The power of light has been known for eons—just look at Plato’s cave for proof. It can turn a plain pine tree into a festival of lights, it can turn another ho-hum dinner into a romantic one, and it can also make your home into a veritable castle with the right outdoor lighting installation. Luminarias are a great example of how lights can bring neighborhoods together, whether they’re a traditional sand-filled DIY project or permanent accent lights.


Here’s a look at different lighting options and their use.



1. Uplighting

Exactly what it sounds like, uplighting directs light upwards for a show-stopping effect. Just like a table lamp, it illuminates whatever’s above it including a house, trellis and trees. This dramatic effect is ideal for anyone looking to maximize visibility and turn heads after dusk.



2. Downlighting

Another option is taking the opposite approach, and downlighting is the best way to showcase a certain landscaping feature, highlight a path from above and increase visibility in a specific area. Downlighting is less showy, but it allows homeowners to put a spotlight on a favorite feature—such as the new fountain or the tulips that only blossom a few weeks per year.



3. Moonlighting

This tactic requires lighting mounted in trees to mimic the shine of the moon. It’s romantic, subtle and a fantastic way to increase visibility throughout a person’s yard. If you can’t get enough of a moon-filled night, there’s no need to count on moon cycles to enjoy this magical moment.




4. Accent Lighting

Accent lights are often downlighting on a smaller scale. They’re also used to highlight a feature, provide a pop of light for an enhanced look or to brighten up a certain space (such as the doorway).

5. Shadowing

This technique lights an object from the front and below to create a shadow. It’s purely design-based, but it can provide an incredible feature that’s only enjoyed at night. To make the most of shadowing, choose an object that’s eye-catching and creates an interesting shadow.

6. Cross Lighting

Use this technique to highlight a feature that’s three-dimensional. It’s what many businesses use to show off special items at night, and there’s no chance anyone will miss what’s being featured.


7. Path Lighting

Aptly named, there are numerous options for lighting a path to improve safety. If someone works the graveyard shift or otherwise comes home late, it’s important that they can safely get to the door. As a bonus, it’s also a simple way to add beauty to the home.





8. Silhouetting

The opposite of shadowing, silhouetting lights an object from behind and below to make it “stand out”—and stand out it does. It easily makes the lit object the focal point of any home.






9. Lighting for Safety

There are a few things burglars can’t stand: A door with a deadbolt, a lack of shrubs around windows, and exterior lighting. Exterior lighting alone can deter a criminal, especially if there are no dark areas and the lighting is too difficult to reach for unscrewing bulbs or breaking the glass.


A good realtor will tell clients to drive by a home at night to check for the security of the neighborhood. Homeowners can enjoy an instant spike in curb appeal and even home value with the right exterior lighting.


There are lighting options for every project, preference and budget. There’s no easier way to improve the safety of your home while simultaneously improving aesthetics. Even in a safe neighborhood, it’s best to play it safe. Investing in exterior lighting can make a world of difference.

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