Tips for Choosing the Most Illuminating Outdoor Lights for Trees

illuminating outdoor lights for treesIlluminating outdoor lights for trees can be tricky because different styles work best given the tree shape and the surrounding property. Many homeowners rely on sidewalk or home lighting to highlight the elements in their yard, but a few selectively placed lights can make all the difference. In order to create a landscape that leaves an impact, consider the three basic types of tree lighting and how they apply to your property.

The following three methods for landscape illumination can be applied to most residential trees:

1. Uplighting:

Lights set below or at ground level and directed upward toward a tree’s trunk and branches can go a long way toward creating dramatic effect. Don’t confuse this with basic illumination. The light isn’t caste by sidewalk markers or the light from the front porch. It’s intended to create a larger-than-life impression, the result of which can appear more illusion than reality. It’s especially effective when paired with uniquely colored lights.

Uplighting can be used for any tree, but it works especially well with shade or flowering trees. Topiaries may also benefit, and they’re really an excellent choice. Uplighting works well for highlighting special elements in your yard, so a sculpted plant or one with unique-shaped leaves—like gingkoes, for instance—would be a perfect fit.

2. Silhouetting:

For properties with canvas-like structures—long stretches of privacy fence or expansive, flat walls that are light in color—silhouetting really packs a punch. In this lighting method, fixtures are situated in ways to project shadows. Lights can be placed at ground level in the grass or attached to other walls. This technique can be used in combination with uplighting to create optical illusions or straight on for a shadow box-like presentation.

Silhouetting is the perfect solution to a long, flat surface you aren’t sure what to do with. It can also wind up being incredibly economical when plants are already in place. As a seasonal installation, a tree silhouette can help manage the bare limbs of winter, though this technique works especially well with species that have distinctive body shapes or those that are easy to trim or train, such as poplar, birch or boxwood.

3. Moonlighting:

Placing lights high up in tree branches or even over the tops of trees can help create a superbly dramatic effect on the ground. As light filters through the branches, shadows are caste downward. This is an especially effective method for plants with intricate leaf shapes or when used over a patio or other area of your property which you want to attract attention.

Moonlight pairs naturally with shade trees from 3 to 15 feet tall. Taller than that, and it’s difficult for the light to reach the ground adequately without being overpowering to look at directly. Also, this can be an effective way to improve security around your home without making it obvious or deterring from the aesthetics you’ve worked so hard to create.

Other Tree Lighting Tricks

Miniature LED string lighting is a common sight during the holiday season, but when purchased and placed thoughtfully, they can work in your yard at any time of year. Attach a small bit of wire to each light for maximum placement precision and select a color—like white or blue—that isn’t often associated with Christmas celebrations. You can also hang mason jars in full, leafy trees and bundle lights inside of them to create a whimsical glow.

For an incredibly romantic outdoor nighttime display, secure battery-powered tea light candles to any tree using fishing line or kite string. This is a good choice for deciduous trees with full tops and branches close to head height.

Most of these methods can be put in place by any homeowner, but if you’re worried about getting the placement right or if you’re afraid you lack the tools or expertise to get the job done right, consider hiring a professional for installation. Call Showcase Outdoors at (470) 251-2033 for a free estimate on illuminating outdoor lights for trees.