Moonlighting Technique | Landscape Lighting


It may already feel and look like winter, but it doesn’t mean your landscape has to take a back seat. With the sun disappearing earlier in the day, lighting plays an important part in enhancing functionality, security, and also the aesthetics of your outdoor space.

Some homeowners have adopted a lighting trend known as moonlighting, which is a method of remote down lighting that mimics the look of light emitted by the moon.

This type of lighting provides a layer of safety by enhancing the visibility of pathways without creating a glare into bedroom windows. This technique is also aesthetically pleasing, casting beautiful silhouettes of trees onto a ground covered in snow. Moonlighting can also be adjusted to grow in unison with the tree.

Here are a few tips to consider when trying out moonlighting:


Moonlighting looks the best and is the most effective on large trees with an abundance of branches because the wires of the lighting system can easily be hidden, and will appear more realistic.

Moonlighting is also a great way to play with texture and intensify rich colours of bark and leaves. Birch trees, pine trees, and schubert chokecherry trees are some of the trees that work beautifully with moonlighting.


The light source should compliment the tree that is going to be featured but it should also provide the most realistic appearance of moonlight. A bulb with a cool temperature, preferably near 4100k will give off a bluish tinge that is the closest colour to the light emitted by the moon.

Another aspect to consider is the type of bulb. Ideally, LED bulbs will be the least cumbersome in terms of maintenance, as LED bulbs tend to have an average lifespan that exceeds 3 years.


A frequent recommendation Is to layer lighting in order to achieve the optimal lighting effect. Uplighting can help balance the effect of moonlighting and also provide an additional layer of security.


When lighting a birch tree, using bulbs with a cool temperature such as a cool LED white light will intensify the contrast of the white and black bark, and highlight the texture of the tree.



When lighting a pine tree, using a blue filter on a halogen bulb or a green filter on an LED bulb will intensify the green colour of the pine leaves.

Barborinas, Jim. Profile Canada Red Chokecherry. Accessed 19 December 2016.

For a chokecherry tree, a warm coloured light intensifies the red tones from the leaves and the branches.


When the lighting system is placed at a higher height in the tree, the beam spread of light will be wider, which will produce a softer glow and reduce the crispness of the shadow lines.

For more information on moonlighting, contact our showroom for expert advice from our ALA Lighting Specialist. Our showroom carries landscape lighting from top vendors such as Kichler, WAC, and Hadco.