6 Winter Landscape Lighting Concepts

There are plenty of opportunities to light up your home and your landscape—especially if you live in a climate that gets generous snowfall. There are many other ways to illuminate your property during the winter season.

Here’s a look at six winter landscape lighting concepts and how to employ them on your property for a beautiful aesthetic.

  1. Classic string lights. String lights are a holiday staple and one that brings timeless charm to your home. You don’t need to go all-out to make a statement, either! While some homeowners may put up enough lights to stress the power grid, you can get away with a more sophisticated approach this season. Sometimes, more is less! Do a simple string of warm white lights along your roofline and garage door to frame your home in lights. Then, accent with a couple of similar strings wrapping your mailbox and trees.
  2. Uplighting conifers. Nothing says “wintertime landscape lighting” quite like a well-lit conifer. Pine trees, arborvitaes, spruces, fir and cedar trees encapsulate the season and put people in the right mindset for winter. If you have a coniferous tree on your property, plant a floodlight at the base and illuminate it for all to see! For multiple trees, make sure each has its own targeted light and position lights close enough to accent them. When the snow begins to fall, you won’t find a more magical sight than a well-lit spruce or fir.
  3. Colored spotlights. While we typically recommend warm white lighting for winter landscape lighting concepts, there are exceptions. Soft greens and reds strike a chord with the holiday season, while gentle blues add a “cool” hue to whatever they illuminate. If you live in an area with snow, it’s easy to put a colored spotlight here and there, for great juxtaposition against the sea of white blanketing your landscape. Don’t go overboard, though! A little color and a few accents have dramatic appeal.
  4. Accent path lighting. Take a look at any Thomas Kinkaid wintertime painting and you’ll see a common theme: a well-lit home that looks warm and inviting, right down to the front walkway and stoop. Make this classic depiction of the season real on your property with some basic accent path lighting. Light the way to your front door to distinguish the path for guests and well-wishers—and to mark your boundaries for shoveling! Soft path lighting also adds dimension to your landscape after a snowfall, breaking up the plane of snow that covered your other accents.
  5. Backlit bushes. If you have green shrubs or bushes that maintain their foliage in the winter, backlight them. Soft backlighting behind each bush will create an aura-like glow that’s intensified by the snow. Your bushes will appear to radiate light, illuminating your property in a way that’s less obvious than string lights, but nonetheless as magical. While you can do this with colored lights, a warm white is almost always best. That said, red lighting, used sparingly, combined with green bushes, sets a definitive festive tone for your landscape. Backlit bushes are also much easier to work with than string-lit bushes.
  6. Fence accents. Shorter days in the winter mean it’s darker out, longer. Lighting your fence is a great way to illuminate your property for functional purposes, but can make your property look a whole lot bigger from any angle. You’ll appreciate fence lighting when you’re letting the dog out at 5pm after work when it’s already dark! For taller wood or vinyl fences, there’s also the prospect of gentle downlighting, which will reflect off of snow for great ambiance all around your yard.

Whether you’re trying to set a holiday vibe for your home or want to embrace the season with a little creative winter landscape lighting, these six suggestions are the best place to start. They’re easy enough to accomplish on your own—and a whole lot easier than spending hours on a ladder, hanging dozens of string lights in an attempt to out-do the neighbors.

Keep reading for a few more great tips on how to choose the right winter landscape lighting fixtures and what types of lighting are best.

Tip: warm white light works best

On properties with snowfall, warm white lighting sets the mood. Cool white will get lost in the purity of snow and might be a little harsh on the eyes, washing out the other colors on your landscape—the greens of trees or the brown of pavers. Warm white light plays nicely with snow and sets a great ambiance that results in that “winter wonderland” feeling you get when you look at classic paintings or relive your childhood memories.

Tip: give solar a try

Most people avoid solar landscape lighting during the winter because the days are shorter. In fact, good solar lighting is perfect for the winter season! These lights only need a few hours of daylight to charge them fully and they’ll shine bright all through the night. Better still, they’ll save you the energy costs of powering your landscape lighting as the days become shorter and it gets darker earlier. Quality solar lighting is an investment you’ll appreciate during any season.

Why light your landscape during winter?

Winter isn’t just a season of shorter, darker, colder days—it’s a season of optimism and hope. Your property deserves to be lit during this season, and it’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face when they drive past and see the care and attention to detail that results in a well-lit winter landscape.

You’ll find yourself in a good mood, embracing the holiday spirit when you get home from work or look out your window and see a landscape that’s bathed in beautiful light to match the season.