This post was written in partnership with Trex outdoor lighting.

landscape lighting suggestions

Eight years ago when we jumped and moved across America to the country it was because we wanted to hear the crickets chirping and smell fresh cut hay and follow winding country paths home….

….and see the stars.

And stars are wonderful.

And amazing.

And fill the night sky with twinkling joy.

But just between us….when I walked outside to those chirping crickets and smelled the hay and walked those winding paths, those stars twinkled over a beautiful farmhouse was just a big blur in the twilight.

Until now.

Now it’s lit up to perfection and we can check landscape lighting off our bucket list.

So if outdoor lighting is on your bucket list….

….here’s a few simple landscape lighting tips from our house to yours.

Exterior of house before lighting

This is where we started.

Here’s what you saw last week when you went outside to listen to the crickets and see the stars.


Just a big blur in the twilight.

ideas for landscape lighting

1.  Decide what you want to highlight

This year’s winter was rough on our landscaping.  Really rough. We lost some of our boxwoods and magnolias and hollys and nandinas.

I’m hoping that with time and a little love, they will come back visit again.

But in the meantime, I’m accentuating the positive.

Like our beautiful azaleas are in full bloom.  And the knock-out roses are coming in as well as the day lilies and ornamental grasses.

Landscape Lighting

So that’s what we highlighted with our landscape lighting.

This multi-function light from Trex was perfect for highlighting specific areas of the landscaping.

The LED light has a beautiful warm glow that brings out the perfect pink in these azaleas.

lighting your landscape

2.  Highlight your pathways

We have a long side walk leading up to the farmhouse and several steps leading up to the door.

Every time I walk up that center walk and look up at that farmhouse, I smile.

Well, except on days that it’s raining.  Then I’m frowning.

And wet.

And trying to remind myself that April showers bring May flowers.

Trex Lighting

We wanted to bring attention to that center walkway with Trex outdoor path lights.

Here’s an example of what the pathway light looks like during the day.

We placed several of these pathway lights to highlight the sidewalk, as well as showcase the flowers we have planted along the edge of the walk.

(And to draw attention away from those poor, struggling nandinas).

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Tips

3.  Use spotlights for overall lighting

In addition to highlighting specific plants and shrubs, we wanted to provide overall lighting for the front of the house.

No more blur at twilight.

We used spotlights to visually define the edges of the landscaping, as well as showcase the larger trees.


They are struggling a little right now, too.

Landscape Lighting Tips

Here’s an example of one of the two spotlights that we used to illuminate the house and provide large areas of light for the landscaping.

We put one on either side of the center sidewalk.

You can adjust the heads after you install them to get the light where you want it.

timer landscape lighting

4.  Use a timer

Best tip ever.

If you are planning on installing landscape lighting, a timer is a must.

You can set it for a specific number of hours and the lights will come on automatically.

Set the timer and walk away and arrive home to a house lit up and waiting for you.

Exterior of house before lighting


One more time for the road.

Just so you can totally see the difference.

Here’s the before….

Outdoor Landscape Lighting


Don’t you love it?

After all these years I’m so happy that we jumped and our little family continues to grow and thrive in the country. The move has had its challenges and blessings.  Sometimes I miss all the noise and the restaurants and the theater and the convenience of a drive-thru diet coke.  And life can be a little challenging when you get stuck behind an international harvester.

Truthfully, sometimes I miss the busy.

Not too often.

Not too much.

Especially when I walk outside on a crisp, clear night….take a deep breath….

…..and I see that landscape lighting.

PS  Oh….and of course the stars. 🙂

Disclosure:  This post was written in partnership with Trex Outdoor Lighting.  

All opinions on lighting and stars and moving to the country are completely my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Image for Yvonne Yvonne

    Beautifully done! I'm inspired to do the same even though we live on a busy street with street lights. My house has good bones so I should highlight them don't you think? Thanks for another great inspiration!

