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  • Writer's pictureLisa Van Hoever

Does your landscape lighting contribute to light pollution?

Have you ever wondered if your outdoor lighting is contributing to light pollution, or are you reluctant to add landscape lighting to your property for this reason?

While outdoor lighting can contribute to light pollution, a professional outdoor lighting designer can help you make informed choices about your fixtures that will give you the best of both worlds - a beautiful as well as environmentally-conscious lighting design.

Did you know that DarkSky International has a program called DarkSky Approved that provides third-party certification for lighting companies and products that do not pollute the night sky? According to their website, certification depends on the following factors:


  • Restrict the amount of upward-directed light

  • Avoid glare

  • Avoid over-lighting

  • Utilize dimming and other appropriate lighting controls

  • Minimize short-wavelength (bluish) light in the nighttime environment


DarkSky has approved hundreds of lighting products. Their database can be found at https://darksky.org/what-we-do/darksky-approved/products-companies/.


Landscape lighting designers play a crucial role in minimizing light pollution while enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of outdoor spaces. Here are some strategies they can employ to ensure your new outdoor lighting system isnot adding unnecessary light pollution:


Use Dark Sky-Friendly Fixtures: Opt for fixtures that are specifically designed to minimize light pollution, such as those certified by DarkSky International. These fixtures are designed to direct light downward, reducing glare and light spillage into the night sky.


Limit Light Output: Use lighting fixtures with adjustable brightness levels or install dimmers to control the intensity of the light. By reducing the overall light output, designers can minimize the impact on the surrounding environment and reduce energy consumption.


Proper Fixture Placement: Carefully plan the placement of lighting fixtures to ensure they illuminate specific areas without causing unnecessary light spillage. Direct light only where it's needed, such as pathways, outdoor seating areas, or architectural features, and avoid illuminating empty spaces or nearby natural habitats.


Shielding and Directional Lighting: Use shields, hoods, or louvers to control the direction of light and minimize glare. Shielding fixtures can help direct light downward and prevent it from spreading horizontally or upward into the night sky.


Choose Warm-Toned LEDs: Select LED fixtures with warmer color temperatures (e.g., 2700K to 3000K) instead of cooler temperatures, which can appear bluer and contribute to more light pollution. Warm-toned LEDs provide a softer, more natural light that is less disruptive to nocturnal wildlife and human circadian rhythms.


By incorporating these strategies into their designs, landscape lighting designers can help mitigate light pollution and create outdoor environments that are aesthetically appealing, functional for the homeowner, and environmentally responsible.

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