You are here: Home > 1-800-679-8718 > Articles > Outdoor lighting Ideas
Outdoor Lighting Ideas

How to Light

There are a variety of lighting techniques that in combination create a beautiful and secure environment for anyone. For each technique there are fixtures that work better than others. Here are some techniques and the fixtures that best create the desired effects:

Accent Lighting

Silhouetting Effect – Displays a dark image of the subject by lighting a vertical surface behind the subject. Effective technique to show shape, but does not show color or texture of the subject. Accomplishes wall washing at the same time.

Tip – Choose a subject that is close to a wall and place the fixture out of sight behind the subject. Flood beam spreads or wall washers work the best.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Wall Washers, Mini Floodlytes

Spot Lighting Effect – Focuses an intense beam of light on a particular subject. Showcases focal points.
Tip – It’s usually best not to light focal points uniformly or evenly. This gives the subject a washed out appearance and removes the detail. Statuary should be lit from overhead when possible. If you must light from the ground, try placing the fixtures further out and aim back at the subject. Two levels of light work well. For example, a spot on the facial features and a flood on the body creates a more dramatic presentation.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Ingrounds
BL5016 BL36
BL5016 AUL1

Mirror Lighting Effect – Lights a background scene to reflect it into a nearby body of water.
Tip – Place fixture between water and the scene behind the water. From the primary viewing area, observe what is reflected in the water in the daylight. Then uplight those items to achieve the same view at night. Avoid downlighting (including path lights) around water as the light source will be reflected in the water causing glare.
Shadowing Effect – Creates a shadow on a vertical surface by placing the fixture in front of the subject.
Tip – Best on open growth plant material. The closer the light fixture to the subject, the larger the shadow will be. General illumination lamps create a better effect. In other words, use a T-3 or bayonet base lamp instead of an MR or Par lamp.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Wall Washers, Mini Floodlytes
BL711 (with T-3) AAL1 WAML14 Low Voltage Installation Guide
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Ingrounds
Low Voltage Installation Guide
BL36 IUL516

Grazing Effect – Enhances texture of a surface by positioning a fixture close to the surface and aiming the beam upward or downward.
Tip – Try grazing on brick, stone, and stucco walls or any interesting masonry. Wide floods work best on walls or wide surfaces. Place fixtures 6” to 8” from the surface. When uplighting, put as much light as possible on the underside of the eave. This will reflect back a good amount of ambient light, many times sufficient to light sidewalks. Remember to aim the lamp with the horizontal beam pattern parallel to the wall. Don’t forget the texture of tree trunks.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Ingrounds, Mini Floodlytes
Moon Lighting (Large Trees) Effect – Simulates the light of the full moon filtering through the foliage of a tree. Projects shadows on the ground. Also lights what is under the tree (paths, sidewalks, flower beds, etc.).
Tip – Mount with proper tree mount accessory. See section in this brochure for proper mounting methods. Always run wire or conduit up the non-viewing side of the trunk. Best mounting height is approximately 20.’ Mount fixtures in open areas of the foliage to avoid hot spots. Aim straight down as much as possible to prevent glare. Consider composites because of their light weight.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Mini Floodlytes, Downlytes
Moon Lighting (Small Trees) Effect – Downlighting from within the tree, casting shadows, and lighting what is under the tree. Best mounting height no more than 10’.
Tip – For use with smaller ornamental trees to cast light around the base or through the tree.
BL5016 BL36
IL116 IL336
Wall Washing Effect – Gently illuminates a wall or fence to create a backdrop for the main focal points.
Tip–Avoid bright spots by positioning the fixtures 18”–24” away from the wall.
Suggested fixtures – Wall-washers, Wellytes, Mini Floodlytes
Suggested fixtures – Downlytes, Micro Bullytes
Low Voltage Installation Guide
Low Voltage Installation Guide

