Carefully consider your lighting choices when illuminating ponds and water features to create the desired effect in your backyard.

If you’re lucky enough to have a home with adequate outdoor space, you probably want to make the most of it by turning it into a calming retreat. Communing with nature has a restorative effect on the soul, and your backyard can provide easy accommodation with the right water feature lighting.

Once you’ve put up a fence for privacy and installed a variety of landscaping features (bushes, trees, flowers, and turf), it’s time to turn your attention to the details that will add unique elements to your yard and complete your outdoor sanctuary. For an added touch of tranquility, many homeowners elect to add a water feature such as a pond, a fountain, or a waterfall, just for example.

You’re almost done transforming your yard. All you need now is some lighting to tie it all together. You may choose to install sconces on the house, pathway lighting, and even lampposts for the purposes of navigating your yard at night.

However, you should also consider the benefits of water feature lighting. These accent lights cannot only highlight your plant life, but they can also put the spotlight on your water features, so to speak. Here are just a few helpful tips for properly lighting water features in your yard.

1. Buy the Right Products

Water feature lighting is very different from other types of architectural lighting, mainly because of the inclusion of water. You’ll first have to decide whether you want lighting fixtures in the water or outside, and this is an important distinction because you’ll naturally have to use different products if you want to place lighting underwater.

The main difficulty is not protecting lights from the water – there are lighting fixtures designed for this purpose. The problem most homeowners face is choosing the right level of brightness. You need to make sure the lighting you select is bright enough to cut through the water, which tends to diffuse rays of light.

An expert in pools or water features should be able to help you select not only the right fixtures for your project but also appropriate bulbs to ensure that you achieve the effect you want. Don’t forget, colored lighting is also an option.

2. Underwater Fixtures

Water feature lighting can be a bit more complicated than other types of landscape lighting, but it can also provide you with more creative opportunities. Underwater lighting is an excellent option when it comes to making the most of your water features.

For example, adding lighting to a pond can allow your family and guests to watch backlit koi swimming among the reeds after dark. Just make sure to provide unlit areas for fish to hide if they want to – it’s important to accommodate wildlife. You’ll also want to make sure to choose non-toxic fixtures and lighting that won’t dramatically change the temperature of the water.

As for water features that don’t harbor wildlife, the sky is the limit. Underwater lighting can provide an ambient glow or it could highlight falling water. If you’re not sure what you like, take the time to check out examples of what other people have done so you can get some idea of the type of underwater lighting that will work best for your water feature.

3. Fixtures for Safety

Whether you choose to install water feature lighting underwater or not, it’s a good idea to at least warn people that there is a water feature in your yard by placing lighting around it. Your pool probably has protective fencing of some sort to stop people from falling in when it’s dark, but a pond or water feature may not have the same safety precautions.

If safety is a paramount concern, install floodlighting with a motion sensor. If you want something more tranquil, place pathway lights around the perimeter of the pond or water feature as a more subtle warning system that also allows a dim glow to dance on the water.

4. Create a Mood

Some outdoor lighting is intended for the practical purpose of seeing where you’re going after dark. Other lighting features will help to create ambiance.

If you want your water features to contribute to the relaxing atmosphere you’re trying to create, make sure to choose lighting that is appropriate for the purpose. Avoid underwater lights that are blindingly bright or out-of-water lighting that casts too much of a glare on the water.

5. Consider Maintenance

Don’t forget that any lighting fixtures you choose will have to be maintained in terms of cleaning fixtures, replacing burned out bulbs, and so on. You can do this on your own if you maintain your pond or water feature anyway, but if you hire a service to maintain your water feature, likely the vendor can also manage the lighting for you.