How to Plan Outdoor Landscape Lighting


Landscape lighting enhances the beauty of the home at night while adding a security measure. A well-lit home is less attractive to a potential home intruder, making the exterior accents a worthwhile investment. Outdoor lighting also allows you to use the outdoor areas of your home after nightfall by illuminating backyard or patio areas. A number of factors play into the planning process when adding outdoor lighting to a home. Taking the time to carefully plan the outdoor lighting system is important to achieving a functional and visually pleasing result.

Step 1

Determine your budget for the lighting project. Use this number to keep the project on track and to help guide the decision-making process.

Step 2

Identify a purpose for the landscape lighting. Decide if it is a general accent or will highlight specific features on the house. Other purposes for exterior lighting include general light, security for the home, and defining a walkway for safety and beauty.

Step 3

View your home from across the street at night. Note the darkest areas of the landscape that can benefit from lighting. Analyze any current outdoor light fixtures and how they complement the landscape. Determine if they need to be changed or simply enhanced by some extra light fixtures.

Step 4

Draw a quick sketch of the front of the home and the current landscaping. Don't worry about your drawing skills. Use the sketch to identify locations for the landscaping lights. Draw both the actual lights and the beams they will produce to get an idea of where the light will land.

Step 5

Visit the home improvement store to check out your options for exterior lighting. Make notes of the styles you like along with the prices. Look at the type of lightbulbs needed for each style of light fixture. Use this information to determine the best lights for the identified locations in the landscape.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad
  • Pencil


  • Planning: Landscape Lighting
Keywords: outdoor lighting, exterior lighting, landscape lighting

About this Author

Shelley Frost is an Iowa-based writer specializing in parenting and education topics. She started writing for online publications over two years ago. Her work can be found on websites such as and Frost holds a B.A. in elementary education with a minor in reading.