Landscape LED Lighting – Options and Applications

Luxury house at dusk in Vancouver, Canada.

Landscape LED lighting has many benefits: they’re long-lasting, use less energy, and are a great source of even lighting. While the upfront cost is higher than other types of lighting, the long-term benefits make them a worthwhile investment. Due to their long lifespan and energy efficiency, they can even save you money in the long run.

When considering LED lights from your landscaping, there are a number of options to choose from. You can highlight interesting features, or cast a conversion of soft glow and vivid colors over a wide area. Whatever the purpose, LED landscape lighting can illuminate the outdoors in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, practical, and safe.

Common Applications for Landscape LED Lighting

Before taking a look at the various lighting options available with LED lights, it will help to quickly review the landscape lighting techniques used in outdoor areas in general. These include:


Sometimes a space needs more ambient light, and washing is a way to accomplish this without blasting the area with direct light. Aim a wide-beamed floodlight at the base of a large wall or hedge at an indirect angle to flood it with light. The light will bounce back into the space, casting an even, gentle light over an entertainment area.

Path Lighting

Make your landscape easier to navigate with path lighting! Particularly for obstacles such as stairs or inclines, highlighting paths can make your space safer for you and your guests. We recommend staggering the lights to illuminate entire paths, giving your walkways an element that’s almost romantic.

Up/Down Lighting

Uplighting techniques use lamps aimed upward to illuminate the lower portions of a structure or tree. Inversely, down lighting use fixtures placed high in structures or hardscaping in order to illuminate structures down below.


Shadowing with shade sail is when a light is used to cast a shadow against a surface, such as by shining it at a tree in front of a wall.


A fantastic effect for highlighting dramatic shapes you might have hiding in plain daylight. Silhouetting is achieved by placing the light source behind the object, and aiming the light towards the main vantage point. If you’re careful to make sure the light source itself cannot be seen, the results can be dramatic and inspiring.


Moonlighting is a technique that uses spotlights angled downward to create the illusion of natural moonlight. Normally installed high in trees, a soft lighting fixture can bathe the ground below in gentle light and create soft shadows from the tree’s lower branches. It can be particularly impressive when used with an open-branched tree. Done well, it’ll have you dancing in the moonlight late into the evening.


If you have a hardscape-heavy yard, grazing is a great way to soften surfaces and create dramatic light and shadow play. It involves placing the light close to a flat surface and aiming directly up or down the surface. The idea is to take advantage of a texture across a flat plane, so uneven or irregular patterns work best.

LED Lighting Options

LED lighting comes in numerous varieties, making it a versatile way to illuminate outdoor areas in attractive ways. Here are a few types of LED lights you can use in your landscape lighting scheme:


For when you need to bring out the big guns. LED floodlights have a wide-angle beam, often as high as 120 degrees. This allows them to cover open spaces with ambient lighting without using more energy than lamps with narrower beams. Floodlights are ideal for washing out open areas, or for casting shadows for long rows of landscape features.


Spotlights cast a much more narrow beam than floodlights. They’re meant to highlight specific features of your landscaping as opposed to covering a wide area. Because of this, they’re best used in strategic locations where they’re hidden from sight. LED spotlights fulfill a wide variety of landscape lighting applications. These include up and down lighting, silhouetting, shadowing, and moonlighting.

Well Lights

Mounted in the ground, LED well lights shine upward. They create very attractive lighting effects because they’re very easily hidden in the landscape. This naturally gives them a wide variety of uses in landscape lighting scenes.

Well lights can be used to uplight features, illuminating the lower parts of trees and structures. In addition, they can graze flat walls to highlight interesting patterns and textures and cast silhouettes and shadows.

Hardscape Lights

Hardscape features of your outdoor spaces such as walls, patios, paths, and other manmade structures can all be well light with hardscape lighting. This type of light is typically set under overhanging ledges to illuminate spaces and surfaces below.

This makes them excellent for grazing applications, such as casting a light down the side of a stone garden wall, simultaneously illuminating the brickwork as well as any paths or greenery running along the structure.

Hardscape lights can also be used to downlight certain features near patios or eaves. For instance, they can illuminate bushes or plots of flowers set along the patio railing.<

Using Landscape LED Lighting for a Total Effect

The end result of your LED lighting should be to create a complete aesthetic, with every light working together to highlight individual features without making any particular feature stand out unnaturally.

LED lights should be strategically located to cast light where it’s needed without creating glare. Placing the right light in the right place is key to accomplishing this, which is why a variety of different LED’s is necessary for outdoor landscape lighting.

Learn more about configuring the perfect landscape lighting for your home. Contact Livewire today!