Outdoor Lighting for Security and Aesthetics

March 13, 2024

The term landscaping often brings to mind plants, grass, or structures like arbors, but an essential ingredient to landscape design is outdoor lighting. When you invest your time and resources to beautify and secure your yard you should be able to enjoy it, and see what’s in it, whether day or night. 

The landscape designers at Landscape East & West carefully select and position outdoor lighting fixtures to both add to the aesthetics of your yard and enhance the security of your home. There are strategies we use to get the most out of your outdoor lighting. 


In the Pacific Northwest, we embrace the outdoors and living among the trees, but all that foliage can provide the perfect cover for destructive nighttime critters like raccoons or more nefarious criminals. Not to mention a dark patio or stairs can pose a trip hazard. No one wants to add stadium lights to their tranquil yard, but there are ways to illuminate those dark areas for safety while adding to the beauty of the landscape.

Illuminate of Entry Points: Placing lights near doors, windows, and garage entrances helps deter intruders by eliminating dark areas where they could hide and also helps you see to unlock your door or unload your groceries. 

Motion-Activated Lights: For areas where you don’t want lights on all the time, use motion-activated lights that instantly illuminate areas when motion is detected. Whether the neighbor’s dog has escaped again, or a burglar is prowling, you’ll be alerted and the intruders will be chased away. 

Pathway Lighting: Lighting pathways and walkways make it easier for you and your guests to navigate safely around the property by reducing the risk of tripping or falling. A warm glow leading to your door is welcoming while darkness can be a bit intimidating. 

Floodlights: Floodlights are what they sound like–they flood an area with light. For ambiance, floodlights are not often a choice, although aimed at a specific focal point they can add drama. For security, we may recommend floodlights with motion sensors that shine on large outdoor areas or dark corners of the yard when movement is detected. Used this way, floodlights can effectively deter intruders and provide illumination for surveillance cameras to capture clear footage.

Timers or Smart Lighting Systems: We are creatures of habit. You probably turn on your outdoor lights around the same time each evening. If those lights don’t go on, anyone surveying your home will know you’re away. Using timers or smart lighting systems allows you to program lights to turn on and off at specific times, creating the illusion of occupancy even when the house is empty. Leave the intruders guessing and they’ll move on. 


You’ve seen them. Those yards, which even at night, look dramatic and exude warmth and sophistication, almost inviting you in. It’s not magic you’re seeing, it’s strategic landscape design. At Landscape East & West, we have been installing beautiful outdoor lighting projects throughout the Portland area for decades. Whether you want a soft glow throughout, a highlight on a special feature like a fountain or gnarled tree, or you just want to be able to see your grill, there’s a way to add lighting that adds ambiance and doesn’t detract from your well-planned landscape design. 

Accent Lighting: Highlighting architectural features, landscaping elements, or focal points in your yard with accent lighting adds depth and visual interest to the outdoor space, enhancing its overall beauty.

Soft Lighting for Ambiance: Soft, diffused lighting creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for outdoor gatherings and entertainment, making the yard a more enjoyable place to spend time when the daylight fades. This is the same idea as using candles to create ambiance, but a whole lot safer. 

Up-Lighting and Down-Lighting: Strategically placing lights to shine upward or downward on trees, shrubs, or sculptures can create dramatic effects through the interplay of shadows and light. A simple Douglas Fir by day becomes a statement piece by nightfall. 

Water Feature Lighting: Illuminating water features such as ponds, fountains, or waterfalls with underwater lights or spotlights enhance their beauty while creating mesmerizing reflections and patterns that invite you in for quiet contemplation. 

Colorful Lighting: Using colored LED lights or filters allows homeowners to create different moods and ambiance in the yard, adding a touch of creativity and personality to the outdoor space. Whether color-changing disco lights to get the party going or subtle blue mood lighting to lower the temperature and relax, colored lights add atmosphere. 

There are endless possibilities when adding outdoor lighting to your landscape, not just what you want to illuminate, but what type of fixture and bulb will look best and meet your needs. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options, call Landscape East & West and let our landscape designers work with you to transform your nighttime yard into a space intruders run from and your neighbors envy. Contact us for a free consultation