Professional Garden Lighting Ideas for Your Next Landscaping Project

Professional Garden Lighting Ideas for Your Next Landscaping Project

Looking to add a new dimension to your landscaping designs? Professional garden lighting is a lucrative upsell opportunity for landscape contractors. There’s a tremendous demand for professional garden lighting middle and high income markets, and at in-lite, we're here to help you take advantage of it! 

With professional garden lighting, you can make any backyard feel like a private resort. In this article, we will discuss the different types of garden lighting systems and how to go about choosing an outdoor lighting supplier, along with 7 inspiring gardening lighting projects that will turn heads and bring new customers in droves! 

1. Types of Garden Lighting

The first thing to note is that there are three types of garden lighting: low voltage lighting (12V), line voltage lighting (120V), and solar lighting. Among these three, there is one that provides a clear advantage to landscapers and outdoor lighting professionals. 

a) Low Voltage vs. Line Voltage Garden Lighting

If you're new to landscape lighting, you might not know what low voltage lighting is, how it works, or how and why it differs from traditional outdoor lighting. 

Low voltage lighting uses a low voltage transformer to convert the standard 120-volt line voltage into 12 volts. Putting in a low voltage lighting transformer is easy: just connect it to any outdoor GFCI outlet on the side of the house, under the deck, or inside a shed. Then, you can run a standard low voltage cable and plug in your low voltage fixtures. 

Line voltage is the standard 120 volts that's found in outlets and junction boxes in the United States and Canada. Although outdoor lighting manufacturers do still make line voltage fixtures, professional outdoor light installers increasingly favor low voltage lighting for several reasons: 

  1. Safety First: Low voltage lighting poses no danger to you as an installer or to your clients. You don't need to be an electrician to install it properly, and there’s no risk of someone getting a nasty shock. 

  2. Installation is Easy: Low voltage cables do not need to be buried deep underground (but be sure to check your local code for exact depth requirements), changing out fixtures is easy, and 12-volt cables can be terminated anywhere. Just install sealing caps (included with the transformer) or wrap with electrical tape and you’re done! 

  3. Just as Bright: Low voltage lights put out the exact same amount of light as 120-volt lights, so there’s no compromising on brightness. Some of our largest lights can project light up to 30 feet! 

These days, you only really see line voltage garden lighting on commercial properties or in public spaces. 12V garden lighting has changed the residential lighting game for the better! 

b) What About Solar Garden Lighting?

Solar lighting is a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers, and it offers some neat benefits: it’s easy to install, eco-friendly, and affordable. Especially the last part — solar garden lights are dirt cheap. 

However, as a professional garden lighting installer, solar garden lights have serious shortcomings that will come back to haunt you. 

  • The tiny, cheap solar panels can only recharge on a cloudless day. If you don't live in an area that has reliable year-round sunshine, then this landscape lighting option isn't likely to meet your clients’ needs.
  • Often, solar lights are made with cheap plastics and poor quality LEDs. The average 3-watt low voltage garden light gives off 350-400 times more lumens than a similar solar light. 

  • Solar lights have a very low battery capacity, so your customers will have to replace the old batteries with new ones before long. Does anyone really want to stomp all over their garden bed just to change a battery? 

Solar garden lights are brilliant in theory, but your budget-conscious customers will be unhappy when their solar garden lights go out every rainy day. It’s just not worth it.

2. Essential Garden Lighting Fixtures & How to Use Them 

Let's look at the different light placements you'll need to create a beautiful garden lighting design. 

a) Recessed Lights

in-sider recessed light garden perimeter

Recessed or in-ground lights are essentially a spotlight that is embedded in the ground, with the face of the fitting sitting flush with the surface of the ground. They are most used at the edges of driveways and paths, but they can also be installed into step risers and retaining walls to emit a well-lit area to avoid any possible tripping hazards. 

Recessed lights can also be mounted on top of a short spike and pushed into a soft lawn, gravel, garden mulch or dirt. Installation couldn’t be easier! It’s the perfect fixture for gardens that require lighting while plants are still maturing and growing. 

Some recessed garden lights come with spikes attached to the fixture, while others can be attached to spikes that are sold separately. We make spikes in two different sizes, the SPIKE and SPIKE 22, that can be used to secure our recessed lights into softer surfaces such as dirt, grass, or mulch.

in-sider recessed garden light with spike

b) Outdoor Spotlights

in-sider garden spot lights

Spotlights can be mounted in an elevated position on walls or trees and angled downwards; or placed at ground level on a spike, pointing upwards or level. 

