Keys to Exterior Lighting Design Concepts

Posted by Nate Mullen on Jul 19th 2023

Keys to Exterior Lighting Design Concepts

The architectural details and lines of your home will help shape our lighting portrait and your experience with it. By using professional outdoor living design concepts, viewpoints, seating areas, conversation areas, cabanas, furniture, colors and yard art we can achieve exquisite results.But achieving the perfect outdoor living lighting portrait design it's important that you understand these design concepts. 


The balance concept can be achieved in different ways including symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial. The idea of balance is for equal distribution of weight throughout the space from different and all viewpoints. 

  • Symmetrical Balance

    • This is the traditional option. Symmetrical balance is easier said than done as most landscape/yard/Properties don’t have the balance on equal sides of a center point. When Symmetry is important to the lighting designer, visually interest usually must be inserted. We do this by creating a repeating element to add stability to the lighting composition. 
  • Asymmetrical Balance 

    • Is when you have two dissimilar sides of a property and have to position visual weight which is usually unequal to achieve a sense of equal balance to the lighting composition in order to trick the eye. Asymmetrical balance in art is the same as we achieve in our Lighting Portraits, and our Lighting Composition. Achieving this sense of visual balance from different visual elements is a decision process that includes negative and positive spaces that will include color, texture and the natural elements on the properties. Using Visually orientation and Techniques are the tools to create Asymmetrical Visual Balance which will, Cause and Create Impact, Perceptions, Interaction, Create Stimulus, Separation, Devolvement, Vertical Elements and Volumes of space. Visually Variety and  Greater visual interaction is the goal.
  • Radial balance 

    • Radial balance is the visual arrangement centered around a central point. Symmetrical balance in a circular order if you will. This is where elements are arrayed around a center focal point. This is an interesting concept and if done right, can add a lot of personality to your space. Think of a spiral staircase in the middle of a room surrounded by furniture and décor.

Focal Point

Most rooms in your home should always have a focal point, sometimes, even more than one! A focal point leaves a lasting impression, draws in attention and can tie in the style and theme of your lighting portrait. This can be achieved by using a fireplace, water feature, Specimen tree, artwork and other elements as a focal point.


Rhythm should always be considered when designing your concept. Creating visual patterns that repeat and recurring which will add visual interest factors. This is a manipulation of patterns to create rhythm. If cleverly used can create Harmony. This can be achieved through repetition, progression, transition, color and or contrast. There are only two types of Rhythm that we incorporate:

  • Regular Rhythm

    • Repeating patterns consistently throughout the composition.
  • Progressive Rhythm

    • Patterns that change sizes or times as they repeat.
      1. Repetition

        • This is when you use the same element throughout your lighting composition, it is a specific type of pattern. When you repeat and have repetition throughout the design you create order and strength. Making this statement allows the client to feel comfortable and at peace while enjoying the views and space.

      2. Progression

        • This is when you increase or decrease the qualities of an element. For example, adding pots/containers/vases in the yard or  with a cluster of candles that are various heights.

      3. Transition 

        • An arched arbor is a great transition piece for a smooth flow from one space to another.


Create and intensify a series of spaces large or small linked together with negative and positive spaces by providing visual opposition. We do this by using our visually technical assets, Shadowing, light and shadows, depth, dimensions, emphasizing size and shapes of elements, colors, textures 


Harmony is the principle of creating a lighting composition that creates cohesiveness by stressing the elements of the landscape and property values in totality in which comprise the lines, shape, color, texture, architecture, density, landscape, vertical elements and all other items on the property. This is our vehicle to create the sense of togetherness with the separate spaces all working together to reinforce the completion of the lighting composition.


This might be the most important design concept of all and is usually something an interior designer has mastered. We have mastered this as Outdoor Living experts. Minor details can be often overlooked at times. Outdoor landscape lighting does a lot of things when done properly but the most important visual objective is it expands space. It allows the client to maximize their yard from all areas front, back and sides. Now that being said, we will offer advice on the addition of Sound, seating areas, water features, yard art, flowers in pots and so on.