Creative Outdoor Lighting Techniques

As a qualified electrician in the New Forest, Punton Electrics have been involved in many outdoor lighting projects. We often work with customers to understand what they are looking to achieve with their outside lights. Whether it’s functional or for aesthetics, with a little imagination there is no limit to the number of ways that you can add some magic to your outdoor space. Here are a few electric lighting techniques that we like to use:

Highlighting / Up-Lighting

Highlighting is perfect for illuminating trees that add character to your house. This technique lights a tree from the ground up to show off its canopy and trunk structure. It’s created by placing a spotlight or two at the base of the tree and up-lighting the leaves. By varying the distance and angle of the light fixture, you can experiment with different lighting effects.

outdoor lighting up lighting trees


Want to add drama to a sculpture, fountain or plant? Silhouetting is the answer you’re looking for. The object is shadowed against a lighted background to really show off its shape. This creative outdoor lighting technique works by placing a spotlight behind the feature, aimed towards an adjacent wall.


The play with dark and light can be very intriguing, especially when there’s a breeze. Accomplish this by the shadowing technique; Place the lighting fixture at the base of the feature, and aim through the feature towards an adjacent wall. This works perfectly with a tree that has open, delicate foliage.


Bathe an entire wall or row of bushes in a soothing, even glow with wall washing. Accomplish this by placing the electric garden lights a few feet away from the wall at a sideways angle. It will create an even and somewhat subtle ambient lighting effect for the surrounding area. A wide-angle floodlight with low wattage is recommended for this, as opposed to a spotlight.


To highlight an interesting texture, place up-lights at the base of the wall with beams directed upward. The texture of the wall will create shadows that will really give it an extra dimension. This a terrific technique for showing off stonework.


Create the moonlighting technique by placing a large fixture high up in a tree, and angle it downwards. This effect looks like moonlight shining down through the branches. Leaves will cast interesting shadows on pathways and patios to mimic the effect of a full moon lit sky.

Pathway outdoor lighting


The down-lighting technique is similar to moonlighting, although it is brighter and less subtle. Place a fixture high up, inside a feature like a trellis, tree, or eave, and cast downwards over a large area. Use down lighting to show off flower beds, or to add safety by illuminating doorways, paths, and patios.

Accent Outdoor Lighting

Does your garden have a centerpiece; maybe a flag, statue, or fountain that you want to be the focal point of your lawn? You can really make the feature stand out by using accent lighting. Specifically angled up lighting or down lighting to point out an architectural design, plant, or other feature. Try using a narrow beam spotlight from a hidden fixture to add a flair of mystery to your accent lighting.

pathway outdoor lighting

Path Lighting

At most basic, path and step lighting is functional and primarily for safety. But, it can also add a sense of adventure to your garden. It should make the guest want to go wherever you want to lead them. Path lighting is created by placing small fixtures along the borders of walkways, driveways, and patios, although you must be careful that they aren’t a trip hazard. Don’t feel you have to completely cover the path with light. Occasional pools of light will provide guidance and make the pathway interesting.

water feature outdoor lighting

Electric Lighting Underwater

Add some extra magic to your water feature by adding light. Every glint, ripple, and even fish swimming will fascinate your visitors. An interesting technique is to bounce light off the surface of the water and onto nearby features for a neat shimmer effect. You also can’t go wrong lighting a waterfall from underneath. Plus, water features are a great place to utilise colour changing lighting for a magical effect!

Outdoor Lighting

We hope this has inspired you to add outside lights to your home or business. Create a magical space or find a purely functional solution. We are qualified electricians in the New forest and experts at installing beautiful outdoor lighting systems! So, if you have questions on creative outdoor lighting contact Punton Electrics today.