How To Design Front Yard Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is used for a variety of reasons in the front yard of a home. Some people install it strictly for aesthetic reasons while others install it for security reasons. Still others install lighting for health reasons to prevent slips and falls at night throughout the year. No matter the reason for installing it, having a plan or design for the landscape lighting is crucial to accomplish the goals you want at the budget you need. Here we’ll talk about some of the things to consider while designing and installing. 

Well Maintained Winter Landscape Lighting SystemTypes of Front Yard Landscaping Lighting

Pathway Lights

The name kind of speaks for themselves. These lights are often quite decorative because they’re so visible during the day and the night. The lights can have different form factors from a straight pole with a light on top or a curvy design with the light shining down. They can also be made using different color materials and different types of materials. They use the same type of bulb as some of the up lights so switching out bulbs can be very easy. 

Up Lights

These lights are used to light up trees, large bushes, or flags in a front yard landscape. We often use these to light up a specific dramatic focal point tree. We recommend 3 up lights per tree so you should only light up 1 or 2 trees maximum in your front yard. You should position the 3 lights so they shine on both the trunk of the tree and the under canopy of the leaves. This creates a dramatic, beautiful effect. For a flag in a front yard, you only need to install 1 up light although more is certainly welcome. There are a wide variety of light bulb hews and power levels so having a professional company install the lights will ensure the correct color and power.

Well Lights

These are used to light up a large facade of a house. They cast a wide spread of light to provide a dramatic picture of the home when you or guests pull up. These are more commonly used in front yard landscape lighting on larger homes or homes with unique/distinctive features. It’s not that they can’t be used on other homes but resources might be better used to illuminate plants or walkways on other homes.

Other Special Lights

The lights listed above aren’t the only options of course. There are lights that can be installed in a retaining wall itself. They can also be installed in steps. Fountains and pools can be lit up as well. 

diy landscape lighting diagramIdeas to consider before designing landscape lighting


Your budget will determine how many lights you can install. If your budget is unlimited, you can really go crazy and light up everything in a million different ways. If your budget is a little more limited, that amount will determine how many lights you can use and where. 


Determining what things you care about will also factor heavily into the lighting design. Some people really want to showcase their plants and trees. Other people are much more focused on their home or the driveway or the walkway. Whatever it is you really care about, figuring out what that is before designing will allow you to distribute your budget in the correct way. 

Eco Friendly and Long Term Budget Concerns

There are many different types of light bulbs to use in your outdoor lighting. There’s the old school incandescent or fluorescent. These are cheaper but burn out and take more energy to run. There’s also the new school LED lights which run longer and cheaper. They are a bit more expensive at the beginning but there’s really no choice here. Any company that would install or sell you the incandescent doesn’t know 

Safety Concerns

Every front yard is different and have different obstacles and shapes and sizes. Thinking about those obstacles and if they need to be lit up and by how much is important before starting your design. Many front yards have steps leading up to the door, determining how to light up these obstacles (pathway lights, stair lights, wall lights, a light on the house) will set the baseline of lighting you need. Other front yards have a steep incline or curvy pathways which would need special lighting considerations. 


Final Thoughts

There are many things to consider before even putting a light in the ground when designing your front yard lighting. Taking all these considerations into account as well as the best look and the correct voltage makes it a complicated process. Talk to a landscape design expert who can help break it all down for you. KG Landscape is here to help.