Uplighting Landscape Lighting

How to Use Uplighting Landscape Lighting

Uplighting landscape lighting is a wonderful lighting effect to utilize in your landscape. Whether you want gentle ambient light or a sharp, dramatic effect, uplighting may be a technique you want to consider. It works well on all kinds of landscape features, from trees and shrubs to walls and statues.

Here are some things to consider about uplighting landscape lighting and whether and how to install it at your home.

What is Uplighting Landscape Lighting?

Uplighting is when lights are cast from the ground upwards. It is a technique that is very often used on trees but can also be used on a range of other aspects of your landscaping. It isn't the easiest lighting technique to achieve, but it is one of the most versatile and useful in your landscape.

When uplighting, the emphasis is typically placed on the subject, not the lighting fixture itself. This makes it distinctly different from some other types of lighting like path lighting, in which the fixture is often part of the artistic effect. Here are a few things that can be uplit and why you might want to choose to uplight them:

American National Sprinkler & Lighting - uplighting landscape lighting used on this tree in the front of a client's home in Lake County, IL.


Trees are perhaps the most common subject for uplighting for good reason. Uplighting creates a charming effect when used on trees. Light shining up the trunk and onto the lower branches and foliage draws attention to the details in the bark and makes the trunk and branches appear to be a sort of architectural art form.

Lighting cast up onto the foliage can highlight the lovely colors in the leaves. Uplighting trees also tends to cast ambient light below, which makes this a great technique for creating a gentle glow across lawns and hardscapes as well.


Uplighting statues can create a dramatic effect which can make statues even more appealing at night than they are during the day. When uplighting statues, the fixture is generally placed a little bit further away than it usually is for trees. This enables the statue to be lit from below without casting strange shadows.

Uplighting draws attention to all the beautiful texture in a statue and can make the statue seem larger than life in the landscape. It works well on statues of all types and sizes, whether modern metal art or rough age-worn stone.


Moving water is a beautiful feature of any landscape, but it can be particularly charming when lit up in the evening. Uplighting fountains throws the running water into sharp relief, making each drop enthralling.

Uplighting is also beautiful on the fountain structure itself, working in a similar way to how it works on statues or stone features. When uplit properly, fountains become a gorgeous centerpiece for your garden.

Stone Features

If you have stone features in your landscape, you are really missing out on an opportunity if you don't uplight them. Uplighting stone features draws attention to the fascinating detail in the rock and brings out color or sparkle as well. It's also a great way to throw beautiful light on any plants around the stone.

Walls and Fences

Uplighting fences and walls is a great way to make a beautiful display of perimeters as well as lighting up the borders of your property for safety. Walls and fences with uplighting are an ideal backdrop for any other landscape lighting that you want to utilize in your property.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that lights should be placed close together to completely wash walls and fences with light. In reality, it works much better to space lighting fixtures further apart to create separate pools of light evenly along the wall or fence.

Should You Install Uplighting Landscape Lighting Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Unless you have extensive experience installing outdoor lighting, it is probably best to hire a professional landscape lighting services company to install uplighting. Uplighting landscape lighting comes with some unique challenges that can make it very hard to do right. Some mistakes that the do-it-yourselfer might make can even be dangerous.

Here are some considerations to help you decide whether you should handle uplighting landscape lighting yourself or hire professional landscape lighting.

Uplighting Can Be a Challenge

Creating the desired effect with uplighting isn't easy. Of all the landscape lighting techniques, uplighting may be the most difficult. The challenge comes because lights are shining up, which makes it difficult to keep them from shining into the face of viewers or landing somewhere you don't want them.

Here are a few of the challenges you'll face with uplighting:

  • Tone of light. Variations between the warmth or coolness of the light can make a huge difference in the effect you create, from cozy to dramatic.
  • Intensity of light. For uplighting to work well, all of the lighting fixtures need to appear to have the same level of intensity. Since intensity varies dramatically depending on how wide or narrow the beam is and what the subject is, creating consistency can be hard.
  • Looking good from multiple viewing angles. You may be able to get uplighting to look very attractive from one viewing angle, but then you'll approach from another direction and find that it doesn't look attractive at all.

It Can be Dangerous to Install Uplighting Landscape Lighting

Since landscape lighting is so often low voltage, many people make the mistake of thinking that there aren't many risks in installing it. In fact, even low voltage landscape lighting does come with some important risks to consider.

Improper wiring of landscape lighting can cause a short or leave wiring vulnerable to being hit by a lawnmower or other gardening tool, resulting in the possibility of not only damaging the wiring but causing a shock.

If uplighting landscape lighting isn't aimed properly, it can shine into a street, creating a hazard. It can also shine into your neighbor’s homes, which may not be dangerous but certainly will not make your neighbor very happy.

Landscape Lighting Tips: Uplighting

Whether you will be installing uplighting landscape lighting yourself or hiring a professional, you may be wondering what is relevant to the installation of this kind of lighting. Here are some things to keep in mind whenever uplighting is installed:

  • Be conservative with wall and exterior house uplighting. Many people make the mistake of thinking that lights cast upon the walls of a house or perimeter walls should be a continuous wash of light. In fact, this kind of uplighting landscape lighting works best as individual pools of light which are well-defined and do not intersect with one another.
  • Use multiple lights for large trees. It may seem intuitive to simply use a larger light for a larger tree. In fact, large trees look best when multiple lights from multiple angles are used so that they intersect with one another. One light should always go up the base of the trunk.
  • Uplighting isn't just for large objects. Think that you have to see the light go over your head in order for it to be effective uplighting? Think again. Uplighting works very well on smaller objects like shrubs and low statues as well.
  • Lean towards unobtrusive light fixtures. Uplighting is generally not the time to be elaborate with lighting fixtures. You want the emphasis to be on the subject, not the fixture. Fixtures that are low and discreet or even buried or hidden are a good idea.
  • Begin by uplighting trees. Start your uplighting landscape lighting journey with trees, as trees will help to define what will work best for the rest of the space. You may think that you need a lot more ambient lighting until you light up trees and realize how much light they shed on the ground. If you are only going to uplight a couple of things in your landscape, uplighting the trees is probably your best use of lights.
  • Don't be afraid of dramatic effects. When uplighting landscape lighting is first installed, it can be easy to find the difference a bit shocking and want to lean towards more subtle effects. Although there's nothing wrong with subtle uplighting, the dramatic effects that can be created can be very beautiful, although they may look too different to you at the beginning.

How to Choose Landscape Lighting Services Near Me

The best uplighting landscape lighting professionals have a lot of experience with not just uplighting but all kinds of landscape lighting in your area. They will have a long track record of successful landscape lighting with plenty of satisfied customers.

Furthermore, the ideal uplighting landscape lighting services have plenty of technicians to install your lighting and to service it down the road. The professionals who install your lighting will be more than happy to discuss your goals and needs and help you achieve lighting that works perfectly for you.

American National Sprinkler & Lighting has been installing uplighting landscape lighting and other kinds of landscape lighting since the early 1980s. We have over 20 technicians who are ready to serve you whenever you need assistance. If you're looking for the best possible uplighting landscape lighting, don't hesitate to call us.