What Should You Light and What Should You Leave Dark in Your Landscape


When it comes to lighting your landscape, it’s more about what you don’t light than what you do for the purposes of providing much needed illumination around the exterior of your house. Landscape lighting is one of those things that many homeowners take for granted because they either don’t understand how to do it properly or they simply underestimate the importance of it.

But the lighting that you install all around the exterior of your home is extremely important, not just for keeping you and your family safe and secure once the sun goes down but it’s also a vital part of improving your home’s curb appeal. In order to complete every purpose that your exterior lighting is meant to fulfill you need a smart and sensible lighting design scheme.

So, we’re going to review how best to light only what you should while keeping other spaces and elements of your landscape in the dark. You certainly don’t want to bathe every square inch of your yard in bright light, but you also don’t want to have a shortage of lighting either. You want to find that delicate balance that allows you to play with light and night at the same time, placing an emphasis on certain features of your home’s exterior that may be missed in the daytime.

Lighting the Landscape

There is such a thing as too much lighting. You can end up lighting way too many areas around the house and that won’t just wash out everything in your yard but it will be a serious drain on your finances as all of that lighting can have a serious effect on your electricity costs.

The right amount of light is intended to illuminate certain features of your home and landscaping while also playing with contrast and shadow. You want subtlety and finesse to take center stage in your yard, so it’s important to know what to light and, better yet, which type of fixtures to install to achieve the aesthetic you want.

Start by walking around the house and take note of the features you like best about your yard and the landscaping. You may find some elements that you wish to highlight for dramatic effect or, at the very least, accentuate for the purposes of creating that elevated curb appeal that every house should enjoy. It could be a specific tree or a body of water or a row of shrubs that you are particularly proud of.

Think about other features around the home that might do well with added lighting, to give them some character that might get lost during the day. A simple stone wall or wrought iron fence may feel a little ho-hum when the sun is up, but placing these things in the right kind of light when it gets dark can make them look much more compelling.

Of course, you should always consider safety and security. Be sure you install an abundance of lighting along your walkways and stairs, so everyone is kept free of injury due to poor visibility in the night time hours.