20 Garden Lighting Ideas to Make Your Plants Shine

Garden bed with LED lighting

welcomia / Getty Images

Enjoy the beauty of your landscaping even at night by adding garden lighting. The most popular options for garden lights are spotlights, stake lights, or string lights—all of which can be solar or battery-powered.

When deciding on the best garden lighting options, consider your purpose. Are you looking for an ambient glow or seeking brighter light to increase visibility along pathways and water features? Warm, soft light is great for giving gardens a glow, while larger, brighter bulbs are typically a better pick if you want to illuminate tripping hazards or keep wandering feet out of your flower beds.

Whether you have a large garden bed, vertical garden space, or container plants, get inspired with these 20 different garden lighting ideas.

  • 01 of 20

    Globe Lights

    Globe lights in gravel garden

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    Make your garden glow with globe-shaped lights. This spherical alternative to traditional stake lighting provides visual interest and works especially well in gravel gardens or a xeriscape landscaping plan. Place lights along top tier areas of your garden or behind and underneath plants for spotlight illumination.

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  • 02 of 20

    Retaining Wall Lights

    Garden retaining wall with lights

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    Retaining walls prevent erosion and allow for multi-tiered gardens. Provide plenty of light along the wall and up the stairs by using puck lighting. Underneath the blooming hedges of this retaining wall garden, evenly-spaced lights guide nighttime visitors through the garden safely while putting plants on display. Be sure to choose wet-rated LED lights for this garden lighting option.

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  • 03 of 20

    String Lights for Trees

    Trees wrapped with string lights in front of house

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    Trees growing in your garden can make a major statement with the help of string lights. Tiny glowing bulbs covering the trunk and main branches outline the tree's shape while casting a glow on the garden below. Soft white lights, as seen on the property of this stately home, are suitable for year-round garden lighting. Use solar-powered string lights to avoid the need for a nearby electrical outlet.

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  • 04 of 20

    Lantern Lighting

    Lantern lighting in bushes

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    Lanterns hanging from a post can be installed along hedges or behind bushes to provide soft lighting from within your garden. The options for lantern types range in style and materials, but solar or battery-operated candle lanterns give a classic glow. Install posts at even intervals and decided whether you want the lanterns to hover above your foliage (accounting for the mature height of the plants) or peek out of the space between plants.

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  • 05 of 20

    Arborvitae Illumination

    Arborvitae with lights

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    Arborvitae trees are frequently used as a living privacy fence for gardens. Illuminating the trees can give your garden a bright border that is both attractive and helpful in seeing the edges of your property at night. Upward spotlights highlight the tall, conical shape of the arborvitae while remaining concealed behind the garden's low hedgerow.

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  • 06 of 20

    String Lights for Raised Garden Beds

    Raised garden beds with string lighting

    Lexia Frank / Stocksy

    Raised garden beds are the perfect spot to string small lights, especially if your gardening setup includes a trellis. The string lights provide ambiance but also mean that you can check on your garden at any time of the evening without bringing along a flashlight. In the absence of a trellis, you can use planter posts at the corner of each garden bed or string them along a fence to provide the same effect.

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  • 07 of 20

    Overhead lighting for seating areas

    Outdoor garden with seating area and lighting

    Lexia Frank / Stocksy

    Gardens are the perfect spot to sit and reflect and by adding overhead lighting, you can use the lounge area during the day or night. This garden benefits from a group of four pendant lights, placed over an outdoor seating arrangement. The number and type of lights you choose will depend on whether you are looking for soft evening illumination or enough light to enjoy dinner in your outdoor oasis.

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  • 08 of 20

    Statement Lighting

    Home exterior with statement light in garden

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    Garden lighting is usually subtle, highlighting specific plants or providing an ambient glow. However, you can also use a statement light in the garden to provide a focal point at night, as seen in the front yard of this modern home. The light casts a glow while drawing the eye to its unique shape and design details. Statement lighting for the garden works best when paired with simple, low plants that won't compete for attention or make the space feel too busy.

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  • 09 of 20

    Garden Bed Illumination

    Garden bed with LED lighting

    welcomia / Getty Images

    A floating garden bed this one commands attention in the center of the yard with its showy display of plants. Use LED lighting to further enhance the garden's features, especially at night when the garden (and its borders) are harder to see. Spotlights are placed strategically in the garden bed to highlight the foliage of ground-level plants along with the taller trees and shrubs. Keep in mind that for symmetry, you want to provide illumination evenly across the entire bed, rather than focusing your lights on one end or another.

