Pool Lighting Tips

Get tips on adding the right lighting in and around your pool.


Photo courtesy of Alderete

Photo by: Andy Abrecht ©Alderete Pools

Andy Abrecht, Alderete Pools

Photo courtesy of Alderete
By: Peter Walsh

Adding lighting to your pool and its surroundings will allow you to use the pool and your outdoor living spaces at night. It is also a safety measure so you can see where you are walking when the sun goes down.

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Lighting in your pool

In-ground pools use to have one or two large lights embedded into the wall that light up the water for nighttime swimming, one in the deep end and one in the shallow end of the pool. Above-ground pools get a spot or floodlight mounted to a tree or on the house. While those built-in lights are still popular, there have been significant changes to pool lighting over the years.

Now it's all about LED lighting systems that can transform your pool into an aquatic experience. "You can have customized lighting packages spread around the pool that offer different colors and can be programmed with reflective qualities that don't shine in your face," says Tom Mortland, pool division manager, Liquidscape.

LED lights are installed under the coping or in pipes embedded in the walls. "They give off a soft glow that washes over the water," says Bill Bocken, Bill Bocken Architecture and Interior Design. "You can even have a computerized color wheel that changes colors throughout the night. Think red for Valentine's Day or blue for a martini party," he says. There are also fiber-optic lighting options that can create a starry night-like effect as well.

Lighting around your pool

Low-voltage lighting that saves energy and softly lights up your yard is still the best way to enhance your outdoor living spaces. Strategically placed lights that shine into the branches of trees gives them a sculptural quality. Soft but effective light splashing on the pathways leading to your pool, on steps and near your patio will allow you to safely maneuver around your yard without tripping over things such as planter boxes, shrubs and furniture.

Aside from the safety issue, outdoor landscape lighting will create an atmosphere that will draw you outside so you'll want to spend time out there at night, says Joanne Kostecky, APLD and president, Garden Design, Inc. "You’ll feel more secure, plus you'll be able to see what's out there."

A well-lit yard is enjoyable to look at from inside the house and makes it look better overall. Consider lighting specimen plantings, pergolas, pathways, patios and decks when you plan your outdoor lighting. Low-voltage lighting is easy to install yourself since it comes in kits that can be added to later on as you continue to develop your outdoor living spaces.

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