Everyone loves gathering with their friends and family and enjoying time together. You tell jokes, reminisce on special memories, share experiences, play games, and just enjoy each other’s company.

Hanging together outside in your backyard oasis makes the time even more memorable. Your new patio makes al fresco dining on grilled meats and veggies ideal. Your pool is the best place for fun in the sun. And your outdoor fireplace creates the ultimate ambiance and place to congregate. 

But there are always those times of the year when you realize that your evenings are short … or the party is lasting longer, and you don’t want it to end. Yet, the darkness may spoil some of your fun. 

The solution: landscape lighting. 

Landscape lighting installation can change the game on those Greater Chicago evenings and deliver some next-level sunset entertainment and enjoyment. 

Let’s dive into the perks and techniques of landscape lighting, as well as the costs and some tips on hiring the right company to do the job correctly, so you can benefit from this illumination in your outdoor oasis.


Benefits of Landscape Lighting

You’ve done your best to make your house and backyard appear like it came from the pages of your favorite home improvement magazine. But you don’t want all of those great areas and additions to fade away with the Chicagoland sun. 

Landscape lighting is one of those upgrades that can do a lot with a small amount of investment and work. 

landscape lighting around firepit and patio with outdoor kitchen

In fact, the benefits of outdoor landscape lighting extend past just adding a little glow. Check out these perks:

  • Boost Visibility - Safe passage on your outdoor pathways and across your stone patios is one thing landscape lighting can instantly solve. Properly placed path lighting ensures your visitors and guests can navigate the landscape without stepping off paths, into dirt, or onto your precious plants. 
  • Accentuate Curb Appeal - Without light, nights can get pretty black in the Naperville, Elmhurst, and Hinsdale, IL neighborhoods. But your home can have just as much appeal as it does in the daytime when the sun goes down with landscape lighting that correctly illuminates your best landscape attributes, as well as the architectural details of your house. 
  • Increase Safety - In addition to total darkness, nighttime also can bring that insecure feeling that comes with blackness. No one wants to think intruders are lurking in the darkest corners of their home and landscape. With landscape lighting that is designed well, you don’t have to worry because you can see these areas more clearly. What’s more is you decrease the chance for trips and falls on your walkways, driveways, or landscape pathways because your family and guests can better see where they are going.
  • Add Hours to Your Backyard Time - Possibly one of the best benefits of landscape lighting is the fact that you actually get to enjoy your Chicagoland landscape more than before. You can cook more, lounge longer, dine later, play later, and create a true place for extra gathering and enjoyment.

Landscape Lighting Techniques 101

As you’re considering adding landscape lighting to your Greater Chicago home landscape, you are probably also wondering where those lights go and how they should be placed for optimum safety, glow, illumination, and visibility. 

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And this is a good question to ask yourself because there is definitely a right and wrong way to light up your yard. While the right way brings many benefits, the wrong way can create dark pockets and bright spots that blind your guests. The wrong way can also lack the right security and navigation, defeating the purpose of lighting’s goals.

These landscape lighting techniques will steer you in the right direction.


A common part of landscape lighting installation that can help spotlight key features near your home or in your landscape by illuminating it from below is called uplighting landscape lighting. 

landscape lighting on tree

The technique places lights closer to each object you want to light up from below to create a bold, dramatic impact.


As the opposite type of landscaping lighting design technique to uplighting, landscape downlighting is when you place a light fixture high in an object, such as a tree, and cast it in a downward direction. 

The higher the light fixture is placed on your house or in a tree, the wider the light will be.


Similar to downlighting, moonlight landscape lighting casts light downward, giving the effect of the moonlight beaming down on your Chicagoland backyard. 

This technique can cause unique shadow patterns, as well as provide a very natural lighting impact.

Accent Lighting

Any lighting that draws special attention to a specific feature in your yard, such as a statue, tree, or unique home architecture, is called accent landscape lighting.

Usually, this technique uses a narrow beam to highlight a hidden feature to add some mystery and intrigue.


Highlighting is a common and useful landscape lighting technique that uses varying distances and angles of lights placed below an object to provide unique focus. 

water feature with landscape lighting

Larger objects like big trees may require more than one lighting fixture to provide enough illumination for a highlighting technique.


