How to Light an Outdoor Tree

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Outdoor lighting can act as a beneficial accent for a home and landscape, particularly if there is a lot of foliage or space. It can make your landscape appear more attractive and help highlight a tree as a focal point. It is important to consider what you want out of the outdoor lighting before choosing lighting for a tree on your landscape. For example, you must consider the tree's size and shape and how far you want the light to reach.

How to Light an Outdoor Tree
(Renee Lewis/Demand Media)
Step 1

Pick a tree on your landscape that is a strong structure and acts as a focal point of your landscape. You want to accent something that draws attention and can bring the eye to other parts of your property. A good rule of thumb is to choose one of the most attractive trees on your lawn.

Renee Lewis/Demand Media
Step 2

Consider how far you want the lighting to reach, such as the distance the light can reach. What angle will people be viewing the tree from? Do you want the lighting to be noticeable from the end of the block or have it be more subtle? If your tree is closer to the road, it will need less light; if it is hidden by the side of your house or by a fence, you will need it to be illuminated more so that the tree stands out from other large objects.

Renee Lewis/Demand Media
Step 3

Sketch out a shape of the tree that you can show the store employee when buying the light fixtures, as the shape, canopy size and density will all come into play when choosing the fixtures. Trees that are very dense will need to be lit outside of the canopy to provide more light reflection, while a more open tree can be lit up from the base of the trunk.

Renee Lewis/Demand Media
Step 4

Choose a light fixture to light your outdoor tree from a hardware, lighting or home store. The most common outdoor lighting is recessed (more durable) or stake-mounted (most economical and flexible), according to CreativeOutdoorLighting.com.

Renee Lewis/Demand Media
Step 5

Choose the lighting bulbs based not only on how much light you want but also your tree's foliage. Lighter foliage will reflect more light, so low voltage lighting may be best; darker foliage will need more light since it will absorb it easier. The larger the tree, the more voltage output is needed to produce effective lighting.

Renee Lewis/Demand Media

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