Uplighting Effect – An unnatural, therefore dramatic way of lighting trees and architectural structures. Highlights details on structures and can be used to repeat patterns to create interest.
Tip – For dense foliage trees, place the fixtures outside of the drip line and aim back approximately 45°. Open growth trees can be lit by placing fixtures closer to the trunk. In all cases, get light to the top of the tree. Since a lot of light can be lost with uplighting, take care to aim fixtures so you can recapture the lost light. (Large trees in the background, peaks of structures, eaves to reflect light back). Look for interesting details to highlight on architecture.
Sign Lighting Effect – Identifies signage after dark: entrances to sub-divisions, country clubs, office complexes, and small shopping centers.
Tip – Choose optics that complement the orientation of the sign. Wide floods for horizontal signs and bullytes or ingrounds for vertical signs.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Mini Floodlytes, Ingrounds
IL116 IL336
Pond Lighting Effect – Illuminates and identifies water in ponds and water features.
Tip – Water should “look” clean enough to drink. Avoid lighting still, stagnant water with white light. Use colored lenses if water is not clean, or to create different atmospheric effects. Place light fixtures under objects or plant material in the water for interesting effects (lily pads, boulders, art, etc.). For a different approach, light material behind the pond to create the mirror effect and leave the pond dark.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes
UWL1075/ UWL1100
Low Voltage Installation Guide
Low Voltage Installation Guide
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Mini Floodlytes, Ingrounds
BL5016 WAML14 IL116

Tree Lighting (Up and Down) Effect – Combines simulated full moon light filtering through the tree and uplighting from within to illuminate the canopy. Creates a softer light on the trunk and keeps all fixtures off the ground.
Tip – Mount downlights on tree mount accessory 15 – 25’ and use shrouds and/or louvers to reduce glare. Also consider using spread lens to widen the beam of the lamp. Mount uplights in the lowest forks of tree on tree mount accessory. Shrouds and louvers not necessary on uplights. Use wide beam lamps for all fixtures. Run wire up non-viewing side of trunk.
Suggested fixtures – Underwater
Fountain Lighting Effect – Creates dramatic effects of water movement in fountains and water features while enhancing the structure of the fountain.
Tip – Water must be clean or moving. In most cases it is better to light “through” water than “at” water. Allow the water to fall directly on the fixture. If possible, try lighting tiered bowl fountains from overhead. Otherwise, each bowl should have a fixture in it. Avoid overlighting and lighting evenly around the structure as this tends to wash out the detail.
Spread Lighting Effect – Low-level, evenly dispersed illumination to highlight plants, flowers, low shrubs, and ground cover.
Tip – Place shielded fixtures over low plant material, boulders, and plant beds. Partially shielded fixtures may be used in deeper foliage and the additional light will backlight greenery.
Suggested fixtures – Pathlytes, Spreadlytes, Beacons, Underwater
Suggested fixtures – Underwater, Bullytes
Area Lighting
UWL1075/ UWL1100
BL5016 (for downlighting)

Walkway Lighting Effect – Creates symmetrical patterns of light for illuminating walkways, steps, etc. Used primarily for navigation purposes.
Tip – By lighting only the entrance to a walkway, any turns, and all changes in elevation, you may avoid the runway look and still accomplish the task. Placing fixtures near plant material can create shadows and interest rather than just lighting the hard surface.
Suggested fixtures – Pathlytes, Spreadlytes, Beacons
Downlighting Effect – Technique of mounting fixtures in trees or on structures. Floods will broadcast light over a wide area creating general ambient light. Spots will dramatically identify focal points. Extremely efficient method of lighting – which means you can often use fewer fixtures. Very natural looking.
Tip – Look for items of interest on the ground that you want to light, then look up for places to mount and conceal fixtures. Select proper beam spreads for what you want to accomplish. Use accessories like spread lenses, louvers, and shrouds to maximize effects and reduce glare.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Mini Floodlytes, Downlytes
BL5016 BL36 WAML14
DRL1 DRL2 Low Voltage Installation Guide
Low Voltage Installation Guide

