Downlighting vs. Uplighting: Which Solution Works Best to Light Up Your Home? 

Interior lights aren’t the only type of lighting you need to consider for your home. When the sun goes down, you outdoor living space should be well lit and beautiful. Good outdoor lighting highlights the architecture of your home, your gorgeous garden and anything else you want to enjoy after sunset. Landscape lighting should be subtle and natural. You shouldn’t be able to see fixtures, and it should accent focal points of your exterior. Outdoor lighting is inviting and welcoming, offers safety and increases your property value. Ready to find out which exterior lighting is best for you? Take a look at downlighting vs. uplighting and when you should use each one.


Uplighting is created by strategically placing light fixtures on the ground and pointing them upward. Spotlights and well lights are examples of uplighting typically used to illuminate structures or objects. The positioning of light helps to highlight texture and shape, drawing attention to objects such as statues and trees. Uplighting draws the eye up and creates depth in the landscape once the sun goes down. With uplighting, light can either be positioned to shine directly on a surface such as a wall, or it can be positioned to light up and under a feature such as a tree’s canopy. 

Take a look around your property to see if there are any specific features you want to accentuate. From charming columns to a beautiful statue, to a pergola or patio structure, these are all features that would look amazing with uplighting.


Downlighting is essentially the opposite of uplighting- fixtures are mounted up high on structures and pointed downwards to accent whatever’s below it. It works great for gardens, water features, or any other ground-level focal points you want to highlight. Downlighting creates a natural light atmosphere, providing the look and feel of moonlight. Downlighting fixtures can be tucked into a tree, positioned behind natural stone, or any other landscape element. When a fixture is mounted from high in the trees, it creates a dappled light effect that shines naturally through branches and leaves. It’s ideal for lighting driveways, lawns and patios and provides an element of safety for your home. 

Combination Lighting

Depending on your yard and landscaping, you may find that a combination of uplighting and downlighting works best. Using both types of lighting in unison with each other generally has the most appealing effect. Since natural light floods in from all different angles, mixing uplighting and downlighting will give your yard the most natural look. Using both of them creates a combination of subtle and dramatic lighting for your outdoor living space. Layer them, using uplighting to accent certain architectural features, statues or foliage and downlighting to light up low-growing plants, sitting areas and water features.

Front yard and backyard lighting can completely transform your home, whether you’re entertaining or relaxing with your family. Uplighting and downlighting both each serve their own unique purpose, but if you can’t choose which one to use, using both is sure to create an outdoor living space you love to spend time in and show off!