Everything You Need to Know About Moon Lighting

By Lani Furbank

Photo credit: Lua by Paulisson Miura via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0

Moon lighting. We’re not talking about starting a side hustle! Moon lighting is a very popular style of landscape lighting, but most people don’t really know much about it. In fact, the term is often used incorrectly to describe any light that is shining down from a tree. However, it takes precision to achieve realistic moon lighting, so it’s important to understand the concept thoroughly.

Everything you need to know about moon lighting

Moon Lighting a very specific look

Moon lighting is a type of down lighting that is intended to recreate the look of moon light. (Hence the name!) The lights shine down from high up in the trees, and the foliage breaks up the pattern of light, casting a dappled shadow on your property.

It’s more of an upscale look, which typically works better for a larger property abundant in greenery. Moon lighting can be a subtle way to illuminate areas like driveways without being too overbearing. It’s a sophisticated alternative to harsh spotlights.

To get an idea of what moon lighting looks like, go outside during the day and look at how the sun casts shadows through your trees. The moonlight creates the same shadows that sunlight does, but sunlight is much more obvious.

Light placement is key

Not all properties are suited for moon lighting, and if the effect is executed incorrectly, your yard could end up looking like a parking lot. In order to achieve the right look, moon lights must be placed very high in the trees – at least 30 feet up. Lights placed in 10 to 12 foot trees won’t create a soft, patterned light because it simply isn’t high enough to effectively mimic the moon.

The viewing angle of the light is also very important. You don’t want to look up and be staring right into the light source. A nearly vertical, 15- to 20-degree angle is perfect.

Moon lighting by Enlightened Lighting

Consider the color temperature

Moon lighting looks great in two color temperatures – it just depends on your personal preference. Some like a natural, warm, reddish light. This is approximately 2700K to 3000K. Others want to mimic the moon exactly, so they opt for a bluish, reflective light. This is 5000K to 5500K. Either way, you want to aim the lights toward green shrubbery or grass to really make the light color pop.

If you’re also adding up lights to your property, you could opt for a combination of the two color temperatures: natural red light for your up lights and reflective blue light for your moon lights.

When done right, moon lighting is a beautiful and unique effect that creates a magical scene. We love adding moon lighting to a property to transform a backyard into a majestic oasis! If you’re interested in adding moon lighting or other landscape lighting to your property, contact Enlightenend Lighting today!