If you want to create a silhouette of a unique landscape plant or urn or anything in your yard with an attractive shape, silhouette lighting can be a great technique to try. 

By illuminating the backdrop behind the object, you create a dark outline of the object, giving it new life at night.


As a similar landscaping lighting technique to silhouetting, shadowing places light toward the base of a specific feature you want to bring to life. 

sculpture in landscape bed with landscape lighting

Instead of creating a silhouette, though, this design creates a soft shadow. If you have a tree with delicate leaves, shadowing can add some drama to your home facade, especially when the wind is blowing.

Wall Wash Lighting

For a soothing and steady glow that reflects off of a landscape retaining wall or home facade, try wall-wash landscape lighting. 

With this technique, a landscape lighting designer places a light fixture a few feet away from an object, lighting it with a sideways angle to create that subtle ambiance.

Path Lighting

For walkways, backyard paths, and front yard entryways, try outdoor path lighting. 

landscape lighting along pathway

This effect should not look like you’re landing a plane in your yard. You don’t want lights that are perfectly aligned in a straight row. Instead, you want a natural, alternating pattern that moves from side to side and follows curves on walkways. This technique aims the light down, ensuring you can see as you move down a path versus becoming blinded by light pointing into your face.

Landscape Lighting Ideas For Your Backyard

The backyard is where you spend most of your free time outdoors, so naturally you want to extend your hours of enjoyment there. 

family sits around fire table in backyard

Depending on your personal preferences and tastes, there are backyard landscape lighting ideas that can fit your style and the activities you most enjoy. This way, you can have both beauty and function. 

Try some of these landscape lighting strategies to get a backyard you can enjoy for not only daylight hours, but also sunrise, sunset, and twilight hours as well.

Embrace Your Inner Gourmet Chef

Entertaining outdoors pairs naturally with food options, and an outdoor kitchen can give you what you’re looking for with cooking options, as well as opportunities to dine al fresco. 

outdoor kitchen pergola and patio with landscape lighting

But you can’t cook and eat what you can’t see. That’s why backyard landscape lighting can come in handy when you have a chef’s touch in your Chicagoland landscape. You not only want to see the progress of your meal or see your guests' faces as you dine, but you also want to be able to seamlessly move from indoor to outdoor spaces with ease – and without spilling all of your food or breaking glasses or plates. 

Landscape lighting can make your outdoor kitchen more enjoyable and easier to work with for longer periods of time.

Mix Fire and Light

When it comes to backyard landscape lighting, illumination can come from light fixtures, but they can also come from fire. Fire features are a hot addition to Naperville, Elmhurst, and Hinsdale, IL backyards because they add ambiance and warmth to cooler evenings. 

fire table and landscape lighting

Fire features incorporated into your landscape lighting scheme can create a gathering spot, as well as a place for fun activities like roasting marshmallows for s’mores. The dancing, flickering flames add a unique touch.

Landscape Lighting Ideas For Trees

Your trees are architectural masterpieces in your landscape – and they are natural additions. They thrive and grow and change with the seasons, and their trunks are like sculptures. 

So, naturally, you want to give your trees extended life with light

landscape lighting on trees

Try one of these great landscape tree lighting ideas:

  • Uplighting - Installing lights below a tree can dramatically bring it out of darkness and give it new life after sunset. 
  • Spotlighting - Give your favorite specimen tree center stage with a spotlight.
  • Downlighting - Take advantage of tree branches by placing lights in them and casting light downward to not only highlight the tree, but also the area beneath it where you might have a patio or outdoor living area. 
  • Silhouetting - If you have a uniquely shaped tree, try silhouetting its outline by placing light behind it.

Landscape Lighting Around Pools

Illuminating your pool area adds functionality, as well as beauty. Your aesthetics can get a nice boost, and you can also enjoy your space in the evenings. 

landscape lighting in plantings

Try some of these pool landscape lighting concepts to get the best of both worlds:

  • Don’t Go Too Big - While you might get excited and want to get fancy with lighting in your pool, you want to stay as unobtrusive as possible. You don’t want to blind people or inhibit movement in your pool. Your ultimate goal for your Greater Chicago backyard is to create a resort-like space with subtle lighting.
  • Remember Your Pool Surroundings - While you may want to light your pool, you can’t neglect the areas around your pool. Showcase some of the patio areas or trees near your pool to create a complete ambiance in your space. 
  • Target Water Feature Focal Points - If your pool has a waterfall or other water feature nearby, remember to give that some illumination too with colored lighting or a unique effect to draw the eyes in and create a backyard oasis.