They provide a wide beam of light to illuminate a large area of a landscape or pathway by bringing light to trees, retaining walls, tall bushes, water features and statues.

c) Garden Wall Lights

in-sider garden wall lights

Garden wall lights are different from spotlights in that they are decorative light fittings that both provide light to an outdoor area and flatter the space. Garden walls are perfect for bringing lighting during outdoor activities, entertaining, and avoiding tripping hazards while spending time outside at night hours. 

Garden wall lights are the perfect fixture for retaining walls and placing on fences for optimal lighting.

d) Garden Bollard Lights

in-sider garden lighting by nunez nursery landscaping

Bollard lights come in a large range of sizes and styles to meet all your lighting needs. Along with giving careful thought to the size and style that you choose, you should also consider how the lighting is emitted depending on the size. Some bollards provide 360 degrees of light, which is ideal for large, open spaces. Others shine in a single direction, providing a narrower beam of light and illuminating what is directly in front of it, rather than what’s around it. 

Garden bollard lights are best used for areas such as driveways, wider garden paths and lawns.

e) Garden Path Lights

in-sider garden path lights

Garden path lights are both cosmetic and practical. They are the perfect fixture for lining the perimeter of the lawn and flower bed to show off the beautiful landscaping job and design as well as create a safe and visible walkway at night.     

Garden path lights are a wonderful edition to spice up your outdoor area while still illuminating the space to be nighttime friendly! 

3) Garden Lighting Ideas: 7 Lighting Designs for Your Inspiration

a) Lawn Border Lighting Design by PAYSAGEMENT PAVPRO

in-sider garden lighting by paysagement pavpro

An elegant and unique take on outdoor garden lighting that borders a lawn while brightening a pathway with a triangular light shape.

b) Patio & Pergola Lighting Design by Calumma Creative

in-sider garden lighting by calumma creative 

These white LIV LOW fixtures are the perfect low bollard lights to highlight the surrounding greenery without stealing the show.

c) Staircase to Paradise by Nunez Nursery Landscaping

in-sider garden lighting by nunez nursery landscaping

Featuring the LIV LOW, SCOPE, and SWAY, this design incorporates low lighting that creates depth while accentuating the stone staircase.

d) Poolside Garden by Soundview Gardens

in-sider garden lighting by soundview gardens

The DISC LOW paves the way for a safely lit pool area while illuminating the beautiful landscape design.

e) Layered Garden Garden by Wetlawn Inc.

in-sider garden lighting by wetlawn inc

A layered approach to landscape lighting using the SCOPE creates a magical and mysterious outdoor pathway experience. 

f) Starfield by Mike Pyle

in-sider garden lighting by mike pyle

FUSION 22 fixtures on the wall and SCOPE fixtures on the plants create an unforgettable starry night feel by the pool.

g) Handcrafted Retaining Wall by Soundview Gardens

in-sider garden lighting by sunview gardens

This design incorporates undercap lights underneath the stone coping for a subtle but well-lit upscale look.

Choosing a Lighting Supplier for Outdoor Garden Lighting

There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the best outdoor lighting supplier for your landscape lighting business. Some factors that may be important to you include the quality of the lights, the level of customer support, and whether or not an outdoor lighting supplier offers a warranty. 

a) Warranty

Garden lights will be subjected to the elements (especially North American climates), so it’s important you can rely on their durability. Choosing a manufacturer or supplier with a quality warranty policy is the first step in making sure that you are investing in lighting fixtures that are worth your time and money. 

b) Outdoor-Rated/Waterproof & Weatherproof

Make sure to only install outdoor-rated fixtures and bulbs. Look for words like “weatherproof,” “weather-resistant,” and “suitable for outdoor use” on the packaging. There is no point in investing in a product that is not suited for the job of creating quality outdoor lighting! 

c) LED 12v Garden Lighting

LEDs have the longest life out of any outdoor lighting, which is important for garden lighting, because most are meant for permanent installations that won’t be changed on a whim. LED lighting requires professional maintenance and installation but are worth the expense because of their life span and durability. 

Getting Started With Professional Garden Lighting 

It can be overwhelming to decide on outdoor lighting due to the wide variety of fixtures and lighting options available. When you're educating your customers and yourself about what their outdoor illumination options are, you'll want to take all products and systems into consideration. 

Contact us online or give us a call at +1 866 692 8805 to speak to a lighting professional and learn more about our products at in-lite. We wish you the best of luck in your outdoor lighting journey!