Landscaping Lights Around a Pool

Landscaping Lights Around a Pool

Landscaping lights around a pool might just be the best possible way to breathe new life into your outdoor space. Think about some of the most beautiful pictures you’ve ever seen of pools in high-class resorts. You’ve probably wanted to have that in your own home. You might be surprised to find out that those majestic pools aren’t that different from your own. The main difference is just lighting. And you’re about to find out exactly how to recreate that magic at home.

Why Add Landscaping Lights Around Your Pool?

The first question most people have when the subject of landscape lighting around a pool comes up is “why”. It’s a simple question with many different answers. The simple fact of the matter is that lighting is going to be a huge asset to most people. But the specifics are going to differ depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Beauty is one of the most universally applicable and easily recognized benefits of landscape lighting around your pool. You’ve probably seen some majestic photographs of pools at night. And lighting is usually the secret to that beauty. To be sure, the actual design of a pool plays a huge role in the presentation as well. But the choice of lighting is what draws people’s eyes and suggests what to focus on. It accentuates the positive while blurring over the negative. And looking out at those views in the evening hours is the perfect way to soak in the beauty of the outdoors while enjoying the comfort of your home.

There are also utilitarian benefits to landscape lighting. Have you ever stumbled when trying to make it to the bathroom at night without turning on any lights? Now imagine how much worse that same situation could be in a pool setting. Proper and continual outdoor lighting helps to keep you, your family, and your pets safe at night. It can even help wildlife that would otherwise stumble into your pool.

Features To Light Up Your Backyard

There’s another important aspect of lighting to consider. It’s not just a question of whether you’ll install landscaping lights. There’s also the question of exactly how it’ll be implemented.

There’s an almost unlimited number of options to light up your pool area.

But the following are generally the most popular, useful, and visually pleasing methods. Some of these options might seem like an intimidatingly big project. But remember that all of these options fall under what you can consider when putting a pool loan application together.


When people think about stair lighting they’ll typically imagine a large light shining down on them. But one of the most popular ways to light stairs is to use something called a tread light. These lights fit into the raised part of a stair. These sections, called risers, can even hold multiple lights. This means that you can position a few dim lights that will safeguard people’s paths as they walk up the stairs. The subtle nature of this lighting makes for a peaceful and relaxing ambiance that doesn’t distract from the rest of your pool area.

wooden deck with lights on the stairs
Tread lights not only make stairs safer to navigate but also highlight their angles and shadows to make them an eye catching feature.


Path lights share a similar function with stair lights – safety. Path lights ensure that you and your guests can safely walk down paths around your pool without any risk of slipping or falling. The wider variety of paths means that there’s really no one size fits all solution for path lighting. Some people want to ensure that the path is brilliantly lit. Others prefer subtle lighting that doesn’t illuminate much beyond the path itself. Others still might want a compromise between the two which allows mood lighting to seep out into the surrounding area. But all of these ideas can fit into a wider lighting strategy.

upright lights lighting a garden path of pavers
The contrast of a path on grass or through a garden can be more dramatic with the right lighting.

Water Features

Installing pool fountains can provide you with a number of great benefits. But with some lighting added in you’ve essentially got yourself a full sensory experience. The trickling sound of water combined with calming lighting can create the perfect atmosphere. It’s one of the best ways to implement useful functionality with a style that speaks for itself.

pool fountains out of a wall with spot lights on them
Adding lights to the moving water of your waterfall or fountain can give a whole new experience at night.


When you’re considering landscaping lights around a pool it’s always a good idea to think about your foundational areas. These are the parts of your pool area that won’t be moved or changed over time. And which will usually provide a solid mounting point for lights. Walls are one of the most common examples of these hardscapes. A wall by itself typically isn’t the most decorative element of a pool area. But you can change that by working it into your lighting. The thing a wall does best is offer support. So turn it into a supporting element for your lighting.

big stone wall in front of a pool with undercap lights on it
Walls and ledges don’t need to be overbearing, with the right lighting you can make them into a feature of your outdoor space.


People often forget that trees can be incorporated into a pool design. Multiple trees can easily help ensure pool privacy. But if you’re going that route you’ll also want to enjoy the view. Imagine how majestic your trees would look at night when they were illuminated by a soft glow. The effect can be taken even further if you have a small garden planted around your trees. Gazing out at a well-lit garden from within your pool can feel like you’ve been transported to a magical world. Though it’s important to remember that trees grow over time. So make sure that you’re taking that into account when designing and maintaining their lighting.

small garden with various plants lit up with spot lights
The patterns, colors and shapes of plants can take on a whole new life when lighting them up at night.