Front Yard Landscape Lighting Ideas

Your front yard may not be where you spend all of your outside time, but it speaks volumes when it comes to increasing your curb appeal and home value. 

As such, you don’t want to neglect it when it comes to landscape lighting. Not only does front yard landscape lighting add safety and security for visitors and guests, as well as your own family, when coming and going, but lighting also gives your front-facing facade a big aesthetic boost.

Embrace these front yard landscape lighting ideas when thinking about concepts for accentuating this side of your Chicagoland landscape.

Entryways And Walkways Are Important For Illumination

While beauty is a key goal in landscape lighting installation, so is functionality. Professionally and properly lighting up your entryways and walkways ensures safe passage for anyone on your property and provides a welcoming feel. 

landscape lighting near front entrance

Remember, avoid the runway effect and blinding people by pointing light upward. Instead, you want to stagger lights and make sure they face downward, illuminating the path in a balanced and usable way.

Focal Points Matter

If you have a grand tree, soothing water feature, or unique sculpture, you have an incredible opportunity to accentuate it as part of your front yard landscape lighting and give it new life after sunset. 

Use accent lighting to give these focal points some extra attention during evening hours.

Add Some Drama With Uplighting

Uplighting is a way to add some light at the bases of trees, statues, or home architecture to encourage mystery and intrigue.

front walkway with landscape lighting

This type of lighting technique adds light levels that can bring unique darks and lights to your space.

Landscape Lighting For Paths, Walkways, And Driveways

Landscape path lighting is essential as part of your Greater Chicago landscaping lighting design because it guides you and your visitors from place to place. It’s a navigational tool to keep you moving safely in the right direction.

There are many techniques and designs you can choose to help illuminate your paths. Take inspiration from one of these outdoor path lighting and driveway landscape lighting ideas.

Landscape Lighting For Driveways

If your driveway is only lit by a single post light or garage-mounted floodlight, never fear, you have more options beyond these boring basics. Remember, options will differ based on your specific driveway design.

  • Try Moonlighting - Instead of a floodlight, try a more natural approach on short driveways with moonlighting that envelops a large driveway and garage space with an even glow, as if the moon is kissing it with light. 
  • Post or Fence Lighting - If you have a long, winding driveway, you can elegantly add post or fence lights that delicately guide guests to your home. 
  • Use Landscaping to Add Lights - Add drama to your driveway with some spotlights installed in trees and shrubs that line the driveway as a way to illuminate the space without seeing the fixtures since they are tucked masterfully into landscaping.

Landscape Walkway Lighting Concepts

For any landscape with a pathway or walkway, landscape path lighting is an important addition. This is true not only for safety and to limit trips and falls, but also to create that beautiful guide when the daylight isn’t helping you see clearly. 

After all, no one wants to trip over stepping stones or crush delicate flowers. Adding light the right way can do wonders in keeping feet on the path and out of your landscape beds. 

pathway with landscape lighting

Try these outdoor path lighting design suggestions for the ultimate walkway illumination.

  • Tuck Lights In Deck Areas - Recessed lighting on decks is a great way to illuminate a path or garden steps by shining light down on the area. 
  • Add Lights to Fencing - If a path runs along a fence, use the fence to tuck lighting into the space and add evenly spaced swaths of light shining down on the walkway. 
  • Space Lights Properly - When lighting paths, you don’t want a straight row of lights that look like an airport runway. Instead, you want to stagger lights on both sides of the path to create a balanced lighting approach.

DIY Landscape Lighting vs. Professional Landscape Lighting

Your Greater Chicago landscape should slowly come to life as the sun sets in an even and engaging way. 

landscape lighting on patio in backyard

You certainly don’t want lights that only work for a month, fixtures that stand out like sore thumbs, or a worthless investment that doesn’t do the job of adding safety, visibility, and aesthetics to your space. 

That’s what can make do-it-yourself landscape lighting tricky. If done incorrectly, your investment might be wasted. But if you choose the wrong landscape lighting professional, you could feel the same way. Let’s look at things for you to think about when choosing your landscaping lighting installation options.

