The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Why Lighting your Japanese Maple Tree Is A Must

The Japanese Maple Tree, as its name sake suggests, is a native tree to Japan and grows throughout East Asia. Its slender warped branches will either reach upwards towards the sky, or form a domed canopy.

Japanese Maples have brightly colored leaves in different shades of red, green, purple, and yellow. Even though these small trees grow slowly and don't usually grow much bigger than six to ten feet, they are never the less, beautiful show stoppers.

Whether a Japanese Maple Tree is planted alone in a back garden, next to a water feature, or next to the patio, it will always be a beautiful feature that you'll never grow tired of looking at. 


Why light your Japanese maple tree?

Before we approach the question "Why light your Japanese Maple Tree?", we must first tackle a bigger question: "Why light anything?"

The answer to why we light things is simple. We light things because they are intriguing - we want to look at them at night.

The Japanese Maple is a striking plant that catches everyone's eye! Adding light to its ornate twisting branches only helps add to its charm and makes it more attention-grabbing.

We light things to enhance their aesthetic beauty. The Japanese Maple's leaves are never dull regardless of what color or shade they are, the leaves always standout.

This is doubly true when they are lit up at night. The leaves are rich with color, and 2700 Kelvin lamps will help bring out their color without making them appear flat or cold. These trees have incredibly vibrant colors, so the goal should be to highlight this, not retract from it. A 2700 Kelvin lamp has the kind of warmth that is needed to really bring these trees to life.

While these trees do have beautiful and gorgeous leaves, they are never the less interesting to look at even without their leaves. In the winter these trees shed their leaves, it exposes their intricate winding branches and the incredible patterns they grow in. When these trees lose their leaves adding light creates an allure that is almost more beautiful to observe than when they still have their leaves.


Japanese maples need to be lit differently

When it comes to tree lighting, different practiced techniques can be implemented depending on the desired result. The Japanese Maple, is no exception. The Japanese Maple, brings a certain mystique to its surroundings and needs to be lit with tact. Capturing its magic with light requires an understanding of how these trees behave and interact with light differently. Naturally, lighting the trees core (its trunk) is the first focal point. 

Knowing how each tree should be lit requires studying and understanding how the light will interact and play with the tree's branches and leaves. These trees, especially when they are young, grow low to the ground, in order to get a light low enough, a ground-level fixture (like a well-light) should be used. In addition, a lamp with a 100 to 120 degree dispersion should be used on these low growing trees to ensure that the entire tree can be captured. With larger, more mature trees, a bullet-like fixture can sometimes be used to direct light, and aim it where it is needed. 


It takes a practiced eye to understand how to effectively incorporate tree lighting into your outdoor lighting system. It's always recommended that you consult with your outdoor lighting professional - one who understands how to approach tree lighting and get the best results.

Give us a call: To learn more about how to light your Japanese Maple Tree call us at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free o simply fill out a contact form on our website,

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