How to Incorporate Holiday Lighting into Your Landscaping

A holiday landscaping design delights visitors and passersby alike, but it can seem daunting to plan for the uninitiated.

The process of deciding on a motif, selecting the materials, and applying them with hardware involves a little bit of patience, but the end result is sure to enchant your audience.

Design principles make planning easy



Firstly, think about your existing landscaping. The best holiday lighting will enhance your aesthetic and home – so scan the outdoor area and pick out a few attractive objects and well-traveled areas that you think of as integral parts of your landscape. A pathway, sconces, a decorative urn, a prominent tree or a series of bushes can all function as the targets for your illuminating cheer.

Think about the yard in terms of three horizontal layers: each should have a level of lighting nearly equivalent to the others. For example, the first level lighting will be the pathway or ground lights. The second level is the shrubs, bushes and small trees, and finally, the third tier includes the lights in the larger trees. Here are a few tips for designing an attractive and practical lighting display.

  • The ground lighting is useful for lighting pathways for visitors to the front door. Often the design can be overly symmetrical and create the effect of a runway. Instead, try using more inventive lighting techniques, such as an odd number of lighted objects positioned in a balanced, but random order along the walkways.
  • Begin with only a few lighted areas, including a door, wreath, pathway or roof line, is a reasonable foundation for a holiday lighting effort that can be expanded in later years.
  • Before embarking on your lighting landscaping installation, ensure you locate the electrical outlet.
  • Moravian stars are an elegant and popular illuminating fixture; while classic light strings, holly and evergreen accents are always attractive options.


Use a software program, such as Holiday Soft, which offers a free trial, to sketch out a few options before committing to buying the equipment.


Worry-free lights and fixtures


If a strand of lights needs a few replacement bulbs, using it would work fine, but a break in the cord or any wiring issues mean that you should discard it and begin anew.

When you purchase new holiday light fixtures and extension cords, ensure the packaging says “outdoor” and “UL approved” on the label. UL is a consumer product safety testing organization.


Fixtures that tame the details


Image c/o

Once you’ve got your lights nailed down (pun intended) and your display figured out, make sure it stays in good condition throughout the season.

  • Use plastic clips and suction cups to adhere lights and light strands to trees, shrubs and pathways, which will ensure an attractive and even appearance.
  • Make the final process hands-free with a light timer and automatically powers the lights on and off.
  • Be sure to distribute the light power evenly. If lights on a particular circuit should break repeatedly, it indicates an overloading circuit.

While preparing a wonderland landscaping effect may be a fun project for the holiday season, Timberline Landscaping can help take the grunt work out of the process. Allow us to assess your outdoor features and offer a free quote for designing and creating a memorable effect for you and your holiday visitors. You can also learn more by reading our blog and visiting our holiday lighting page.