How to beautifully arrange and choose garden path lighting
Garden path lighting is a crucial aspect of your landscape lighting scheme. It offers practical illumination so your friends, family and visitors can safely navigate your outdoor paths in the dark. However, there is no reason why your garden path lighting has to be unsightly. Use stunning, classic or trendy garden path lights to illuminate your paths in style to keep you safe and illuminate your garden beautifully.
In this guide, we will help you choose the right garden path lights for your garden and help you arrange them so they provide stylish yet practical illumination throughout the year.
Table of contents
- How do you illuminate a garden path?
- What type of lighting is used for walkways?
- How far apart should you place pathway lights?
How do you illuminate a garden path?
There are several techniques you can implement to illuminate your garden path. Choose the effect to help you create the mood you want in your garden.
The primary way to illuminate a garden path is to use accent lighting. Accent lighting is where you use light to highlight a particular feature, object or area. Lights like spotlights, step lights and garden spike lights cast a focused beam on the path to illuminate it.
Another way to illuminate a path is to light up the space around it or create general lighting so passersby can see where they’re walking. Lights like border lights, bollard lights and lamp posts produce ambient lighting.
Uplighting is where you shine a light upwards from the ground or a raised surface. Uplighting using ground lights or spotlights can dramatically affect your garden and frame a garden path by signalling the edge.
Silhouetting and Shadowing
Your path lights don’t always need to be centre stage. Place spike lights and spotlights amongst your foliage and flower beds to create light, shadow and silhouettes to signify the path edge. Silhouetting can create a much softer, more subtle mood.
Moonlighting is the art of using artificial lights to create a soft glow that mimics moonlight. Often using a cooler light temperature, you can use tree lights to point downwards and highlight your garden path in romantic moonlight.
Grazing is when you shine a beam of light up, down or across a flat surface to create dramatic light and shadow over the surface. Grazing can provide a fantastic effect on textured surfaces like a garden path. Some of our covered ground lights cast light outwards and can achieve this effect.
Washing is another way to produce ambient light. It creates a well-lit space by flooding it with a wide light beam.
Whatever type of lights you choose, make sure you select LED lights. LED lights are the future for garden landscape lighting. The bulbs last longer, and they are more energy-efficient than their predecessors. They’re also versatile, allowing you to select the ideal colour temperature to create the best mood. LED lights can also be used with remote controls, offering additional features like timers, dimmers and colour-changing features.
Installation and transformers
Next, decide whether to wire your path lights via the mains or opt for low-voltage garden lights. We usually recommend using low-voltage lights as they’re safer if an animal or child comes into contact with a damaged wire. Low-voltage lights need transformers and drivers to step the voltage down. Whether you opt for mains or low-voltage path lights, we always recommend you employ a professional to complete any electrical wiring.
What type of lighting is used for walkways?
Depending on the effect you want to create, you have a broad choice of path light options.
Ground lights are a fantastic option for illuminating your pathway. Recessed into the ground, the square or circular dots shine light upwards or outwards depending on the light direction. Place them at staggered intervals to illuminate your path edge in even, subtle light or recess pairs of ground lights at opposite sides to create a more uniform look. Ground lights provide light without taking up space, giving an effortless illumination effect.
You can recess ground lights into gravel, or the paving. Some ground lights are robust enough to take the weight of a human, look out for the ones marked as walkover lights. Or if they are likely to be driven over, look out for driverover lights. To find the perfect path lights for your garden paths, check out our ground light collection where there are numerous ground light options in various finishes.
If you don’t like the idea of your path lights shining upward beams, you can always opt for a light that illuminates the path from above. Border lights and Pole lights illuminate the path from above at around knee height while poised on a pole driven into the ground.
There are three kinds of pole lights to choose from, including spotlights on a pole that provide concentrated adjustable light beams to where you want to illuminate your path. Or, for a more subtle light wash, you can opt for a shaded pole light that casts light down and outwards. You can also choose pole lights that have decorative hoods on top of the pole that cast an ambient halo of light. To select your ideal finish, browse our range of pole lights online today.
