Landscape Lighting For Trees

LLPLandscape Lighting Design

landscape lighting for trees cover photo

Trees are a big part of a landscape lighting project. For some homes trees can be one of the main objects home owners want showcased. So we thought we’d show you some basic techniques for doing landscape lighting for trees that we thought you might find helpful. Let’s get started!

Creating Artificial Moonlight

We thought we’d start off strong here with a technique called moonlighting. For this technique, you use strategically placed downlights in your trees to create artificial moonlight. Not only does this look great, but it’s also really nice to have for isolated walkways or benches. To do this effectively you need to make sure the downlights have to shine through a few branches. If the light doesn’t have to shine through anything then it won’t seem like moonlight nearly as much and the light may be too intense.

One thing to note about lighting techniques: they all require experimentation. Unless you have an expert who has already done a lot of experimentation, you will want to try new things until you get the look you want. That being said, landscape lighting for trees is fairly simple and you should not have too much trouble.

Create and Utilize Shadows

When doing landscape lighting for trees you always want to keep shadows in mind. Creating shadows with your trees is one of the more dramatic effects you can use. The idea is to use lighting to cast a big shadow of your tree onto your home. When this is done right it can look quite professional. Before you consider using this effect, make sure your trees have fairly spread out foliage. Tree shadows aren’t well utilized when they are just the outline of the tree. You want some branches in there as well.

Tree or Silhouette?

On the flip side of creating big tree shadows on your home’s walls, you may not want your home covered in shadows. Everyone has different preferences and that is perfectly okay! You can actually highlight your home’s walls using your trees. It’s pretty simple, actually. If you have a tree that is close to your home, all you have to do is place a spotlight between the tree and the wall and face it toward the wall. This gives the tree close to the wall a silhouette effect and blacks it out. The eye will be attracted to the wall because it is what is being highlighted. Simple, right?


It pays to pay attention to accenting. Whenever you do landscape lighting for trees, or for anything else, you use accenting. Even if you don’t know you are using it. Accenting is any time you use light to highlight specific parts of an object. Think about in the movies when people would hold a flashlight under their face to tell ghost stories. That’s accenting! But what we show you won’t be so scary. This is actually a bit less of a technique and more something to keep in your mind as you do your lighting projects. Every time you put a light in you are accenting something, and you have to think about if what you are highlighting is what you want highlighted. For example, you could just randomly put up a light in front of one of your trees and accent the trunk beautifully. But that wouldn’t make much sense if it were a cherry tree with amazing pink peddles above the trunk. If you keep accenting in mind, you will place your lights in better places.

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