Up Lighting vs Down Lighting: Guide for Your Outdoor Space

Oct 31, 2022 2:07:33 PM

When it comes to lighting your Memphis property, you might be surprised by how many techniques can be utilized to create just the right effect. Two popular choices are uplighting and downlighting.

As you might have guessed (and just as the names imply) when you uplight a landscape, the lights point up. When you are downlighting an exterior, the lights point down.

But how can you know which technique is best in which scenario? Honestly, that’s one of the key reasons to lean on a professional. However, we’ll give you some helpful tips that will assist in understanding the difference between uplighting vs. downlighting.

Uplighting vs. Downlighting: When to Use Each?

As with all landscape lighting decisions, choosing the best technique depends upon what you’re trying to light. Here are a few considerations.

Downlighting an Exterior Space

As we mentioned, when down lights are used in a landscape, the lights are shining downward. Oftentimes, trees make the perfect place to mount lights so that downlighting can be achieved. But lights can also be installed at other high points around the property.

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Typically, downlighting is used to light up driveways and walkways so that people can see where they are going. Downlights can also be used as a way to light up a patio space and make it more functional.

Downlighting is sometimes also referred to as “moonlighting” because it has a similar effect as the moon by casting light downward. It can be a much more subtle and attractive way to light up a space.

In fact, downlighting is one of our favorite techniques as it’s such a great way to illuminate an area.

Uplighting an Exterior Space

As we explained, uplighting is the exact opposite of downlighting in that the lights are installed at ground level and pointed upward. We often use uplighting to light up architectural features of a home, trees, and other focal points (like sculptures or other areas of the landscape).

Uplighting can also be a great technique for creating shadows and adding depth and interest to your property.


While we do often think of uplighting as an aesthetic addition, it does also add a sense of security to the home. The better lit the home is, the better able you’ll be to deter unwanted intruders. Uplighting often ends up lighting up windows and doors, ultimately making them safer.

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Choosing Uplighting vs. Downlighting

Ultimately, most properties end up having both uplighting and downlighting in a complete landscape lighting design (along with other lighting techniques, as well).

Since there are different purposes for these different types of lighting, it only makes sense that the best design would incorporate both.

There are naturally going to be certain areas of your Memphis property that are best-suited to uplighting and other areas best-suited to downlighting. It will all come down to both the look and the purpose that you’re looking to achieve with your lighting design.

And every design is going to be different (at least it should be).

Home Entrance Lighting. Landscape Walkway

Your outdoor lighting design should be customized to your specific property as well as your wants and needs. That’s why it’s so important to choose an outdoor lighting company that takes a custom approach to each and every home.

It’s important to avoid landscape lighting companies that can’t offer you a variety of ideas…and who don’t use different techniques.

Get the Most Out of Your Lighting Design

Getting the most out of lighting is all about using the right techniques in the right locations. You can incorporate a variety of ideas that will help you to truly maximize your outdoor space.

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At Mid South Night Lights, we can help create a custom plan that is designed for your Memphis property. We know that helping you to get the most out of your home in the evening hours all comes down to the right lighting design.

Are you ready to create a secure, functional, and beautiful property at any hour of the day? If so, let’s meet and discuss some bright ideas.

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Patio Lighting , Landscape Lighting , Tree Lighting