Bollard lights are the chunkier, more commercial version of pole lights. Line these down the side of a path to create a general glow and help people find their way. Bollards usually signal a boundary or indicate an area demarcation making them perfect for illuminating a path.
Discover various styles, finishes and designs in our bollard lights collection online today.
Why not go bold with a set of lamp posts? If you have a large path that requires a more significant amount of light, lamp posts can provide a general wash of light and look elegant. After all, many public pathways have lamp posts, so why not mimic this classic style on your property or commercial area? From vintage oil-style lamp posts with intricate metalwork to modern and sleek lamp post designs, you can choose lamp posts that best reflect your property style. Find the perfect style and finish in our lamp post collection online today.
Consider opting for a pedestal light if your path runs alongside a solid feature like a brick wall or raised bed. These work well on top of high plinths and cast their light from above. You can find pedestal lights in Victorian or industrial styles that resemble vintage oil lamps. Or, you can find modern versions of this light to match a contemporary exterior. Find the perfect style and finish to help you illuminate your path with our pedestal lights collection.
If your path leads to a set of stairs, you must illuminate them correctly so people don’t trip due to insufficient lighting. If there is a wall by the steps, you can install a recessed step light into the wall to cast an accent light onto it. Alternatively, you can install lights into the step risers to illuminate the step from the centre beneath the lips.
Some step lights have hooded eyelids to concentrate the light downwards to highlight as much of the step as possible and not dazzle the passerby. Find an extensive range of styles, designs and finishes in our online step light collection.
If you don’t want the hassle of getting your path lights wired, you can always opt for solar lights to illuminate your path. Stick them on the soft ground, or mount them to the stone path and let the sun do the work.
Be aware that if there is limited sunlight during the winter, this can make your solar lights inefficient. Luckily, path lights don’t need to be extremely bright to fulfil their purpose, just enough to guide footfall safety in the right direction. Browse our solar light collection today for our complete range of solar lights.
A more unconventional way of lighting a path but equally stunning is using spotlights to shine light down on the path. Spotlights create a wash of light from above with a more general ambient light while still enabling you to point the light towards your path. Install spotlights from walls or hang tree lights from trees to illuminate your path.
Tree and spotlights can also create a more romantic moonlight effect as the light is more indirect.
Garden spike lights
Another way you can illuminate a path is indirectly by creating silhouettes. If your pathway is near a shrub or flower bed, you can use garden spike lights to illuminate the foliage, indirectly framing the path in light.
Sometimes playing with shadows and silhouettes is just as effective as accent lighting. Discover our range of garden spike lights in our collection in various finishes to suit your garden aesthetic.
Another very romantic way to illuminate a path is using festoon lights. Get a set of shepherd crooks, or use trees that line the pathway. Hang festoon lights to light the path and guide your friends and family to the door or entertaining area. Festoon lights dance in the night and look stunning in any garden.
Why not browse our range of festoon lights today and complete your garden landscape lighting scheme in style?
How far apart should you place pathway lights?
The main aim of path lighting is to illuminate the walkway so people have a gentle guide to the destination; a door or a patio area. Using understated lighting can create a beautifully subtle effect and help to provide a safe walkway. It doesn’t need to have integration-style illumination to be effective. Therefore placement is crucial to create a beautiful yet functional pathway.
When planning your light placements, read the manufacturer’s guide to determine the beam distribution. Wherever the beam diameter ends, install your next light outside that area. Or, we recommend setting your path lights 10-15 feet apart so that the light is subtle and does the job but isn’t too overwhelming.
Garden Path Lighting at Moonlight Design
Here at Moonlight Design, we are experts in landscape lighting. We can help you choose the perfect lights to create the light effect you want at your ideal price. If you want an expert hand with your lighting requirements, read about our lighting design and installation service.
Or, use our expert advice in the guide to help you choose the perfect lights in our garden path lights collection online today.