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Water Garden Lighting Guide

Pond water garden with beautiful evening lighting.

Make every evening a beautiful backyard event
The sun-dappled backyard pond is a thing of beauty. Green plants. Colorful flowers. Graceful swimming fish. But why should you enjoy your pond only during daylight hours? There should be life after dark. You can use lighting to enhance the beauty of your pond and yard, improve safety, and extend your enjoyment throughout the evening hours. Lights can be positioned below the surface of the water for an iridescent effect, and around your pond to highlight its pathways, attractive plantings, and water features.

Highlight key features with spotlights.

Submerge lights in the bottom of the pond, or build them into its sides.

Use multiple lighting options for an integrated effect
You will likely select two, three, or even four types of lights for use in and around your pond. Whatever combination you choose, your goal should be to integrate all of the lighting so that your pond has a single center of focus, plus several accents.

Adding lighting to a backyard pond is easier than ever with the availability of a number of innovative kits. The lights can be beautiful in their own right: the fixtures can be part of the show, or you may want to hide the lights so that you experience only their effect.


  • Submerged lighting can create beautiful effects. Dancing colors across rippling water. A soft glow against nearby trees and shrubs. A submersible halogen pondl Light is also an excellent choice. When using submerged lights, you need to locate them carefully to avoid over-exposure of the pond liner, pots, pumps, and hoses. Also, you will need to maintain water quality so that algae and other contaminants do not cloud the beauty of your lighting effects.
  • Floating lights are attractive fixtures designed to be seen. The soft light from any of these kits will accent the beauty of plant life on the surface of your pond and around its perimeter.
  • Spotlight Kits include everything needed to spotlight your pond landscape at night.
  • Solar lights offer cordless freedom. Since solar light fixtures do not require electrical outlets, difficult or remote areas of your water garden can be illuminated with these versatile devices. Solar lights offer you creative options AND savings on your utility bill.
  • Moonlight effects are easy to create. The trellis or arbor, for example, you set up for daytime shade can also become a beautiful nighttime effect. Add low wattage lights to the foliage to create a soft, diffused light over your pond.

Take things a step at a time
When planning and selecting your lighting, remember that you can start small and refine your lighting scheme over time. Initially, keep things simple and subtle. You don't want your entire yard awash in light. The absence of light in certain areas, the use of darkness and shadow, adds texture and interest to your landscaping.

System controls
First, practice safety! Install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on the electrical line or lines serving your lights, pumps, and filters. A circuit breaker GFCI serves a dual purpose: it shuts off electricity in the event of a ground fault, and will also trip when a short circuit or an overload occurs.

Next, we recommend that you include a timer in your lighting system. The automation adds security to your home and conserves power. Install one or more motion sensor switches to activate your lighting system. Activating the lights as you approach is fun and dramatic. For unsuspecting pond predators or intruders, however, it can be a powerful deterrent. Most importantly, motion sensors help prevent any person from accidentally falling into your pond in the dark.

Place timers, transformers, GFCI, and other controls in an easily accessible location - like your basement or garage - so you don't have to go out in the cold or rain to make adjustments. Make sure that you can see the lights from wherever you position the controls.

Lighting in and around your pond will make the area more comfortable and useable. We think you will find that your return on investment very worthwhile.


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