Pools are a great feature of any backyard and using them at night is a great way to beat the heat. Setting up outdoor lighting for your pool area can be intimidating, but we break it down for you and have some great, easy options.
There are many options for adding lighting to your pool landscaping. They include path lights, post cap lights, string lights, and wall lights. Most of these lights come in solar and low-voltage options and are great for lighting up your outdoor spaces.
Types of Landscaping Lighting: Solar and Low-Voltage Lighting
When considering landscaping lighting, there are two main methods of installing lighting: solar, and low-voltage lighting. Solar lighting is made up of individual lights that can be placed where needed. They do not need to be connected to any source of electricity as they derive their power from the sun.
Low-voltage lights need to be hardwired into your existing electrical system. This may sound complicated, but there are plenty of tutorials online on how to do this safely. If you are not comfortable with this, we recommend contacting a lighting professional.
Pool Lighting Ideas
When thinking about pool lighting ideas, it is helpful to break down specific areas where you may want to have some additional light during the evening hours.
These areas tend to be: pathways, pool decks, seating areas, and landscaping features. We have many great options for outdoor lighting ideas for all those areas, plus more, to help you choose the right type of lighting.
Many inground pools will come with pool lights already built in, so in this article, we won’t go into adding lights to the interior of your pool.
Path lights are extremely versatile and can be used for several purposes besides pathways. They are available in both solar and low-voltage options. Pathway lights can be placed along the path or stairs leading to your swimming pool.
This not only provides a nice aesthetic but provides additional light for safety reasons, especially in areas with stairs where safety is more of a concern.
Check out our article here for our favorite pathway lighting options, both solar and low-voltage.
We recommend these specific path lights because the lights are shielded and aimed down. Both these features actually improve visibility at night as you are not being blinded by having light shine directly into your eyes allowing you to see much better.
Pool Deck- Above Ground Pool
If you have an above ground pool with a pool deck, deck post cap lights are a great way to add some light to your outdoor space. They are available in both low-voltage and solar options.
These are our favorite post cap lights. The light is aimed directly down so it goes just where you need it and won’t be shining into your eyes while you are relaxing on your pool deck.
Pool Deck- Inground Pool
There are several ways to light up the pool deck of your inground pool. One option is to place path lights along the perimeter of your pool deck. There are both solar and low-voltage options. Some of our favorites are these modern outdoor path lights. They look great on a cement, paver, or natural stone pool patio.
Solar lights are also a simple and easy way to add lighting to your pool area. These are some of our favorite solar powered path lights.
We recommend these path lights because the lights are shielded and aimed down. Both these features actually improve visibility at night as you are not being blinded by having light shine directly into your eyes allowing you to see much better.
If your pool is near a wall or fence, you can add some wall mounted light fixtures. One of the easiest ways to light up your pool area is with these solar powered wall lights.
They can be installed on a wall, fence, or post. They provide nice downlighting to any area. There are also many options for low-voltage lights as well.
Outdoor Living Space
If you have a seating area near your pool, there are plenty of great options to add lighting to that area as well. String lights make a great addition to any outdoor living space. We love these shielded string lights for a unique look.
You can also place path lights around the perimeter of your seating area if you don’t have a good way to hang outdoor string lights.
Adding a fire pit to your seating area is another great way to add some light to your outdoor space. You can do a traditional wood burning fire pit, or if you have a gas hookup, a gas firepit can also be a nice option.
Water features can be great focal points for your pool landscaping lighting. If you have a water feature that is part of your pool, it will probably have built-in lights. If not, placing some path lights around the edge of your water feature is a great way to highlight it.
If you have some flower beds in your outdoor area and want to highlight those, we have some landscape lighting ideas for those as well. The best way to highlight flower beds is by adding some garden lights.
These come in solar and low-voltage options. These are our favorite garden lights.
How to choose the right lights for your pool landscaping?
When choosing the right lights for your outdoor area, we recommend considering a couple of factors:
Brightness of your outdoor lights
Outdoor lights do not need to be that bright. You will be surprised at how little light you need to actually make a difference in lighting your outdoor area. We recommend starting with the lowest brightness and then adding more if needed.
For more information on the recommended brightness for outdoor lights, check out our article here.
Choosing the right lighting fixtures
When choosing a lighting fixture, we always recommend choosing a fixture that is shielded (meaning that you can’t see the light source) and choosing a fixture that is aimed down.
Temperature of your lights
The temperature of light refers to the color of the light, warm lights are towards the orange/red side of the spectrum and cool lights are towards the blue end of the spectrum.
To avoid harsh lights, we recommend sticking with lights on the warmer side of the spectrum. Not only will this make your outdoor space more inviting, but it is also better for your health as blue light at night has been shown to have negative health impacts.
Taking all of these factors into consideration will help you to choose the right lighting for your pool landscaping and create your own backyard oasis.
Dark Sky Friendly Lighting
All of the lights that we recommend can be considered dark sky friendly lighting. How can you tell if a light is dark sky friendly? When you look at the light fixture, you should not be able to see the source of the light (bulb).
We understand that people like to use outdoor lights, whether for aesthetic effects, entertaining, or security, and we want to help people make informed decisions about the lights being used.
You can use outdoor lights at night while still being a friend to the starry sky movement and decreasing your contribution to light pollution!
For more information about light pollution, check out our article What is Light Pollution.
To stay up to date on all things light pollution related, check out and subscribe to our podcast Light Pollution News. We have a new episode every month bringing you the latest news and research about light pollution.