Down Lighting from Trees

down lit patio interest“The water is lapping on the green.

The light is spilling through the trees.

It fills the lawn and warms the breeze

That plays small ripples on the lake…”

Susan Rogers


As one reads the beauty presented through poetry of the magic created from light, it develops a positive feeling and imagery.  Light completes a space and provides depth.  It is important to note that emotions are developed through this applied light.

garden path down litDown lighting from trees can add an entirely different perspective to the scene, whether it is the surrounding and underlying area or a distant view.  A good lighting designer will understand this nature, and it is in this knowledge that you gain an appreciation for their true value.  Outdoor lighting design employs the use of various lighting applications in order to achieve a particular mood or feeling.


In a basic sense, down lighting equates to the use of one or several light fixtures positioned from a overhead location, such as from a tree branch or trunk.  These lights are utilized to mimic either the sun or the moon.  Primarily, they are a softer form of light broadly cast down onto the ground below.  However, they can be used as a pin-point source to highlight a particular feature from this higher angle.

Tree climb 1Typically, one can discern those with real lighting experience from those who lack it by the use of down lighting.  There are many companies that avoid the use of down lights because they are more difficult to install, and they take a greater understanding to effectively locate them.  These lights can be located from 15’ up to 100’ into a tree, depending on how they are utilized and the light source used.  NiteLiters, Inc. is one of the few lighting companies performing this work with the use of certified tree climbers.  This allows every possible opportunity from a tree.

Lenses or filters can be added to these light fixtures.  These elements can provide various shades of color to the light source, or they can control the output of light to a particular shape.  Again, the lighting designer is a valuable asset in this decision making process.

Moonlighting is a term frequently used to describe the application of down light spilling through the tree’s canopy to cast shadow patterns upon the surfaces below.  It’s an intriguing display, this shadow and light, which provides interest to an area or scene.  Additionally, down lighting can act as a transitional source of lower or intermediate levels of light.

Down lighting should be an integral part of any professional lighting company’s design intent.  It can be that added touch which makes for a perfect scene, and it should be considered where it is possible.


There are a few concerns that anyone wishing to utilize this type of lighting, as listed in the following:

  • Protection of the tree—there are proper methods and practices that should be utilized when securing cables and any hardware to the tree.  Any practice which directly secures a fixture without any offset clearance from the living exterior of the trunk or branch is a bad practice.
  • Glare—proper positioning of light fixtures is critical in order to avoid or to minimize glare problems, especially when located at unsafe pedestrian crossings, such as stairs.
  • Tree climb 4Safety—this should always be a first consideration, whether it is during the installation of these fixtures or if it’s for the future consideration of those passing underneath these locations.  Ladders are dangerous and tree climbers take a greater risk than normal.  Glare is a problematic and/or hazardous condition.
  • Routine Maintenance—of all of the service work necessary for a lighting system, tree lights are the most demanding and they require routine maintenance inspection.  This is due to several things:  1) the tree is living and growing continuously, 2) rodents and pests can occasionally be problematic to these fixtures, and 3) weather can impact these locations and it can be harder to access.

The point here is that there are extended issues with this form of lighting.  These things are acceptable and well worth the time because of the wonderful effects you can achieve in this form of lighting.  These concerns are only presented for understanding and they must be understood by the company designing, installing and maintaining these lighting systems.


drive down lightingWe are extremely passionate about outdoor lighting and in providing proven solutions for these particular needs.  We are a nationally-recognized and award-winning business.  Founded in 1998, we have served this region almost two decades.

Our company is built on what matters most–Service.  We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t know how to properly implement and maintain these relationships.  Most of our business comes from referrals, which proves our value to the community.

There is no better time to enhance your living environment—we would love the opportunity to meet with you and to explore ideas.  One of our team specialists will eagerly set a date and time that best applies to your needs—please contact us at:

NiteLiters, Inc.

 (270) 685-7070        Kentucky

(615) 674-9950      Tennessee

(812) 431-7250          Indiana

We serve most any outdoor lighting need within a 200-mile radius of Owensboro, KY for both residential and commercial properties.  This includes the beautiful states of Kentucky, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and northern Tennessee.  We are a nationally recognized, award-winning company that is licensed, insured and certified.