A beautifully lit pool with bubblers inside and plants all around

There are only a few features of the home that can add the kind of entertainment value, convenience, and sheer fun that an outdoor pool does. Whether you’re constructing a new pool or hoping to revamp the one you’ve had for years, you’ll find that lighting serves a crucial role in this process. Not only does lighting help show off the crown jewel of your outdoor living space, but it also improves the overall safety of your pool. In this article, our trusted outdoor lighting specialists will be going over the tips and tricks on how to light a pool area for pools in Austin and San Antonio. Here is what you need to know:

Lighting Your Pool for Safety

When considering poolside lighting, the priority should always be the safety of your family and guests. However, lighting your pool for safety doesn’t necessarily mean that the lighting should come off flat. There are plenty of ways to boost aesthetics while increasing security. Here are some of our team’s favorite tricks to elevate the safety of your pool without sacrificing visual appeal.

Be Strategic With Your Pool Lighting Placement

The location of your outdoor lighting is the most critical aspect of safety. This is true whether you are building a new pool or trying to upgrade an existing one. Many pool owners are under the impression that interior pool lights are the only ones they need. While interior pool lights do highlight the walls of the pool and help swimmers see the perimeter, they are mainly for swimmers, so they fail to help those sitting on the pool deck or looking at the pool from the house. 

Pool deck lighting should also be incorporated to highlight key features of your pool, such as exit points and the perimeter. Not only does this help individuals who only want to lounge on the pool deck safely navigate their way, but it can also alert individuals inside of the home to any trouble. No matter how strong of a swimmer an individual is, accidents such as muscle cramps or someone bumping their head on the bottom of a pool can always happen and leave the individual struggling. Being able to see swimmers from the main home or on the pool deck ensures that action can be taken in cases of emergencies before they turn into disasters. 

Exterior pool lighting should also highlight the surface of your pool deck, alerting individuals to tripping hazards such as slick spots or pool toys lying around. This type of lighting is also beneficial in highlighting the other gorgeous areas of your outdoor living spaces such as nearby landscaping features.

Know the Amount of Lighting Will Change Depending on the Size, Shape, and Style of Your Pool

A gorgeous outdoor lighting set up around a pool.

It can be easy to assume that every single pool will need about the same amount of lighting. However, this misconception often has DIYers not installing enough lighting around their pool, leading to gaps in light coverage and leaving their pool to be a serious risk during the night to the safety of swimmers and guests. It is extremely important to know the following characteristics of your pool when choosing how many lights you will need:

  • The Size of Your Pool: Bigger pools will naturally need more lighting as they take up more coverage on the ground and may have more entry and exit points.
  • The Shape of Your Pool: The shape of your pool plays a huge part in how light will react and bounce off different areas. For example, rectangular pools require less strategic lighting placement due to the straight edges of their perimeter. This allows the light to spread out evenly on the surface. More uniquely shaped pools however, such as free-form pools, will need more strategic lighting placement. In some cases, they may even need more lights to ensure that the curves don’t cause dark spots. There is a rule of thumb that says there should be one light installed for every 200-300 square feet of pool surface area.
  • Type of Materials Used Inside of the Pool: Different materials will play with light differently. For example, white bottom pools easily reflect light, allowing for fewer to be used as the light easily spreads. Black bottom pools or pools that have darker tiles will absorb light, making it harder to see depth during the nighttime. It is extremely important for these types of pools that both interior and exterior lights play well with each other to properly highlight the bottom and walls of the pool to avoid major accidents.

Implementing LED Exterior Pool Lighting

There are many different swimming pool lighting options available on the market but none can match the beauty and value that you get from LED lighting. LED lights are well worth the investment over halogen or solar-powered lights as they are longer-lasting and provide unmatched energy efficiency. 

LEDs also give homeowners more versatility as some lights can come with color-changing technology, allowing the ambiance to be changed without sacrificing the security they give. On top of that, LEDs do not get hot to the touch, reducing the risk of fire and burn hazards and keeping your swimmers safe during those late-night swimming parties. 

Where Should My Poolside Lighting Be Placed?

