When creating your landscape lighting plan, it’s so important to consider the safety of your family and guests. Adding pathway lighting will ensure everyone can safely navigate your yard, but that doesn’t mean compromising on style.
A top-notch pathway lighting plan keeps your landscaping safe from unintentional trampling, deters unwanted visitors, and offers safety to those navigating your property at night. It also highlights and illuminates the beautiful yard and architectural features you’ve worked so hard to create.
Not sure where to start? Here are our top 5 tips for lighting the pathways in your dream yard:
1. Consider Placement
There are various placement options for path lights. You can place path lights in foliage, or alongside the steps. You can also place path lights on lampposts, post rails, and nearby hardscape features.
Your path lights’ placement will either make or break your path lighting plan. Here are a couple of tips on how to place path lights correctly:
- Stagger lights on both sides of pathways to create balance and ensure you have adequate lighting. But don’t overdo it, you want the lighting to blend in with the landscape features.
- Concentrate the lights on accident-prone areas, like steps and other uneven surfaces.
- When possible, set lighting slightly back from pathways to shed light on the accompanying landscaping. Ideally, position your lights around six inches from your pathway’s edge.
- If trees line your path, consider moonlighting rather than knee-level pathway lighting. Lighting fixtures in trees can illuminate a lot of ground and create a pleasant effect.
When considering how to place your path lights, the goal is to provide adequate light right where you need it in the most impressive but natural way possible.
2. Space your lighting properly
We recommend placing lights anywhere from 5-15 feet apart. The ideal placement will vary based on the size of your yard and where the lighting is needed.
You can hire a professional to create a lighting plan. This will ensure you get the best results for your property.
One more thing to remember regarding spacing: Avoid lighting every inch of your pathways. Remember, you’re going for pools of light, not a constant stream, which will take away from the inviting atmosphere you want to create.
3. Height is Important
Pay attention to your lights’ height to get the desired lighting effect without casting unwanted and potentially hazardous shadows on your pathways.
Ideally, you should position your path lights at a height that enables them to direct a light beam where people will walk. Poorly aimed lighting can cause glare. So ensure your fixtures, even post lights, cast light downwards.
Also, remember to consider that eye levels shift when people sit.
In addition, ensure your path light fixtures are slightly taller than any nearby plants, as shown above. This ensures the foliage doesn’t detract from or cover up your lights.
4. Use the correct type of lighting
We prefer LED over Halogen for landscape lighting since it’s energy efficient (uses 80-85% less energy than halogen lights) and longer lasting. LED lights will last 10–12 years, while halogen light bulbs will last 1–2 years. That means you’ll have to change lights less often—a definite plus in those hard-to-reach areas.
Overall, considering their lifespan, energy consumption, and maintenance costs, LED lighting bulbs are more economical than Halogen bulbs.
Additionally, path lights are typically exposed to the elements, so you must select fixtures that are durable and weather-resistant.
Look for outdoor lights specifically designed to withstand rain, wind, and other environmental conditions. Again, compared to halogen lights, LED bulbs are more weather-friendly overall.
CAST offers a large selection of beautifully designed durable solid bronze sand-cast fixtures. There are more than a dozen path lights to choose from in our product range.
The other factor that has grown important today is lighting controls such as timers, motion sensors, or dimmers. Features like these enhance energy efficiency, provide convenience, and increase security. With the right set up you can automatically adjust the lighting based on specific conditions or usage patterns.
Finally, no matter the types of light bulbs you choose, make sure the wattage matches your safety and ambiance requirements. You don’t want bulbs that are too bright or too dull for your needs.
5. Make a List + Check it Twice
Check the following off your lighting wish list when doing the final inspection of your pathway lighting plan:
- Double-check to make sure that no matter how you’re placing and spacing your path lights, no shadows will be cast on your pathways.
- Don’t overlight, which can ruin the atmosphere and feel you’re going for.
Consider putting lights—both pathway and landscape types—on a timer, which will save you money and energy as well as offer additional security when you’re away from home.
- Make sure the types of outdoor lighting fixtures you want won’t be obscured by foliage, trees, or other yard debris during all seasons of the year.
- Ensure the outdoor fixture types and materials you’re considering can withstand outdoor elements to save you maintenance costs.
Be sure your lighting plan will match the relaxing atmosphere you want to create in your dream yard.
Properly lit pathways are essential for both safety and aesthetics of your outdoor space.
If you want to design well-lit and visually appealing pathways, follow our key tips on how and where to place path lights, as discussed above.
Consider your placement, spacing, height, and type of lighting and lighting fixtures. In addition, remember to take the time to plan and consult a landscape lighting professional before and during installation to save time and resources.
Need help putting together your landscaping lighting plan? We’re here to help! Please complete our contact form, and we’ll have your pathways lit in no time!