Courtyard Lighting

This is a wonderful topic for discussion because courtyard lighting is not limited to the type of space you are in.  Most people understand this setting to be more of an isolated area or a transitional space that people traverse through.

A courtyard is typically defined as an un-roofed, outdoor space that is partially or completely surrounded by walls or buildings.  It has a feeling of being both enclosed and open at the same time.

Many times one will find these spaces designed into the entry of a home, which allows additional value and comfort to the entry approach.  The purpose of this article is to explore how one might consider lighting these spaces to enhance this experience.

Key Points to Illuminating a Courtyard

Let’s first address the ‘purpose’ of this space.  Courtyards can be a pass-through or transitional space or it can be a special gathering place.  They are designed to provide two things:  1) interest or beauty, and 2) comfort.

courtyard wall 1This purpose is important because it sets the tone for your guests as they experience your home life.  Interest and beauty provide for a joyful experience.  Comfort provides relaxation and a sense of calm, which can be another form of joy.  Who doesn’t wish to feel this way when visiting someone?

How can you ensure that these spaces are both effective and functional?  One must consider the following points:

  • Safety–to provide proper levels of illumination
  • Interest–to capture attention
  • Warmth–to provide coziness and to make it inviting
  • Mood–to set the tone that affects one’s emotions

Note:  It is this last point that makes the greatest impact on your guest–it will provide them with a memorable experience.  You must ask yourself, “What is it that I want to convey to my guest(s)?”  This is where your personality can shine through.


“The goal of the courtyard is to provide a memorable experience.”

courtyard 1The courtyard must stimulate the senses, as this is the key to making the experience memorable.  “Sight”—visually appealing and effectively illuminated, “Sound”—calming sounds like water, birds, or wind chimes, “Smell”—refreshing floral scents or ones that relax are best, and even “Touch”—soft, clean and non-threatening.  Each of these elements combined can intensify this experience.

Lastly, the courtyard is a highly specialized space.  It requires a great deal of understanding of each of these elements.  NiteLiters, Inc. has the experience and skill set to provide for these unique settings–we are confident in finding the best solution for you.

Testimonial Story

We receive quite a few personalized letters from many of our customers.  Each one has expressed something about our lighting systems and how their lives have changed for the better.  The following note shares one of these moments:

“Dear Gary and the NiteLiters team,

I am so amazed at how beautiful you have lit up our front entry courtyard.  We have always loved this part of our home, but it wasn’t until you had brought it all alive at night that we received several compliments.

My best friend from high school recently came to visit.  Her husband and she both commented that the time we shared together sitting in this garden was so wonderful—they will never forget it.  They commented on how the water spilling from our fountain cast a mesmerizing shadow play or dancing pattern against the back wall.  And, to see the soft, warm lights glowing through the bushes made them feel so relaxed.

We cannot thank you enough for what you have done for us.


            Sherry, Evansville, IN

Details & Tips

Unfortunately, courtyards and homes vary greatly and most are individualized by the homeowner.  Many take on a personality of their own and here in lies the design challenge.  Our best advice is to ensure that you have hired someone with true experience designing such settings.

Proven experience and this kind of understanding gives NiteLiters, Inc. the competitive edge over our competition.  Our promise to YOU–to provide the finest, most effective, mood-enhancing solution possible.

“NiteLiters, Inc. understands the importance of utilizing light that will be remembered.”

Tip #1:  Provide a gentle flow of illumination throughout the space.  Avoid a strong, single application of light surrounded by darkness—this is way too much contrast and it will not look pleasing.

Note:  Remember, the goal to these areas is to make them “inviting” and warm.  Effectively, lighting can do this because of its nature and color.  It is best to apply warmer color temperatures of light typically around 2700 Kelvin, but it can range from very warm (2200) to a warmer white (3000) on this temperature scale.

Loduca courtyard table compTip #2:  Apply indirect lighting as much as possible and avoid glare.  Using walls or surfaces to reflect light is a very pleasing approach to illuminating these types of spaces.

Tip #3:  Provide for only one focal point in this space—this will require the brightness level of lighting, as compared to any other lighting application.  By doing so, you will provide both simplicity to the scene and sense of calm.  Additionally, it will limit competition in the space, too.

Loduca rose shadows comprTip #4:  Create interest by utilizing shadows and light play.  Walls are an excellent backdrop for this illumination.  These patterns or play of light can create movement whether it’s from the wind or water, and it can provide added value–stimulating the senses.


Our company is and has always been built on “service”—providing proven lighting solutions that will allow you to live without worry.  It is very important to us that we assure you of this commitment by NiteLiters, Inc.

Once you acquire our services you become part of our “family.”  We will always be there for you–for the long haul.  This is our promise to you.  NiteLiters, Inc. is a proven leader.  We lead by example, which means we ‘talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk.’  We build trustworthy relationships that promote peace-of-mind.

We are passionate about “service” because we believe in it.  It’s not just a written word.  We can prove this through almost two decades of joyful referrals.  Our secret to this is simple:

Eliminate Problems

Eliminate Fears

Eliminate Concerns


Call NiteLiters, Inc. Now!

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 state of Kentucky, southern Illinois and Indiana, and northern Tennessee.  We are a nationally recognized, award-winning company that is licensed, insured, and certified.

Published by

Mark Carlson

Exclusively serving the landscape lighting design profession since 1999, artistically as a designer-builder. My firm, Avalon Lighting Design is located in the Sacramento region of N. California. Avalon is a multi-award winning company that has performed nationally and internationally. My role is primarily that of an artist of landscape lighting design. Additional roles include consulting, specification writing, blogger/subject writer, and trade expert.

3 thoughts on “Courtyard Lighting”

    1. Thanks Mike….we really appreciate your comments. You have set the standard for many things in this industry, to include your educational blogs. Thanks again.

  1. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site,
    how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a
    acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your
    broadcast provided bright clear concept

Leave a Reply to Mark Carlson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *