led lights on a little boy statue

The statues that you choose to display in your garden or outdoor living space are equivalent to the art you choose to display within your room. Both are art pieces that you chose to adorn your home because they bring you joy and make your home feel complete.

Just as you ensure each piece of art is set off to its best advantage with framing inside your home, your statues deserve to be lit outside of your home. With the right lighting, you can highlight the beautiful sculptures that line your garden or outdoor living space so that they can be enjoyed even after the sun goes down. 

Know Your Statue’s Prominent Features

Every statue has a prominent feature that helps them convey the feeling or message from the creator. Highlighting these features will best bring the statue to life after dark and ensure that its message can still be clearly conveyed. Here are some guidelines you can use to determine which areas to highlight when you install your outdoor lighting.

If it is a statue of a person, highlight the features that make them human, especially their face. If they are in a dramatic pose, try to light the areas that relay movement, such as outstretched arms or the twist in the body. 

If the statue is of an animal, try shining lights on areas that make it a masterpiece, such as the expression on the animal’s face, the shape of its body, or the details in the fur. 

If the statue is an artistic piece, try to light the features that best demonstrate its shape or depth. If there is a special type of color or texture used, or if it compliments a plant or fountain, use your lighting to show the correlation or relationship between the two. 

Remember, the intensity of the light needs to be focused on the features that matter the most about each piece. While highlighting the whole statue is effective to make sure it is seen, it can obscure the dramatic effect or the message that the piece contributes to your garden.

Figure Out Where to Direct the Light

Once you know what features you want to highlight, the next step is figuring out where to direct the light. This depends on not only what you want to highlight, but what elements are near your statue and its main features.

What if my statue is near a wall or a tree?

You might feel like constrained space limits how dramatic you can make your lighting, but you can always use your lighting to create a shadow behind the features you want to highlight which will help them stand out. This will require a light fixture to be placed as close to the base of the statue as possible or off to the side.

What if I want equal light distribution?

If you want to shine a light across the broad face of a statue, you will need to center the fixture at the base. The light should be aimed straight up so that the distribution is broader and creates a larger focal area. 

What if I want to illuminate only a single element of a statue?

To illuminate a single element of a statue, place the beam directly on the part of that statue. For example, if you just want to highlight the face of a human statue, the light should be focused directly on it. Remember, the closer the light is, the more focused and sharp the light will be. Narrow lights can be used in the same way to highlight more prevalent features.

Decide What Outdoor Light Fixtures to Use

There are a variety of fixtures to choose from, and they all lend themselves to different effects. To achieve your vision of your perfectly illuminated statues, it is important to select the right type of lights in addition to figuring out the placement and focus.

Here is a rundown of some of the options available to you: 


Uplights cast a warm glow on statues and are located on the ground, shining the lights upward as implied by their name. They help create a play on shadows and light by using the statue to cast shadows on itself rather than on the ground.

This can help create a dramatic and elegant look. Uplighting is best used when the statue has soft lines or if the statue has some sort of soft movement to it, such as a person carrying a child or a pot.


garden lighting shining on a woman statue

Downlights create a spotlight effect on a statue without the harsh beam of light. These fixtures will need to be placed in nearby trees to cast the light down on the statue in question. This helps create a soft veil of light and shadows on the ground, adding a sense of movement or liveliness to the statue.

Downlights are often described as adding a majestic kind of feel, making them perfect for more ornate or serious statues. The farther away the light is, the more subtle this effect becomes, which means this type of lighting can be used in a variety of ways, too. 


With backlighting, the light source comes from behind the statue which creates a halo effect on the artwork, giving the statue an otherworldly impression. This lighting effect is versatile because it can add softness to a statue that has sharp lines or add drama to an otherwise understated statue. It is especially perfect for religious or familial statues.

Not Sure What Would Work Best for Your Statues?

When it comes to showing off the best elements of your statues, there are a lot of decisions to make which can quickly become overwhelming. The expert team at Enhanced Outdoor Lighting & Design has the skills and years of experience to help you bring your vision to life and display your art to its best advantage. With the right lighting, your already amazing art can become a masterpiece, so be sure to contact us to schedule a consultation or appointment today!

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