Commercial Landscape Lighting Design Tips for Safety, Security and Street Appeal

Still grumbling about daylight saving time?

We hear you.

Emerging into darkness after a long day at work makes you feel like a mole.

But consider it an opportunity — to take a good, hard look at the lighting on your commercial property.

Darkness invites danger. Professional landscape lighting banishes it, adding safety, security and bright street appeal.

Greg Smith, Greenscape Inc.’s director of

business development, shares some of his best commercial landscape lighting design tips.

Stick with us, and you won't be in the dark for long.

Lighting For Safety

Above all, you want anyone who visits your property to feel — and be — safe.

“Signage is a number one priority,” Smith says. “People need to be able to move through a property quickly and safely with a clear understanding of where they're going.”

Pay special attention to lighting all directional signage, he says.

“When you walk through a hospital or an apartment complex, you need to be able to easily find your way through, so you look confident about where you're headed,” he says. “If you hesitate or look confused and uncertain, you’re a target for criminals.”

Take A Walk

commercial landscape lighting

“Now, with daylight saving time, people leave work at 5 p.m. in the dark," Smith says.

It’s a great time to take a walk with your account manager.

"When we bring dark areas to a property manager’s attention, they often say, 'Wow, I didn't realize it was this dark out here.’”

Path lights offer both safety and beauty, and undercap lights on retaining walls cast soft light down, both highlighting the architectural aspect of the wall and shedding just enough light for pedestrians.

“Pay special attention to overhead lighting, Smith says, “ so when you’re walking to your car or to a mailbox kiosk you can safely see where you’re going.”

Does your lighting illuminate potential hazards, or does it need a boost?

Up And Down

A combination of uplighting and downlighting keeps pathways safe and aesthetically appealing, Smith says.

“You need more than just street lamps to illuminate a property,” he says.

Uplights on trees and other landscape elements highlight their beauty at night, but also offer an extra wash of illumination, Smith says.

Downlighting lights up the journey from buildings out to parking lots.

Lighting For Security

Lighting deters criminals — suddenly, it’s not so easy for them to hide. That means fewer break-ins, less vandalism and improved safety for visitors.

“We light the foundations of buildings and the buildings themselves so they're not inviting to those who want to do damage," Smith says.

Professional commercial landscape lighting design that offers a pleasing wash of illumination, rather than harsh spotlights, offers security but also looks appealing, he says.

Lighting For Street Appeal

Nothing attracts attention to your commercial property from the street like skillfully designed, welcoming lighting.

“You don't just want to show off a building during the 12 hours of daylight,” Smith says. “If it's a restaurant, lighting at night sets the mood. If it's an outdoor mall, lighting brings the whole place alive.


“The right lighting shows off the building itself," Smith says. "Not just the landscaping around it, but the structure, the architecture, of the building."

Take a good look at your building's best features, Smith says, then show them off with artistic lighting.

Brick columns? A striking roofline? Corners with brick inlay?

Lighting helps you market your building and extend your hours after the sun goes down.

The Tech Behind The Lighting

Anybody can toss up some fixtures and bulbs and create light.

But the best landscape lighting is artistry, and that takes design skills and technical know-how.

“It's a lot more than putting in some 120-volt floodlights,” Smith says.

“It’s all about wattages and the right size bulbs,” Smith says. “The angle of the bulb, the style of the fixture. We don’t want you to see where the fixture is — we want to disguise it in the landscape, so people don't even know where the light comes from.”

There’s more to commercial landscape lighting design than meets the eye.

"There are calculations involved,” Smith says. "If you put 20 lights on the same wire, you’ll always have service issues.”

Sound complicated? That’s why you want a professional on the job.

“Our landscape designers are trained in all this,” Smith says. “Otherwise, you can end up with a hodgepodge of harsh spotlights.”

Let's Talk

IMG_2606.jpgBefore we do anything, expect a few questions.

“How do you use your property?” Smith asks. "What type of business is it? How often do people visit in the dark? Is it dining? Retail?

“What time do shift changes happen? Some of our properties, like manufacturing facilities or laboratories, are on three shifts.

“We need to understand what the clients want, then we create that,” Smith says. “Do people come to work in the dark at 5:30 in the morning? We can make sure it's lit then, to meet their needs.

“Every lighting design we do is designed for that customer's needs," Smith says. “It won't be cookie-cutter. Every job is designed differently.

“But first, there's a lot of listening.”

Let Greenscape Light Up Your Property

At Greenscape, Inc, we have commercial landscape lighting design experts with innovative ideas to bring safety, security and street appeal to your commercial property.

We’d love to brighten up your place.

Greenscape Inc. has been meeting the full-service landscaping needs of commercial customers in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary areas for more than 35 years.

We offer landscape management and lawn care, design and build services, irrigation, landscape lighting and more.

Call us at 919-552-7742 or fill out our online form to request a free consultation and learn how we can transform your landscape.

We can't wait to hear from you.

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