Up-Lighting and Down-Lighting Create Dramatic Effects

A good landscape lighting design often looks its best when people don’t notice the lights themselves. This applies especially to pathway and deck lights, which physically intervene in people’s experiences of the landscape more than other types of lighting.

Lights aimed upward into trees, structures like gazebos and garden statues, and other elements create dramatic effects. It’s called uplighting, and it’s a popular way to highlight trees and other landscape features at night. See next.


Up-lighting is a common way to highlight trees, architectural features, and other garden structures. By illuminating the shape of these elements and emphasizing the contrast between dark shadows and bright light, up-lighting creates dramatic effects.

Another use of up-lighting is to highlight a focal point such as a water feature, front entryway, or unique stonework. This technique can add a sense of drama and elevate the beauty of these features, as well as improve safety in your yard by eliminating the need to walk in the dark.

It’s easy to get carried away and attempt to illuminate everything that looks cool in your yard, but if the light placement isn’t expertly done it can result in unattractive glare in people’s eyes. It’s also important to remember that lighting is all about amplifying what nature does, not replacing it. Contact a local landscape lighting professional to ensure you’re getting the most out of your outdoor lighting. They can help you avoid common landscape lighting mistakes, such as over-lighting or highlighting the wrong things.


Landscape lighting experts often use specialized lingo that can make it difficult for the average homeowner to understand their landscape design techniques. Uplighting and downlighting are two such terms. Uplighting involves a light being installed below or at ground level, shining upward while downlighting involves a light fixture being placed higher, such as in the branches of a tree or beneath the eave of your home, to shine downward.

When you downlight a tree, it casts shadows onto the ground below, mimicking moonlight and giving your outdoor space a more natural feel. Downlighting is also great for illuminating walkways and patios and providing safety for guests walking through your yard after dark.

Uplighting can be used to emphasize a feature like a fountain, statue, or architectural column. It can also add drama to a simple stone wall by illuminating the texture of its surface and creating interesting shadows. You can also highlight low-growing plants with downlighting to bring out their pretty foliage or floral tops.


Lighting techniques can make all the difference when it comes to your landscape’s curb appeal. Whether it’s washing or grazing walls, highlighting unique garden structures, or providing safe passage up stairs and paths there are plenty of ways to illuminate your outdoor space.

Silhouetting is a less-used lighting technique that works well on unique trees or shrubbery as it creates dark outlines that give them new life at night. It’s different from shadowing, which focuses on wall washing to create large shadows, and instead uses light to produce a silhouette.

When implementing a lighting design it’s a good idea to grab a flashlight and walk around your yard at night to scope out the best locations for lights. But a little goes a long way when it comes to landscape lighting, too many lights can wash out your garden and create unsightly hot spots. So always err on the side of caution and remember you can always add more but it’s much harder to take away.


In landscape lighting design, shadows can add a dramatic effect and create contrast. Our designers use this technique to highlight plants, statues, and unique architecture on your property while hiding any blemishes in the landscape and garden.

This is a great lighting technique for accenting large trees or other larger objects, such as fountains and statues. It is used by placing floodlights or spotlights at the base of the object and pointing it toward the wall or structure to produce a shadow effect and create a mesmerizing glow.

Shadowing is also commonly used for illuminating architectural features on your home’s exterior and other large areas of the yard, such as stone walls or patios. Using this technique allows your landscape to come to life after the sun goes down and adds drama. A professionally designed lighting system can transform your garden into a nighttime showplace that is sure to impress. The key is working with a professional, experienced designer who knows the proper techniques and strategies to make your property shine. Check out this webpage.