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A guide to the different types of outdoor lighting for your landscape and hardscape

A guide to the different types of outdoor lighting for your landscape and hardscape

Make the most out of your outdoor living space by adding lights.  Outdoor lights make your outdoor spaces visible for a larger percentage of the 24 hour day, maximizing your usage or entertaining time.  Outdoor light can be installed into or alongside most landscape and hardscape features.  Here are the most used lights we use for our projects.


Step lights can be installed two ways using a different style light for each, either recessed into a riser or surface mounted.  Recessed lights are installed for most concrete and some concrete deck steps.  The size and shape of the light can vary but typically, a large, more durable recessed light will be used for concrete.  Surface mounted lights still will require cutting into the riser for the wire.

A set of decorative concrete steps leads to the house


Path lights which can also be considered as area lights are typically installed along a walkway or garden path.  They can also be used randomly throughout a landscape to highlight low lying plants or rocks.  These lights have most options in styles available.  A typical path light will have a stem and a conical shaped hat.   Depending on the height of the stem and the angle of the hat will determine the spread of the light onto the ground.  Other common styles include the pagoda light, the bollard light, and a modern light.


Hardscape lights which can also be called undercap lights are primarily installed under a cap of a wall or pillar.  These lights are hidden underneath the lip of the cap and the light illuminates the wall block and cast light on the ground near the wall.

Other popular lights include the post lights, well lights, spot lights, and flood lights.  Post light are usually incorporated onto the top of a pillar or the post cap lights that are installed on top of deck posts.  Well lights are installed into the ground and shine upwards usually spotlighting a house or walls.  Spot lights and flood are directional lights that highlight a particular area  A spot light will have a much narrow spread than a flood light.

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