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Landscape lighting is so versatile and the options are endless. Whatever your dream landscape looks like, outdoor lighting can bring your vision to life one light at a time. While there are so many options, there are a few tried and true ones that lighting designers turn to again and again. One of the most popular options being uplighting. 

What Is Uplighting?

Outdoor uplighting is a simple lighting technique that places fixtures low to the ground and angles them upward. This casts light from below, creating an identifiable style of illumination. 

Uplighting on a 2 story brick house at night with a tree in front

What Is Uplighting Used For?

Uplighting is commonly used to achieve various effects and can be placed almost anywhere.Walking your property with a lighting designer can help to identify which areas of your home would best benefit from an led landscape uplight. 

It commonly is used against walls and other large surfaces. Angling the light upwards against a wall creates a flush of light. This can also create interesting shadowing and shapes on the surface, and capture movement by utilizing the lighting techniques of shadowing and silhouetting. 

Uplighting is used to light up trees and shrubbery in front of walls, or standing alone. This where shadowing is particularly effective as it can reflect the swaying of trees and plants in the wind. This can be very mesmerizing and soothing. 

It is also used to draw attention to architectural features and statues or water features. 

Uplighting can create a dramatic effect or a soft glow. It depends on the angle of the fixture and the type of bulb. It also depends on the placement. 

Outdoor uplighting is often used for weddings or other events, but homeowners use it frequently for their permanent lighting designs too. 

Different Types of Uplights

There are various interchangeable outdoor uplights. The most commonly used type of LED uplight is the MR16 fixture, which measures 51mm across the surface of the bulb. It’s the longest running 12volt LED outdoor lighting fixture on the market and has been the most studied and tested in the field. From accenting a house, to hitting a small statue, the MR16 outdoor lighting fixture can do just about anything.

3 small green trees illuminated by uplighting sit on a ledge, reflecting in a pool of water below

The Par36 fixture is another great type of 12volt LED outdoor lighting fixture measuring 114.3mm across. Before halogen, the Par36 fixture was the industry standard for outdoor lighting uplights. Because of this, it seemed to fall behind because the technology and research were not around as early as the Mr16 fixture. For the early years of LED landscape lighting, using a Par36 LED bulb was expensive and not as reliable as using an MR16. It has caught up in recent years and professional outdoor lighting companies have begun to use these fixtures again. The Par36 lights can be used for a variety of different functions just like the MR16. By using different types of wattage and degree spread, the Par36 fixture can light up a house, tree, small shrub, or bush.

The MR11 LED outdoor light is small, roughly 35mm across. Professional outdoor lighting companies should use this light when lighting up small slivers of a house, not to throw light into the windows, or when the spread of light needs to be tight. The MR11 is still a beam just as the MR16 and Par36, but will only be used in very specific places because of its size. If you are curious as to what uplight to use for your house, get in touch with our professional outdoor lighting designers. We can work with you to create the lighting plan of your dreams. Set up a free consultation and nighttime lighting demonstrations here.

The team at Houston Lightscapes takes pride in their many years of experience in the landscape lighting industry. They've been serving the greater Houston area for over 30 years bringing innovation and elegance to their designs. Learn more about Houston Lightscapes here.