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Low Voltage Uplighting of Trees

Uplighting of trees adds drama and vertical emphasis in a garden lighting scheme. Smaller trees can be effectively lit with low voltage outdoor spotlights and recessed lights. The principal beam angles of low voltage LED lamps are 12, 36 and 60 degrees. If you are uplighting a slender tree the coverage of a 60° beam will be wasted in the night sky; a narrower beam will “fit” the shape of the tree more closely. The diameter of the beam can be matched to the tree’s shape as indicated in the graphic and table below. If a 60° (wide flood beam) lamp in a garden uplight will not provide both height and breadth of coverage, try using two lights with overlapping narrower 38° degree beams to give the required coverage. In walkover areas use cooler LED lamps to protect against contact with a hot lens or consider a 35w metal halide uplight. 

Uplighting tree examples

Recommended Lamp Selection
Tree Shape: A: Columnar B: Slender C: Medium D: Spreading
Lamp beam angle: 15 degree 36 degree 36 degree 60 degree
LED 12v 5w - - 6m 4m
LED 12v 7w 10m 8m 6m 4m

Suggestions are for guidance only; lighting effect will be affected by colour/darkness/density of foliage

See also:
Choosing LED lamps for 12v garden lights

Metal halide uplighting for larger trees

Copyright 2014; Information based on products supplied by Lighting for Gardens Limited and is advisory only. The company accepts no responsibility for incorrect use or application of information given. Light fittings can become hot in use; exercise appropriate precautions. Exterior electrical installations should be undertaken by a qualified electrician.Graphic reproduced with permission from ”Garden lighting” by John Raine, published by Hamlyn 2001