Poolside lighting design that incorporates lighting for aesthetic appeal while keeping safety the main focus begins with knowing where pool lights should be placed. Here are some key areas that our outdoor lighting specialists are always sure to hit:

Shining Lights Above the Pool

The most practical way of highlighting the beauty of your pool while ensuring that there is plenty of light is by placing fixtures above the pool. The most common way our team does this is by mounting lights, such as spotlights, on surrounding standing structures such as a pergola or a nearby tree.

Directional lighting can also be implemented to highlight key areas of your pool and/or the surrounding area to create the perfect ambiance. For example, you can highlight a poolside sitting area so swimmers can see where to go for rest or highlight entrances into a pool house.

Illuminating the Pool Deck

Ensuring a properly lit pool deck will allow swimmers or individuals to lounge by the pool safely. Various strategies can be implemented to light a pool deck, including, for example, lanterns to light sitting areas and provide plenty of light to see your good book or glass of wine. Directional lighting and path lighting can lead individuals safely around the pool and highlight key areas such as entry or exit points. 

Path Lighting for Safer Navigation

The location of your pool will determine which type of lighting you will need to illuminate surrounding areas. Some individuals have their pools right next to their home, while others have it farther back on their property. In the latter case, path lighting will be needed to guide swimmers to where they need to go. Recessed floor lighting can be used to safely illuminate the path and the surrounding landscape, such as marking out any nearby flowerbeds or other landscape features.

Pathway lighting should be spaced around 6-8 ft apart to illuminate the paths or strategically placed in shrubbery to highlight the gorgeous colors of the plant while illuminating surrounding areas.

Highlight Stairs and Areas of Elevation

concrete steps with path lighting

Some homeowners have a raised pool area, meaning that their pool deck most likely has stairs leading to and from the pool. In this case, the stairs should always be highlighted to ensure that individuals can see the elevation changes and not miss a step. (A twisted ankle is a terrible abrupt end to a pool party.) Avoid unnecessary accidents by installing low-voltage lights on the side of the steps. This will both improve ambiance and safety. 

Want to add a more dramatic effect to your pool? You can also position step lighting to cast a soft glow on the water’s surface. Not only will this maintain safety on the stairs, but the beautiful reflection in the water will also be sure to catch everyone’s eye.

Don’t Forget to Illuminate Surrounding Trees or Structures

Another area you will want to highlight to increase the overall ambiance and visual appeal of your pool is surrounding natural features, such as trees. If you have other interesting structures, such as marble statues or a pretty gazebo, these elements should also be highlighted.

Use soft flood lights to make trees seem bigger than they are and catch the soft green of the leaves and the various shades of brown on the branches. Highlighting these gorgeous natural features will create a sense of calmness and serenity for your pool, helping you and your swimmers feel more relaxed. 

Highlighting statues or other architectural structures will also increase the style of your pool, whether that is a natural oasis feel or a more Greco-Roman style. Whatever your style is, illuminating nearby structures helps tie your entire backyard together with your crowning jewel: the pool.

Overwhelmed With the World of Possibilities of Poolside Lighting?

outdoor lighting around a pool

Enhanced Outdoor Lighting & Design is your go-to specialist for all of your poolside lighting and outdoor lighting needs. We know what it takes to make your pool sparkle while boosting security and keeping your guests and family safe. Don’t just take it from us — here are some responses from our customers!

“Enhanced Outdoor Lighting installed our beautiful lights several years ago and we have enjoyed them every night since. The customer service has been great too – Tim is always patient and willing to help with any problem (and there haven’t been many.) Highly recommended. – Mary Nichols – 5 Stars

“Tim came out to troubleshoot our outdoor lights and provided a fix that was affordable and effective! I trust these folks and will call again with any outdoor lighting needs I have. Thank you, Enhanced outdoor Lighting!” – Hannah Shepherd – 5 Stars

“Great install, great price, professional, quick response time easy timer application. Recommend 100%. Don’t waste your time with other companies.” – Tye Stout – 5 Stars.

With such great reviews from our clients, it is no wonder that our specialists at Enhanced Outdoor Lighting & Design have set themselves apart as leaders in the industry for San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Don’t wait another moment to enhance the beauty of your outdoor living spaces and instead, contact Enhanced Outdoor Lighting today!

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