DIY Landscape Lighting Fixtures vs. Professional Fixtures

When you stop at a hardware store, you’re going to find a lot of options when it comes to landscape lighting. And while they look attractive, and you may be tempted to try them, they may not be commercial grade, meaning they could have a shorter lifespan in your landscape. 

Also, there is a big trend toward solar options today for DIY landscape lighting. But solar lighting effectiveness depends on the fixtures receiving adequate sunlight. This means ideal placement is crucial. If you have a lot of shade in your yard, your lights may be weak or not work at all during certain times of the year when sun is limited, such as winter. 

landscape lighting under pergola on patio

When going with this option, you want to make sure you factor in additional costs for ongoing upkeep and replacement. 

When professionals choose and install light fixtures, however, they are designed for reliable, long-term use. This reliability might be worth the initial higher cost for a focused design with sturdy fixtures that can stand up to Chicagoland’s bitter winters.

High-End Landscape Lighting Requires Electrical Experience

Landscape lighting requires wiring, and if you have light fixtures that are placed further away from your transformer, they need adequate voltage to work properly. Additionally, your outdoor wiring must survive temperature changes, rain, humidity, and even potential animal damage. 

Compared to do-it-yourself options, professional landscape lighting companies have years of electrical experience and use thicker wire to enable electricity to flow properly and to ensure all the lights around your home work sufficiently.

You Want a Professional Design Touch in Landscape Lighting Installation

Once you have the right fixtures and the right knowledge, you need some design skills for do-it-yourself landscape lighting to work. 

Gallery Lighting 9

The reason? A lot of landscape lighting mistakes can be made by incorporating the wrong design. Everything from blinding people’s eyes with lights that point in the wrong directions to overlighting to underlighting can happen – not to mention others. All of these errors will only detract from your overall landscape lighting aesthetics instead of improve them.

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Landscape Lighting Costs

To get the most out of your Greater Chicago landscape, you want to extend your options for enjoying outside time. And landscape lighting can certainly help you do that. 

But as you look at your extensive landscape and all the spaces you want to bring to life with light, you might be wondering what you should budget to make this final look happen. 

But understanding the costs of landscape lighting can help you better plan your outdoor illumination. 

landscape lighting under pergola

While there are many factors that can impact landscape lighting costs, installation prices usually range from $335 per fixture to $500 per fixture. 

Keep your costs in check by:

  • Utilizing moonlighting to cast light down over larger areas.
  • Avoiding overlighting.
  • Taking advantage of steps, decks, and hardscapes by adding railing or post lights that blend in and cast beams of light down where you need them.

Choosing a Landscape Lighting Company in Chicagoland

When you decide to hire a landscape lighting professional in Naperville, Elmhurst, and Hinsdale, IL, you might wonder how you can choose the best company that will do the job right and meet your specific needs. 

You might be wondering what questions to ask to adequately compare each company and how to assess the company’s skill level and design expertise. 

Use this advice to determine how you can best assess which company you should hire.

Your Needs Matter

Ultimately, you have your own style and your own type of home and landscape. You’re certainly not looking for a cookie-cutter concept. 

As such, you want a landscape lighting designer who listens to your concerns and your needs and takes your preferences into account. 

They should ask you questions to determine how you utilize your space and the styles you prefer to ensure your needs are considered in the final look. This will ensure you enjoy it longer.

Hire a Company With Electrical and Design Expertise

Wiring knowledge and design capability are crucial in getting the right landscape lighting installation. 

So you’re seeking a landscape lighting company that can offer innovative design using multiple techniques for boosting visibility and safety, as well as skills in wiring to keep a level and steady flow of illumination during those darker hours when you need it. 

Read company reviews and look at photos of their finishing lighting projects to see how they work. This can give you a better sense of their skill level.

Looking to Add a Little Light to Your Nights? Call KD Landscape

As you’re considering landscape lighting in Naperville, Elmhurst, and Hinsdale, IL, we hope you’ll also add KD Landscape to the companies you’re assessing. 

Our landscape lighting design and installation experts can give your landscape the elegant, graceful aesthetic you’re seeking – all while taking your needs into account. 

Ready to see how KD Landscape can help you enjoy your Chicagoland landscape once the sun sets? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can create a plan that you will love and can enjoy for years to come. 

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