Outdoor Lighting Project Lighting Up Your Trees

Have a tree in your backyard that’s the centrepiece of the landscape? Have a tree with an interesting shape even without leaves? Light it up! Trees are an important aspect of your landscape design and they shouldn’t be left out of your outdoor lighting design either.

Trees can add a magical or romantic atmosphere to the yard, or a festive one depending on the time of year. Think of it as an additional layer of drama or depth to the landscape lighting after dark. There are a few things to consider before you get started though.

Pick A Sturdy Tree

No matter how interesting the shape, if you plan to place fixtures in or on the tree it needs to be sturdy. Trying these techniques with trees that are too thin, too young, or damaged can add perhaps overwhelming stress. There’s no point in highlighting a damaged tree anyway.

Where is the tree in your landscape?

Consider how close the tree is to your patio or wherever you will be viewing it from. The further away the tree is typically the most lights you’ll need so it remains a focal point. A tree that will be part of the backdrop of the lighting design will require fewer lights. You might choose softer light for the tree in the backyard, but a brighter light for trees intended to be viewed from the street.

Tree Lighting Techniques

Uplighting - Shine light up from the base of the trunk into the leaves. This highlights trees with unusual shapes or bark or trees that are thin.

Silhouettes and Shadows - Use lighting to create a silhouette using the trees. Place a light between the tree and a solid fixture like a fence or wall to have the tree’s shape create a striking silhouette. Place the light in front of the tree and cast the shadow on the fence or wall instead. This second effect makes smaller trees look bigger. These techniques create a layer of texture to your outdoor lighting design.

Wrapping – This technique is very popular at Christmas, but it can add a romantic feel to the evening so is common at weddings and other special events. One thing to remember with this technique is to choose small bulbs because they highlight and accent the tree’s natural shapes and texture. Mini-lights are a popular choice.


Keep in mind how the tree will look in different seasons. Will the lighting you’ve chosen allow for flexibility in summer and winter? Maybe that’s not an issue, but you might as well get the most out of your lighting design as possible. How much do you want to invest in upgrading your outdoor electricity capacity? High-powered lights require more power and sometimes separate wiring.

Let us help you shine a light on your home or business landscaping with our expert lighting design and installment services. Contact us today for an estimate.

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