Outside Pool Lighting Ideas


Pools are wonderful additions to a backyard landscape. A pool is a place to cool off on hot days or to entertain day or night. Unfortunately, a pool may also sometimes pose a hazard -- especially to children and pets, or adults who may be unaware of its presence. Installing lights helps guide visitors safely around the pool while lighting the area for enjoyable night use. With all the lighting style choices on the market, pools can be lit for beauty as well as safety.

Getting There

  • Lights on paths leading to and around the pool landscape should be placed no more than 15 feet apart, as that is the maximum distance they can light effectively, according to Landscape Design Advice. Use under-stair or inset deck lights on wooden stairs, decks or railings along tricky parts of the path for inconspicuous yet powerful lighting where it is needed most. Tiered or pedestal lights are an elegant way to add light to paths through lawns and open areas where it may be impossible to hide fixtures in flower beds or foliage. Alternate lights on either side of the path to form a gentle line of overlapping light.

Entertaining in the Pool Landscape

  • Place bright spotlights -- aimed upward -- to highlight a cabana, a gazebo or other natural or architectural features near the pool. Aim or screen them in such a way so as to illuminate the area without blinding visitors or neighbors. Down lights concealed in large trees -- especially if used with a blue filter -- add romance in areas of relative safety further away from the pool edge. The glow of LED twinkle lights threaded through foliage offers minimal light but plenty of charm.

Around the Pool

  • Close to the pool's edge, where paths may be slippery and sure footing is a necessity, it is important to use stronger lighting. Install flush-mounted deck lights that follow the shape of the pool to guide folks around it. Because they are level with the decking, they are not a tripping hazard. For added drama, use gas torches here and there a few feet from the pool. The flickering flame reflected in the water of the pool makes the water dance and play. Torches highlight the pool at parties, and are especially fitting for a Polynesian theme.

In the Pool

  • Many newer pools have pool lights built in. These serve the same function as the recessed deck lights -- to outline the pool and make it obvious. If your pool is older or without built-in lights, you can get a similar effect with waterproof LED rope lighting attached all the way around the edge of the pool or hidden beneath an inside lip of the pool. LEDs are long lasting and available in many colors to suit your decorating needs. You can also create a magical scene by using floating LEDs -- many are shaped like lotus blossoms or come in other water-inspired forms -- on the pool surface.

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