Lighting Effects

Up Lighting

Spot or well lights are commonly used to highlight plants or trees from below, often producing dramatic shadows in the background. To “wash” a wall with light is one of the most effective ways to create depth and backdrop. Directed up and away from the viewer, this style averts unwanted glare.

Down Lighting

Lights suspended from the branches of a tree can illuminate features on the ground, or mimic the moon by filtering through the tree itself. Wall-mounted lights can “wash” from above, doubling as illumination for security.


Lights aimed across an uneven surface create varying levels of shadow, contrast, and depth of texture.

Spot Lighting

Through various beam spreads and bulb strengths, focal points can be accented from subtle to intense.

Path lighting

A strategic decorative element that spreads light across a walkway, promoting safe passage. Lights can be at ground level or aimed from above.

Step lighting

Mainly used for safety purposes, well-placed step, rail, or in-grade light fixtures can add new levels of interest to inanimate flooring.

Mirror lighting

Still water is used to reflect an architectural element or artistry in the landscape, creating a dramatic vertical impression with depth. A soft breeze enhances a rippling, dancing surface.

Back Lighting

Increases depth of area, typically through lighting of vertical surfaces such as walls, fences, and other structures.


Cast the shadow of a landscape object onto a vertical surface; plant material can create interesting shadow movements when there is a soft breeze. Angling the light upward from down low can create a larger than life effect. Use of one or more spread lights can create a crisp dark image while softly backlighting the wall.


Illuminates and defines the shape of an object from the posterior position, best if used on an object with a defined shape.

Underwater lighting

With movement in water, a remarkable shimmering effect is achieved through submersed lighting.

Perspective lighting

Makes smaller objects appear larger by emphasizing a line of sight. Dimmer lights in the foreground coupled with brighter lights at the end of the sight line create the illusion of added distance.

Cross lighting

Double beams of light aimed at an object from different spots of origin create a more three-dimensional effect.

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© 2011 Arizona Outdoor Landscape Lighting, LLC.