As a general rule, pool fences are a necessity for pool owners. But that doesn’t mean you need to endure one that’s an eyesore. There are a lot of fantastic options for pool fencing that are as decorative as they are functional. And you can accentuate the decorative elements of a fence even further with your lighting choices.

pool at night with garden and fence lit up with ground lights
Like with hardscapes, by using strategic lighting you can turn these large features into a dramatic border of your backyard.


Pergolas provide a wealth of opportunities for creative design. You can build a wide variety of beautiful structures around and into pergolas. And the structure can itself serve as a base for lighting the surrounding area.

wooden pergola with a couch under it at night
Lighting up pergolas not only makes that space usable at night, it also highlights their patterns and angles which is pleasing on the eye.

Types of Landscape Lights

You should also consider how the types of landscape lights you use can impact the overall experience. For example, if you’re using floodlights for lighting it’ll create a very different effect than understated path lights. The following options are the most popular types of lights used for landscaping.

You should consider how well each of them might fit into the final effect you’re hoping to create for your pool area.


Floodlights are a great option to directly fill a pool with light. They typically line a pool and can essentially light it up. Floodlights with colored bulbs or filters can even change pool water’s color.

floodlight mounted on a house
To light up a large area, you need a floodlight – literally flooding the area with light.


You can use spotlights to draw attention to larger areas. This is often used in combination with landscaping ideas like landscaping rocks. The best effect comes about through combining lighting with an area’s natural beauty. For example, you can use a spotlight to highlight specific textures in rock or additions like miniature waterfalls.

vertical spotlight mounted on a stone wall
For a more direct light when you want to highlight a specific feature or area a spotlight is the way to go.

Undercap lights

Undercap lights are elements that are hidden within existing structures. These lights are similar to stair riser lights in that they’re typically subtle by design, they are often known as accent lights as their purpose is to highlight a certain element in your backyard. For example, many people use undercap lights under the benches of their pool area’s fire pits. Uncap lights help to enhance an area without drawing attention to themselves.

fire pit with bench with undercap lights
Undercap lights are an unobtrusive option to highlight a certain feature or make an area usable at night.

Path lights

Path lights come in a wide range of styles. As the name suggests, they’re typically used to light paths by acting as an elevated but still relatively subtle light source. They’re typically used in conjunction with hardscape lights to provide safe passage through the entirety of a pool area.

outdoor area with upright lights and in-tile lights
You can use lights to highlight the path itself or ‘runway lights’ to just guide you along the direction of the path.


Torches are a simple option as they usually come with a stake and can be inserted into the ground wherever suits you. If running off of electricity, the cables can easily be dug into a channel. They offer a more subtle and gentle light over an area as opposed to spotlight which is often the other option suited for these areas of the backyard.

path with torch lights amongst the bushes
Torches will give out a general light and can be used in many areas of your garden depending on what you want to highlight.

String lights

String lights, also known as fairy lights, are often used for aesthetic purposes. But they have a utilitarian effect too. Lining an area with string lights will provide subtle illumination without any risk of glare. Their flexibility means that you can even wrap them around trees, fencing, and furniture.

string lights hanging over a backyard seating area
String lights are the most versatile lighting option as you can easily set them up yourself and move them to other configurations.

Well lights

Well lights are named after the fact that they typically sit in a well within the ground. These lights illuminate the area above and around them. They’re typically used to offer additional illumination for areas your standard lighting doesn’t reach. But they can also serve as a small spotlight for specific, smaller, features you’d like to give extra attention to.

close up of a well light in a deck
Well lights are especially good options in modern/minimalist designs as they are unobtrusive and relatively hidden during daylight hours.

Putting Everything Together To Create the Perfect Lighting

Now that you know about the elements of pool lighting there’s just one last step to take. You need to go back over the options and really think about how each one would work within the context of your home.

What are the features of your pool and yard that you’d like to emphasize? Which elements don’t matter as much?

Put those concepts together, make a lighting decision, and turn that dream of a luxurious pool experience into a reality.

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At Viking Capital, we try to provide accurate information on loans, credit scores and pool care, but it may not apply directly to your individual situation. We are not financial advisors and we recommend you consult with a financial professional before making any serious financial decisions. The content on is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.

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