is exactly why fire pits are so desirable. Adding some lighting to your fire pit can really help make your lighting design feel complete. 


Under cap lights worked into the stone illuminate the ground around your fire pit while also highlighting the beauty of the stone your fire pit is built from. 

In addition, you can highlight your sitting area around your fire pit without any direct lighting. The edge of you sitting wall or bench or chair can be accentuated with a small amount of light placed in the right location. 

6. Hot Tub Area

pool-lightingAny good lighting designer will tell you that the Jacuzzi should be kept quiet and private in terms of lighting. The area surrounding the hot tub, however, is another story. 

  • If there is a path leading from the hot tub to the house, it should be lit to eliminate trips and slips. You don't want anyone getting hurt for the sake of hot tubbing. 
  • Is there a beautiful tree or other key landscape feature that could be highlighted? We don't want any direct light on the hot tub, but a splash of light on something beautiful nearby can help set the mood. 

7. Smart Automation

Your outdoor lighting system doesn't have to be an all off or on situation. Your outdoor lighting design can be broken up into different layers so you can turn the volume up or down depending on the setting. 

For example, the landscape surrounding the pool deck can be turned on/off separately from the pool deck. Same with the lighting for the outdoor kitchen. All these lighting zones can be controlled by your phone through a smart app. 

8. Tread Lighting for Stairs

Are there any steps near your pool or patio? It's a good idea to have these lit for safety reasons. A slip or a trip wouldn't be a fun way to end the pool party. 


A tread light will recess right into the stair and spill light down onto the step below it. These lights will illuminate the steps without causing a hazard. Since the light is hidden within the step it also will be less noticeable during the day. 

9. Moon Lighting 

night-pool-lighting-1Moon lighting is accomplished by mounting a fixture up high (to a tree or house) and aimed down towards a patio area or other object being targeted. In order to create a moon light type effect, a softer light with a wider beam spread will be placed in the light. This creates a soft wash lighting effect not unlike moonlight. Moon lighting provides a functional light that is still beautiful. 

Patios and pool decks are wonderful places where the beautiful effects of moonlighting can be enjoyed to their fullest. A subtle light that enables you and your guests to interact without being distracted by bright lights is always ideal. The trick to immaculate lighting design is subtleness: less says more.

10. String Lighting

outdoor-bistro-lightingBistro lights (often referred to as string lights) are wonderful for achieving a festive atmosphere. Bistro lights hung around a patio or pool can quickly set the mood for the fun times soon to be had.

Functionally, bistro lighting is a wonderful application for outdoor use. They don't have to be used strictly for entertaining. They can add functional light inside of pergolas, or over a pool. The fun is really only limited to the imagination in terms of patterns and configurations for the way the strands are all laid out. 



There are numerous ways lighting can be approached for your pool area. The key to a successful outdoor lighting experience is tailoring your lights to your space and your needs, and layering your lights with different elements.

No one lighting approach will fulfill all your needs. By combining different approaches, you can achieve a better overall effect. For example, bistro lights are a lot of fun, but they can be overdone. 

Consider your unique setting, how you enjoy using your outdoor space, and then try to let the rest fall into place. 

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 would like to learn more about lighting your outdoor living space, five us a call at (801)440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form.

Free Landscape Lighting Design Guide