Brilliant Outdoors: A Guide to LED Landscape Lighting

Ella McCain

LED Landscape Lighting

Outdoor spaces take on a whole new dimension after dusk with strategically placed landscape lighting. Using energy efficient, long lasting LED bulbs opens up creative possibilities for lighting up yards, gardens and exterior living areas in flattering, functional and fun ways.

This comprehensive guide covers the ins and outs of installing and enjoying LED landscape lighting. We’ll examine how LEDs differ from other bulb types, key lighting design considerations, special techniques for showcasing landscapes, tips for DIY projects and the benefits of hiring a professional. Let’s shine a light on enhancing and illuminating your outdoor environment with LEDs!

Advantages of LEDs Over Incandescent and Halogen

The popularity of LED lighting has soared in recent years as prices have dropped and technology has improved. LEDs offer significant bonuses compared to traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs:

  • Efficiency – LEDs consume up to 80% less electricity than incandescent for the same brightness. This saves substantially on energy bills.
  • Long life – LEDs can operate continuously for 25,000 hours or more before needing replacement compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent.
  • Durability – With no filaments or glass enclosures, solid state LEDs can withstand vibration, moisture and physical impacts.
  • Instant on – LEDs achieve 100% brightness immediately with no warm up time. Incandescents operate at a fraction of their brightness for a period after being turned on.
  • Cool running – LEDs give off very little heat compared to other bulb types, reducing fire risk and cooling costs for enclosed fixtures.
  • Controls – LED systems work seamlessly with timers, occupancy sensors, dimmers and remote mobile apps for convenience and energy savings.
  • Color – LEDs are available in warm, cool and daylight color temperatures to fit the desired ambiance.

Key Factors to Plan for with LED Landscape Lighting Design

A successful led landscape lighting installation requires careful advance planning and consideration of several factors:

  • Lumens – The brightness of LED bulbs is measured in lumens. Choose enough lumens for each application, factoring in fixture types and distances.
  • Beam angle – The beam angle determines the spread of light. Use spotlights for precision and floods for wide coverage.
  • Color temp – Cool white LEDs are 5000K to 6000K. Warm white are 2700K to 3000K.
  • Smart controls – Look at options like wireless remotes, motion sensors, timers and dimming abilities.
  • Ambient light – Take into account how much ambient light or darkness there is in the space. More lumens may be needed to compete with moonlight.
  • Safety – Position luminaires carefully to avoid tripping hazards or glare. Use only outdoor rated products.
  • Layout – Have a detailed lighting plan for what areas, objects or plants you want to illuminate and where each fixture will go.

Unique LED Landscape Lighting Techniques and Effects

One major advantage of LED lighting is the creativity and diversity of visually appealing illumination effects it makes possible. Take your outdoor lighting game to the next level with these techniques:


Uplights directed up into trees and architectural elements creates a magical glow. The light reflects and highlights the natural shapes, textures and colors.


Backlighting shrubs, plants and structures outlines the shape as a silhouette against a backdrop of illumination. This adds depth and drama.


Focused LED spotlights precisely highlight steps, specimen plants, artwork and other landscape focal points. The contrast attracts attention.

Area Washes

Employing wide flood beam angles washes entire walls, fences or seating areas in soft uniform light. This adds overall visibility and ambiance.

Path Lighting

Lining pathways with small directional LEDs provides both visibility and ambiance. Strategic placement creates a welcoming flow.

Accent Lighting

Use LEDs with colored lenses or filters to accent architectural or botanical details in hues that complement or contrast them.


Low angled spotlights cast long intriguing shadows from structures and plants onto surfaces. The contrast highlights shapes.

Tips for Installing LED Landscape Lighting Yourself

With careful planning and adherence to electrical safety, installing landscape lighting can be tackled successfully as a DIY project. Here are tips to help:

  • Draw out a lighting plan first detailing fixture and wire placement zone by zone. This will make installation smoother.
  • For path lights, bury low voltage cables under the path pointing towards the next light fixture in sequence. Leave slack for adjustments.
  • For spotlights, use mounting spikes pushed into soil or affix lights to trees and structures using flexible straps. Hide wires behind plants.
  • Group fixtures on shared transformers and use separate circuits for far away zones to minimize voltage drop.
  • Use gel-filled wires and outdoor rated wire connectors. Check local codes for proper outdoor wiring methods.
  • Focus on safety. Only work on lights when power is off and never when wet. Position luminaires to avoid hazards.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional LED Landscape Lighting Company

While DIY LED installation is certainly feasible, landscape lighting designers bring expertise and techniques gained from experience that typical homeowners don’t possess. Reasons you may want to have your project professionally installed include:

  • Optimized design – They know how to develop plans and select components to provide attractive, functional lighting tailored to your space.
  • Proper installation – Professionals methodically ensure all fixtures are sturdily mounted, wired correctly and aimed optimally.
  • Fine tuning – They tweak aiming angles, lumens, beam spreads and other adjustments so all lighting effects look perfect.
  • Electrical competence – Licensed electricians safely handle line voltage wires and connections in compliance with local codes.
  • Time savings – Experienced crews complete high quality installation much faster versus DIY trial and error.
  • Ongoing service – Reputable landscape lighting companies provide maintenance and are available if issues arise.


Discover the transformative power of LED landscape lighting with our comprehensive guide. Embrace the efficiency, longevity, and aesthetic versatility of LEDs to elevate your outdoor spaces. From DIY tips to professional installation insights, we’ve covered everything to brighten gardens, pathways, and living areas. LED lighting not only enhances safety and ambiance but also showcases your outdoor oasis in its best light, making every evening at home a magical experience.

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