  2. Image for Marian@CMShawStudios Marian@CMShawStudios

    Well, that looks amazing dear. Good work. Makes that yard a little less sad. And your house look so festive, like the party's at your place. But the party is always at your place, isn't it. One of these day's, I'm coming over, even if I have to bring you a drive thru Diet Coke all the way from Northern Virginia. Have a great weekend sweet lady, The Other Marian

  3. Image for Pat Pat

    We live on main st and have our home also lit up and lights in our garden areas, receive so many nice comments from people. For us, it is our invitation to visitors Welcome to our little community.

  4. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    Hello, KariAnne! Oh, I know what you mean about being a little torn between city life and country. And I also know what you mean about sort of preferring the country. When I moved to an apartment after living on a 12.5 acre mini-ranch for 10 years, I was just falling asleep in my new apartment when I heard footsteps overhead. Being a country girl at heart and in a near-dreamstate...and, of course, forgetting I was no longer in the country...the first thing that came to mind was, "Where's my shotgun?" Good thing it was still packed!

  5. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    Please forgive...I forgot to mention what a great job you did on the lighting! It looks so welcoming. And comforting. :-)

  6. Image for Eva Eva

    We made our move to the country 14 yrs ago and have never reqretted it. I love reading all the things you do to make your house a home. Lighting makes such a difference and now you have inspired me to put it on the must do list. Thanks for all your inspiration. Eva

  7. Image for Suzanne Callaway Suzanne Callaway

    Thistlewood Farm looks beautiful all lit up! How many spotlights did you use to light up the front? I am really interested in this sort of lighting. Thanks!

    1. Image for Thistle Thistle

      I used two pathway lights, two garden lights and two spotlights on each side. It was so easy to install! My husband just snapped it all together. A couple of years ago we paid an electrician to install lighting and it was almost three times the price and didn't look nearly as good as this lighting. The key really is the timer. When I walk up the sidewalk at twilight and the lights come makes me so happy! Hope this helps a little! karianne

  8. Image for Susan Krzywicki Susan Krzywicki

    The stars will eventually disappear if we use a lot of lighting that shines upward into the dark. This is why U. S. astronomers are moving telescopes to Chile: not so much man-made illumination to obscure the stars. It's beautiful to have lighting on our homes and I hope that we can, excuse the pun, focus on using lights that shine downward. There is a whole strategy to see if we can pay attention to this issue - it is called the Dark Sky Movement.

  9. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Your lighting is amazing and I envy the look. But as a former farm owner I prefer the darkness. I would go out on my back deck years ago on the farm and watch the stars and Persides Meteor shower. Now the area is developed with shopping centers, brightly lit, so no more star watching. I prefer the darkness now on my new home on a little over an acre on a dead end road, and I care less now that my home shows off to neighbors or visitors. In the dark, I have seen deer walk through and actually settle down and sleep in my back yard. In the dark I heard screeching and when walking down my dark path I was startled to see 3 large juvenile Great Horned Owls in the upper fir trees looking back at me with shining the dark! They screech in the spring to look for mates. So while I love the look of your home, I am staying in the dark.

  10. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    What a difference! Now Thistlewood shines as brightly as the stars. :) I'm looking forward to our jump to the country. Wish we would have done it when the kids were little! Oh well, better late than never.

  11. Image for LZ Cathcart@ The Summery Umbrella LZ Cathcart@ The Summery Umbrella

    I'm a huge fan! I've been wanting to add lighting around the house for some time now, and this post was a great reminder that I need to get on it! I'm still debating between solar vs. LED lighting. Maybe a combination? Anyways, it looks gorgeous as always :)

  12. Image for Deanna R. Jones Deanna R. Jones

    Thanks for the tips! How you light your yard is as much a component of landscaping as what kind of plants you choose to have in your yard. It seems like the type of lighting that you choose can help to make your yard look more appealing during the evening. Out of these tips, I really liked how you pointed out the importance of picking the right lighting to highlight the plants that you want to stand out. I have a lot of pink flowers, so it seems best to use LED lighting since it brings out the pink colors in my yard.

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