Tips for Landscaping Lighting Around a Pool

Tips for Landscaping Lighting Around a Pool

By Mike Gambino

If you’re planning the landscape lighting around a newly constructed pool or feel it’s time to address and upgrade the lighting around an existing one, you may be overwhelmed with options and ideas. But before you choose lighting effects and other elements, it’s important to consider the function of your landscape lighting design around the pool itself. Spend some time thinking through the below before you light, and you’ll be well prepared to begin:

Disclaimer: This article is not intended for Do it Yourselfers. Water and Electricity do not mix, especially bodies of water that humans immerse themselves in. Lighting around pools require consideration of national and local city safety codes. Only licensed and qualified individuals and companies should perform lighting installation work around pools.

For energy efficiency, safety and best effect, low-voltage LED systems should be used for landscape lighting into the evening around the pool.


If you have small kids and/or pets, or entertain often (especially when adult beverages are served), safety is of prime importance. So you’ll want to consider fencing, slip-resistant surfaces, and effective lighting as key parts of your design. Steps, stairs, paths, changes in grade and pool deck edges are of utmost concern. Fishing a guest out of the pool can put an abrupt end to their otherwise pleasant evening.


Ingress and egress lighting is essential. Easy identification of pool area entry is always a consideration especially if the pool is located in a “secret garden” area of the yard. Watch out for potential site hazards like boulders, tree roots and sharp edges. The need for good visibility while navigating your way to the pool area will also dictate where you place landscape and pool lighting.


Natural, tropical, ultra-modern are all “themes” that can be incorporated into your poolscape. Decide what look you’re going for, your pool’s shape and type, and go from there to select the plants, and dramatic lighting that make any theme come alive.

Once you decide the best combination of form and function, and the overall look you’re going for, you’re ready to select some landscaping lighting effects (that’s the really fun part).

Let’s face it, Garden lighting can make or break a pool’s aesthetics at night. What surrounds your pool definitely makes as big an impact as what’s in it. Decking, trees, plants, pergolas – all are great options to consider lighting for adding ambiance that make your pool area the hub of the backyard at night.

Before you light, it’s important to decide on which will be the best combination of form and function and the overall look you’re going for, and once you’ve done that, you’re ready to select some landscape lighting for the space.


Plants add a lot of beauty to a pool’s landscapes, flowers and trees that do best in your region. Lighting adds beauty and safety. A combination of path lights, tree uplights, and spotlights lend a well-illuminated and pretty look to pool areas, and string patio or tree “twinkle lights” can be added for additional ambiance and glow. When downlighting or using spreadlighting around a pool’s edge unwanted reflections on the pool surface must be considered.

Water features

Hopefully some sort of lighting was designed and built into the structure of the pool by the original pool builder for Sheer descents, waterfalls, spillways, sprays of water contained within the pool etc.. If it was not then there may be opportunities available depending upon the site to light these features from outside the pool water’s edge effectively. Abiding by local and national electrical codes for safety and management and control of glare to viewers are of greatest importance.


Statues located in the garden planters around bodies of water are natural focal points for accent lighting. When done properly mirror images of statues can be projected on the surface of still water when the pool light is off resulting in stunning effect.

Shade Structures

Many properties have gazebos, arbors, pergolas, pool houses, and other shade structures to pool areas. Pool houses and guest cabanas are also popular options and give swimmers a place to relax when they’re not in the pool. Accent lighting make these structures usable after dark. As in any other areas where people congregate management of annoying glare is very important.


Accenting Boulders with soft downlighting lighting should be in context to your pool’s design. If you have the ability to effectively employ this effect without violating safety codes or creating annoying glare and do choose to illuminate boulders, it’s best to light them somewhat consistently otherwise they will look too stark against the ones that do have some level of illumination.


If you are planning a new pool ask your pool builder to install a remote control system large enough for all of the pool’s amenities and have 1 or more auxiliary switches available for the garden lighting around the pool. This adds to the convenience and usability of the pool and makes good sense.
Comfort, convenience, and fun are all part of the landscaping lighting decision process, so choose according to how you use your pool and personal taste, and the rest will follow.

Other lighting options can include fire elements like fire pits, bowls, and more for entertaining.

For some additional inspiration, check out our pool area lighting gallery

This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 28 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

Blog articles may be published with permission on other websites without editing or removing links.


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