Safety & Security Lighting
Security Lighting Effect – Fills in areas of darkness where intruders could hide. The right combination of low-level lighting in the landscape will improve both security and appearance.
Tip – Effective residential security lighting is not prison yard lighting. The goal is to be able to see movement on the property. This can be accomplished best with lower levels and more sources rather than one or two bright sources. Avoid glare.
Suggested fixtures – Bullytes, Mini Floodlytes, Ingrounds, Decklytes, Steplytes, Pathlytes, Spreadlytes, Beacons
Step Lighting Effect – Lights traffic areas for safety while adding beauty to the steps.
Tip – Every step must be illuminated and visible. Mount fixtures in step risers, underneath railings, or on vertical posts. All changes in elevation and terraces should be lit for safety.
Suggested fixtures – Decklytes, Deck Post, Steplytes
Deck Lighting Effect – Illuminates deck floors and steps while enhancing design.
Tip – Consider placing fixtures under built-in benches for a clean, inconspicuous look. When placing fixtures under handrails, mount fixtures high enough for good light distribution but be careful not to see the source when seated. Run cables under the deck
to reduce clutter. Suggested fixtures – Downlytes, Decklytes, Deck Post
Low Voltage Installation Guide
Low Voltage Installation Guide

How to Design Your Plan
The Proper Mechanical Design for a Low-Voltage Lighting System There are four components of a low-voltage lighting system that must be selected:
1. Fixtures & Lamps 3. Transformer 2. Mounting Method 4. Cable
1 . The fixtures and lamps are selected after determining which features of the landscape are to be utilized and what effects you want to create. When using projector lamps (MR and PAR), the lamp that best creates the effect should be selected first. To assist in determining the best choice of lamps, refer to the lamp guide in the back of this manual. After selection of the lamp, select the fixture according to desired style, mounting restrictions, and finish from the Philips Hadco catalog.
2. The mounting method is determined by the location of the fixture. Canopies to allow mounting of fixtures onto decks, non-metallic stakes for acidic soil conditions, tree-mount canopies and wall plates are just a few of the options available to you in the accessory section of the Philips Hadco Landscape Lighting Specification Guide.
3. The transformer is selected by first determining the total wattage
being used in your plan. If more than one transformer is required, determine the total wattage to be allocated for each. Select a transformer that has a higher wattage capacity than the actual watts used on that console. We suggest using only 60–80% of the transformer’s capacity since most clients will want to add more fixtures to the system at a later date. Also, larger wattage lamps are often needed as plants mature. Remember, your clients only pay for the power actually being used.
Transformers also come in different voltage outputs. Higher output consoles are used to accommodate longer cable runs. Refer to pages 19–22 to determine which transformer is right for your job. The mounting location of the transformer must also be considered. In some cases, you might want to consider an inground model to better conceal it.
4. The correct cable needed for your job is determined by the length of the runs and the amount of wattage per run. Refer to the voltage formula on page 27 to assist you in selecting the proper gauge and length of cable. When laying out a job, always center feed to the group of fixtures on any single run. Avoid wiring to the closest fixture and continuing out from there in a straight line. Also, avoid heavily loading any single run. Keep run as short as possible.
The layout itself can be accomplished by sketching a view of the property, including all landscape features to be illuminated. Mark the location of each fixture and transformer. Draw a dotted line from the power console to each fixture to denote the cable, remembering to center feed each group of fixtures. Try to avoid running the cable under walks and drives more than once to help eliminate the need for extra work when installing. Keep a copy of the plan as a reference for expansion or excavation work.q

Wall lighting is an important aspect of any patio or garden design. In most cases, various types of lighting techniques may be classified and defined by heights: safety lighting, uplighting, and downlighting. Safety lighting, the most practical application is achieved (above) by using Integral Lighting. It is more important to determine the type of lamps and fittings needed to create the desired effects. Wall Lighting is a popular choice due to the ease of installation.

- For more Info Click here