Outdoor Lighting Techniques

NiteLites outdoor lighting techniques and fixtures for landscapes and architectural elements are second to none. Also throw in accent, spot, and flood lighting, cross lighting, silhouette lighting, submersible lighting, down lighting, path lighting, shadowing, spread lighting, up lighting, and wash lighting.

Accent & Spot Lighting

Also called flood lights, these fixtures are a quick way to add drama to any landscaped garden. Position intense and narrowly focused lights near the base of statuary or trees or near a surfaced wall or trellis. Although this technique is very compelling, it should be used sparingly.

Cross Lighting

This effect can be very appealing as the object is lit from two sides. When done correctly, this not only highlights the feature but also softens it at the same time.

Down Lighting

To illuminate extended deck steps and sloping pathways, down lighting is a highly effective and preferred method for safety and security outdoor lighting. It is also used to create interest with shadows.

Path and Outdoor Lighting

There is perhaps nothing more alluring that a well lit garden path. Place low level lights on either side of a path or walkway. As an added benefit, path garden lighting provides a safe walkway and adds to your home’s security. The most common mistake made by do it yourself is using too many lights creating a runway effect. Actually over lighting in general is the biggest mistake made by untrained lighting installers and more is definitely not better.


If you have a tree or statue with a striking profile in front of a wall or other surface, shadowing may be a very elegant way to add some drama to the exterior of your home. Your designer will either place spot lights low in front of the object to create shadows and depth or to achieve a very dramatic shadow, they may elect to place the fixture high above the focal point.


The opposite of shadowing, this outdoor lighting technique can be very dramatic. Lights positioned behind and below the object to create a spectacular silhouette.

Spread Lighting

If you’ve invested in landscaping your garden with flowerbeds and low shrubs, you’ll want to enhance its nighttime appeal with spread lighting. Carefully hidden in low lying landscaping and ground cover, your focus will be on the beauty of the variety of textures and patterns of your plants rather than on the source of the light.


This technique is effective on medium to large trees, placing one or two low voltage lights onto the second or third tier of branches. By angling the light, a romantic moonlight effect is created in the foliage above. On the other hand, when lights are angled down, a completely different subtle dappled effect is created on the ground – and this is also known in the industry as moonlighting.

Up Lighting

If a canopy of branches covers your garden, lighting designers may create up lighting by placing a light at ground level and angling the lamp upwards. The illuminated branches will reflect a soft glow onto your garden, patio, or deck.


By placing the light at the base of a wall or hedge, the light ‘washes’ over the surface creating a soft glow effect. However this can also be achieved by ‘lifting’ the light at certain angles to wash the desired area. For example, the patio area is an optimal place for such lighting. This may also be called facade lighting when used to light the surfaces of a building.

Submersible Lighting

Submersible Lighting produces fantastic effects as it combines the beauty of lighting with the elegant calm of water. Moving fountains or still reflecting pools of water can become powerful retreats when professionally lit.