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  • 10 of 20

    Lily Pond Lighting

    Garden lily pond with lights

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    Lily ponds are a beautiful feature for your garden and the right lighting allows you to enjoy their serenity throughout the evening. In this example, the water feature benefits from small underwater lights that make the pond and series of small waterfalls seem to glow. Additionally, the lily pads and other vegetation surrounding the pond are illuminated by the light. It's best to plan out your garden pond lighting when designing your water feature, but a professional can also help you select and install lighting that is compatible with your space.

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  • 11 of 20

    Stake Lighting for Garden Pathway

    Garden pathway to gazebo with stake lighting

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    Stake lighting guides the way along paved garden paths, giving you easy access to gardens, gazebos, or patios even after the sun has gone down. In this example, shaded stake lights provide downward illumination on the path, instead of upward illumination to highlight plants or garden features. It also preserves the serenity of the garden and shields the eye from a bright beam during low light conditions. Solar path lights are the most popular option since the lights require no power source other than the sun's rays.

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  • 12 of 20

    Stake Lights in Flower Bed

    Stake lights in flowerbed

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    Small stake lights are a great option for garden lighting in flower beds. Usually powered by the sun, these lights come on at dusk and provide subtle light in and around your flowers. Aside from being attractive, stake lights can also keep passersby from accidentally stepping off the path and onto your flowers.

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  • 13 of 20

    Water Garden Lighting

    Water garden with lights

    @ladylandscape / Instagram

    Water gardens have a soothing sound and offer the opportunity to grow aquatic plants. Use lighting features to give your garden pond a special spotlight. In this example, the small yet eye-catching water garden features symmetrical lighting on either side of the center stepping stone. The warm hue of the light also harmonizes with other lighting features used in the garden, giving the entire space a cohesive lighting plan.

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  • 14 of 20

    Lighting for Vertical Gardens

    Tiered garden beds with lights

    Dulyanut Swdp / Getty Images

    Vertical gardens can benefit from lighting, as well. In this example, lights extend out from each tiered wall of the garden, illuminating the plants underneath. Downward lighting puts a spotlight on the plants at the level below, without getting lost in the lush tropical foliage that spills over each level of the garden.

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  • 15 of 20

    Lawn Lights

    Globe lights on lawn

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    A lush and healthy lawn is the perfect foreground for a manicured garden, so why not highlight your grass as well? Globe lights placed on the lawn are a surprising option for garden lighting and work especially well during parties or special events as festive décor. Alternate between placing single lights and pairs of lights on the lawn to keep the look unique and unfussy.

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  • 16 of 20

    Backlighting for Potted Trees

    Potted tree with backlighting

    @ladylandscape / Instagram

    If you have potted trees in your garden, backlighting is a great option for highlighting their beauty even at night. In another example, this potted tree benefits from the warm glow of a spotlight behind the large container. The warm light plus the yellow-hued foliage is a perfect combination in front of the privacy screen completing this intimate garden setting.

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  • 17 of 20

    Spotlights for Garden Features

    Paved garden area with spotlights

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    Pivoting spotlights give you flexibility and options for illuminating your garden area. In this lush garden setting, the spotlight on the perimeter of the water feature is angled to illuminate the heron statue and tall grasses along the edge of the garden. In comparison to fixed-position stake lights, you can adjust the beam of light to hit the right spot. Change the light's focal point as your plants grow or you make adjustments to garden sculptures or features

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  • 18 of 20

    Lighting for Ornamental Grasses

    Ornamental grasses in garden with lighting

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    Ornamental grasses are a full, soft feature for gardens of all sizes. While many garden lighting options focus on flowers or tree foliage, shining a light on your garden's thick, full ornamental grasses is another great option for nighttime visual interest. In this garden, a small water feature makes the perfect spot to conceal a lighting fixture that casts light onto the surrounding grass plants. Even without a water feature, you can give your ornamental grasses a special focus using stake or pivoting spotlights.

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  • 19 of 20

    Scattered Spotlights

    Garden at night with spotlights

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    Scattered spotlights contribute only a small beam of light on their own, but when viewed together, this is an effective option for garden lighting. As seen in this garden, small spotlights distributed throughout the garden area illuminate small, medium, and large plants, giving the garden excellent visibility without a single, overpowering light source. When arranging garden spotlights, divide the garden into zones and aim to use the same amount of spotlights within each zone. Periodically step back to view the garden as a whole and make adjustments to keep the look balanced.

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  • 20 of 20

    Container Garden Lighting

    Patio with container garden lighting

    Amir Mukhtar / Getty Images

    Container gardens are a great option for adding color and visual interest to patios or courtyards. You can enjoy the beauty of your potted plants even at night by adding some garden lighting. In this example, string lights on the potted palms illuminate the container garden and seamlessly blend into the string lighting along the wall of the patio.