Garden Lighting Effects

uplighting Uplighting from below is the most common technique and a dramatic effect which demands attention as it reverses the daylight perspective of even light from above. Uplighting diagonally into the planting provides wider coverage in a shrub border. Products to use: spike spotlights and recessed uplights.
downlighting Downlighting is lighting in a downward direction from a structure to project a pool of light onto a surface or feature below to provide general illumination for safety, security and amenity applications as well as contrast to uplighting of other features. Products to use: wall mount spotlights and downlights.
accent lighting Accent lighting uses directional spotlights and uplights to emphasise individual plants, focal points or other features so that they stand out within the view. This applies whether the luminaire is mounted in or on the ground, or on a structure or tree. Products to use: adjustable spike spotlights, recessed uplights and wall spotlights.
crosslighting Crosslighting means placing the light source to the side of the subject so that the light beam shines across it. This applies whether the light is mounted on the ground, or on a structure or tree. Products to use: adjustable spike spotlights and wall spotlights.
spotlighting Spotlighting refers to illumination where directional spotlights are placed at some distance from the subject to be lit, often because there is no nearer feasible mounting position. It is, in fact, accent lighting from a distance with narrower beam lamps. Products to use: adjustable spike spotlights and wall spotlights.
moonlighting Moonlighting is lighting down from low power lights fixed in a tree to shadow the lower branches and foliage onto the ground below. This provides a subtle, dappled lighting effect over a tree seat, lawn, patio, path or border. It is downlighting if the effect is for downward illumination rather than shadowing of branches etc. Products to use: tree mounted spotlights and hanging lights.
grazing Grazing is lighting at an acute angle from a position close to a surface to emphasise it's texture by casting strong shadow. This applies whether the light is mounted in or on the ground, or on a structure, such as wall mounted downlights. Products to use: adjustable spike spotlights, recessed uplights, wall spotlights and downlights.
spreadlighting Spreadlighting is the use of a low-level stem mounted light with a hat or shield on top to provide a glare-free, usually circular pool of light for a path, step, terrace or area of low planting. Products to use: spreadlights (sometimes referred to as path lights).
washing Washing or wall-washing is an even coverage of light on a wall to bring out colour or reflect from light walls to define the space and create an intimate atmosphere. Even coverage usually demands that lights stand away from the wall, which is what distinguishes this effect from grazing. Products to use: wide beam spike spotlights and floodlights.
steplighting Steplighting is a functional requirement rather than a lighting technique and is best provided by small lights set into or mounted on a flanking wall; types with a hood or louvred grill will reduce glare, although open faced ones with frosted lenses provide wider coverage. Products to use: Recessed or surface mount steplights.
shadowing Shadowing is the projection of the outline of a plant or small tree onto a wall behind by placing a spotlight in front of the plant to shine through foliage and stems towards the wall. It is an easy way of exaggerating the role of a small tree in a newly planted courtyard. Sometimes called "city moonlighting" when throwing shadow of plants onto paving in a roof garden etc. Products to use: adjustable spike spotlights or wall spotlights.
vistalighting The term vista lighting is sometimes used where such techniques direct light downwards so that foreground brightness or glare doesn't make it impossible to see a view beyond, from a roof terrace for example or around a patio with a view of the garden beyond. Products to use: Eyelid steplights or downlights.
silhouetting Silhouetting is the creation of a dark outline of an object by lighting a wall or surface behind it. The "halo" effect or "backlighting" of trees is a common misinterpretation of this effect; if there is no illuminated background, then there is no silhouette. Backlighting produces a "halo" of light around the edges of the plant or trunk of a tree. Products to use: spike mount uplights or spotlights, recessed uplights.
mirroring Mirroring is achieved by accent lighting a feature on the far side of a body of water so that it's image is mirrored in the dark, still water surface when seen from a viewpoint on the terrace or in the house. Any underwater lighting and pumped features must be switched off to keep the surface dark and still. Products to use: Uplights and Spotlights,and floodlights.