Landscape Lighting for Smaller Spaces

We often dream of expansive backyards filled with lavish greenery, ornate fountains, koi ponds and babbling brooks. But, some of us barely have enough yard space to hold a garage-store BBQ and a hand-me-down patio set. Should you abandon your dreams of a beautifully lit landscape if your space and your wallet won’t allow it? Never!

Your backyard may not look like it was designed by Rockefeller, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a few elements to make you feel like a king—even if your castle is far from reality. Outdoor lighting at any scale gives an outdoor area much-needed attention and can make you feel cozy and comfortable as well.

Small Houses and Small Yards

If you own a small house, add some lighting to your outdoor area to make it feel like an additional room of the house. Do you entertain in the space? Guests will appreciate the space and consider it an extension of your home if it is properly lit. Solar-powered lights are inexpensive and work well to light pathways or steps leading to a patch of grass where guests congregate. Additionally, if you have any special features, even if it is a cute bird feeder, consider lighting it to add interest.


If your patio is your only oasis, you are not out of luck. Low voltage or solar lighting provides an adequate amount of illumination without overpowering the area or hedging into your neighbor’s property. Avoid strong spotlights or harsh beams. Install lighting on railing posts or on post caps lining your patio stairs.

Globe patio lights are a beautiful design element for any patio. If your patio is on the large side, consider a single globe light that stands on its own or can be floated in a pool for an extra effect. If space is a concern, use smaller globe lights strung together and extend them in different directions above the patio to create a beautiful ambiance at night.

Porch Light

For all the homeowners or renters out there with miniscule backyard space, there is still hope. Most people have porch lights which help to illuminate the outdoors whether they own a balcony or a one-acre yard. Consider a light that provides maximum illumination for guests and for safety, but also unites the outdoors with the indoor decor to further exemplify your design style. Install the light high enough to illuminate the area but not low enough to glare in people’s faces. Look for lights that cater to your design style like modern, contemporary, mission-style, or Southwestern. Even something as insignificant as a porch light can uplift your outdoor space regardless of how small it is.

You may not own a 10,000 acre estate, ripe with well-landscaped grass and prize rose beds, but you can still make your small space your own with a little effort. Get creative and think outside of the box when it comes to your landscape lighting. Sometimes good things really do come in small packages.

Use Lighting to Enhance Your Fall Landscaping

If you’re like many homeowners, chances are you shoot for a little splash of color around your home during every season. Spring brings us colorful dainty buds and blossoms. During the summer months, we’re greeted with flowers that are as bold as they are beautiful.

Once the days grow shorter and cooler and the summer draws to a close, flowers begin dying off and fall slowly creeps in. Your yard will change, and the lighting choices you make for your space should shift in tandem.

Adjusting Landscaping Lighting for Fall

Planting fall blooming flowers is an excellent way to add a splash of fall color to your property. However, they’re typically not as bright and eye-catching as some spring and summer flowers even though they add a shade of sophistication to your outdoor space. The best way to accentuate these blooms is to swap the regular blubs in your existing ground-mounted spotlight lamps for a slightly higher wattage. Not too high, though – you don’t want to irritate your neighbors.

Trees are a fantastic fall spectacle for your yard as well, which means highlighting the breathtaking changes in the colors of the falling leaves should be high on your list of to-dos for fall. Take the same action you did with your fall flowers: replace the bulbs in your spotlights for a set with a slightly higher wattage to show off those beautiful autumn colors falling from the branches of your trees.

Outdoor Party Lighting for Fall

Autumn parties are a staple of any family’s fall agenda, so outdoor lighting for fall fiestas is another great way to dress up your space for the season. For example, you can use lanterns to line outdoor walkways along with seating areas. This will give your landscaping a rustic appeal that will add an injection of charm into your fall get-togethers.

Another outdoor party lighting option for the fall is glow jars. You can find these unique lighting instruments at craft stores, but it’s fun and easy to make your own for parties. An added bonus is that you’ll save money when you DIY. Simply snag some mason jars and give each one a coat of sheer white glossy paint. When lit, the jars will emit a soft white glow that will rival high-dollar party accessories from even the most ritzy of home décor catalogs.

You can also highlight the fall colors of your yard by installing string lights around the perimeter of your landscaping prior to your big “shindig.” Opt for soft yellow or white bulbs, and make sure the lighting is not too harsh. A good rule of thumb: the smaller the bulb, the softer the light. String up a few lengths of lights and wait until nightfall to get a feel for whether you need more or fewer lights to achieve the atmosphere you desire.

Fall lighting for your landscape requires nothing more than a few minor tweaks to your existing outdoor lighting system. For fall parties, a little imagination and innovation goes a long way – and helps your wallet out in the process.

Garden Lighting Design Basics

The garden, whether large or small, has become a prominent staple of landscaping design. And lighting is often a standard addition because it adds special effects and an ambiance that is impossible without it.

Garden lighting will add beauty and elegance to your plants, flowers and greenery. And if the design is executed correctly, you will add brilliance, color and creativity to your outside landscape.

If you hire a professional to install and design your garden lighting, make sure to have an idea of what you want before you start the work. The garden lighting designer will have many colors, sizes and shapes of lights from which to choose so it’s important to do some preliminary research.

An expert planner will always try to fit the geographical area as well as your personality before deciding what to include in the design. With hundreds of different companies that manufacture and offer beautiful, contemporary as well as traditional styled lighting, it is imperative that discussion and choices are made before any lighting fixture is ordered.

There are 10 top categories of lighting techniques that are used by most garden lighting designers:

  1. Accent Lighting – This is used to cast small spots of warm lighting which in turn creates a very soothing experience.
  2. Flood lighting – The polar opposite of accent lighting, these are broad, bright light beams that instill drama to a garden.
  3. Spot lighting – Though not as widely used, spot lights can highlight specific elements of the garden you want to emphasize.
  4. Cross Lighting – Similar to spotlighting in its effect, this dramatic lighting is also used to emphasize special shrubbery or trees.
  5. Silhouetting – Used to highlight various types of doorways, arches, even outline trees; it can be more subtle than other forms of lighting.
  6. Shadowing – This type of lighting is used when there are dramatic plants to showcase along a back wall where shadows are desirable.
  7. Spread Lighting – If you want large areas lit, this type of lighting is used in a design to bring a bright effect to shrubbery and even lawns.
  8. Up Lighting – One of the most popular techniques and used in all kinds of areas and both large and small gardens, it is used to cast an “up” type of lighting in front of trees, sculptures, decorative walls, parts of fencing or any other element you want to emphasize.
  9. Moonlighting – The opposite of up lighting, moonlighting is used to create a mood that will make it appear as if your plants are in the reflection of a full moon.
  10. Underwater Lighting – This lighting can be used in anything that is water based such as pools, pond lighting, etc.

Obviously, when on a budget, it is very important that the garden lighting designer make the most out of each light that is chosen and installed. Lastly, the fixtures should be hidden out of view so that the emphasis of sight is on the lighting itself and not on where the light is coming from. The lighting planner should always assure the homeowner that none of the lights will be positioned where they will come in direct eye contact with people. Safety is a top priority in any lighting design.

Whether you use a professional or tackle the project yourself, garden lighting is a landscape design essential and one that will be enjoyed by you and your guests for many years to come.