Down lighting is the first of our landscape lighting effects. It is created by hanging a spot light above the ground and pointing it downwards to highlight a plant, object or area.
It is very easy to make down lighting work because this is the way outdoor lighting happens naturally (light from the moon or street lights comes from above).
To make this happen in my garden, I usually buy very inexpensive spot lights that are often intended to be used for uplights.
Unless you want to hang the lights really high up, they don’t need to be powerful.
Either low-voltage lights or solar lights should work for most applications.
Light The Path Under An Arbor
One of my favorite outdoor lighting ideas uses down lighting to create a landscape light effect called “moonlighting”. It is achieved by hanging a spot light or two at the top of an arbor (or high tree branch) pointing down. The light creates path lighting that seems very natural, almost like moonlight…which adds a very romantic feeling to your garden.
Highlight Hanging Baskets
Another outdoor lighting idea that I use quite a bit in my garden is to light hanging baskets from above. The down lighting really makes them stand out after dark.
Use inexpensive spot lights (either solar or low-voltage ones will work) to point the light down on the top of the baskets.
For this effect, you don’t need a very bright light. Even the equivalent of a 7 Watt halogen bulb will provide enough light.
Illuminate A Wall Fountain
Down lighting also works really well for highlighting garden accessories, like wall fountains or artwork hanging on a fence or wall. Simply installing a light that points down on to it will showcase it.
Again, I usually use inexpensive, very low Wattage bulbs for this. They provide enough light to highlight the scene, without overwhelming it.