Landscape lighting can be tricky. You see great illumination on your home or a tree, creating beautiful glows, warming ambiance, and a great mix of brightness and shadows.

But with professionally designed landscape lighting, you may not know where the light comes from … and that’s a good thing. You want to see the light in a well-designed lighting scheme, not the fixtures.

Some of this illumination will come from uplighting, and some of it will come from downlighting, as well as other types of lighting design elements. You may not know the benefits of either uplighting or downlighting, or what they each do as part of your entire lighting design.

Let’s review some information about these two pieces of landscape lighting to learn more.

Understanding Exterior Uplighting Vs. Downlighting

Lighting is not only installed in your landscape, but it’s also directed. In fact, that’s where both the terms uplighting or downlighting come from.

landscape lighting in landscape beds and on pergola

Let’s look at these two approaches to landscape lighting to give you a better idea of their roles in an overall design.

Uplighting Explained

When looking at uplighting vs. downlighting, it’s important to understand their differences. With uplighting, landscape lights are typically mounted below something you’re trying to highlight –or at ground level – and the purpose is to shine the light in an upward direction.

trees lit with landscape lighting

There are some areas of your exterior that are perfect for uplighting.

When you uplight trees, it can show off the structure or interesting tree bark or branches and leaves. Uplighting architectural columns add drama or create interesting shadows. Uplighting a statue or fountain gives your favorite features new life at night.

Downlighting Explained

Downlighting is the opposite of uplighting. For this landscape lighting scheme, you place a fixture higher, such as on tree branches or beneath the eave of your home, so the light shines down.

The higher you place your light fixture, the wider the cast of light will be. There is another form of downlighting called moonlighting that replicates the soft glow of the moon, creating a natural feeling of light.

Just like there are things you can uplight, there are certain features of your landscape that can be downlit.

landscape lighting in backyard of home

Patios are great for downlighting vs. uplighting. While uplighting may be best suited for taller plants, downlighting can be a good fit for low-growing flowers to highlight their unique foliage or floral tops.

Downlighting can also work great under seating walls, deck edges, or benches to cast subtle light on walkways and patios. This not only adds a welcoming ambiance, but it also provides safety.

Moonlighting is also great for large entertainment areas like patios and swimming pools.

Balancing Uplighting Vs. Downlighting

You certainly don’t want to choose between uplighting or downlighting when thinking about landscape lighting for your yard.

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In fact, you don’t have to choose at all because these are just two elements in an entire professional landscape lighting design. Uplighting and downlighting are just two of the strategies used in an overall concept to give you the best light possible for your needs at your Chicago home.

home entrance and walkway lit with landscape lighting

For instance, a front entryway might feature uplighting on porch pillars or columns, as well as downlighting to make sure steps are visible to visitors.

A gorgeous garden may incorporate moonlighting for an overall ambient impact, but also use bits of uplighting and downlighting to show off dramatic plants and garden features or statues.

Ready to Add Some Light and Extra Hours of Enjoyment to Your Chicagoland Area Landscape?

You take pride in your landscape, and it looks pretty good all day long. But when the sun sets, you could use a little more illumination to keep your pool party, summer barbecue, or garden soiree going.

In fact, your landscape can take on a whole other life once you light it up. Shadows and glow add different characteristics, and uplighting or downlighting can be key pieces of that strategy.

Wondering how you can make lighting work in your landscape? Wishing you had a great way to keep your property safer and more enjoyable during evenings? Landscape lighting, including the ideas we mentioned above, might be perfect for your property.

There are a lot of tactics involved in landscape lighting, so it can feel overwhelming to begin. Let KD Landscape take a look at your landscape and suggest the perfect strategy. Our experts have installed custom landscape lighting schemes all over Chicagoland, and we’d love to bring our design capabilities to your property so you can get optimum enjoyment and ambiance, too.

Ready to see how KD Landscape can keep you entertaining and enjoying the outdoors into the evening hours? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a plan that includes uplighting or downlighting as part of your design.

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