There is a lot of information out there about building, designing, and maintaining koi ponds, but very little information about lighting them.
Part of the problem is the fact that, even online, the world of pond keeping is small. Specific information related to ponding outside the basics isn’t largely discussed: especially lighting.
Even online pond retailers who may carry a large swath of lighting products usually offer little explanation for what kind of lighting will enhance your ability to enjoy your pond in the evening.
At best, they might have a single web page on their site with some rudimentary information about pond lighting basics. At worst they will have a list of products that leave it up to you to figure out how to design and engineer the system yourself. In any event, its really left up to you to figure out how to light your pond.
If you’re looking to have your pond builder do your lighting, just keep in mind they probably have the same amount of experience you do. They may even come flat out and ask you “where do you want your lights?”
If they are the expert, shouldn’t they already know how the pond ought to be lit without asking?
Let me be clear, there are knowledgeable people in the ponding community, and pond building world, who may be able to answer the basic pond lighting related questions you have. They may even know a surprising amount about lighting.
But even professional pond contractors who offer lighting are typically using your project as an experiment since, in all reality, they very rarely end up installing any lighting on the ponds they build. Sure they’ve lit a handful of ponds in the past. However, pond lighting is really only something they offer on the side to help supplement their income.
For example, I took this photo while on a pond tour (a parade of homes except for to showcase ponds) and saw this. See the photo below
This is a directional up light; some refer to it as a spot light. They are most commonly used to accent trees and other vegetation in the landscape. Its the most common landscape lighting fixture you’ll see in most landscape, and they are absolutely not meant or intended to be submerged in water like this.
The company who installed this lighting system also built the pond. The pond itself looked absolutely wonderful. From the teared falls to the bolder placement and shape of the pond, the whole project looked phenomenal. The company is well known in the local pond community to do outstanding work with their pond construction projects.
The lighting they did here, on the other hand, is another story.
When it comes right down to it, the explanation for why this company’s lighting game was so weak is very simple: Pond people know ponds; Lighting people know lighting. A company that makes ponding their business is far better suited to building a wonderful water feature for you than they are attempting to lighting it.
The inverse is also true; I wouldn’t trust a specialized landscape lighting company to build my pond. would you?
This is one of the reasons why it can be well worth it to work with an outdoor lighting designer / a company that makes landscape lighting design / installation their only focus and not their side hustle. If you don’t want your pond lighting to look like it was an afterthought, choose a specialized professional.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “ok, Mr. Lighting guy, Mr. high and mighty, Mr. God Complex bestowing light upon us all: we get it. From up atop your lighting thrown you’re telling us we need to only hire a landscape lighting specialized company if we want to have a good pond lighting experience”.
While I do think you will have a far better experience if you choose to go with a specialized landscape lighting company, I’m not here to say they are the only option. There are plenty of companies who do lighting projects, even if its not what they are specialized in, that work just great.
My agenda for writing this blog is actually to help give you the tools you need, whether you’re a DIYer or looking to hire a company, to get great results from your pond lighting system.
Today, I want to discuss the red flags and smart moves to make when it comes to having lighting done for your koi pond, gold fish pond, water feature, fountain, etc.
There are countless things you should not do when lighting your pond! But for the sake of sanity, we are going to just go over some of the mistake highlights I’ve seen over the years.
The average pond guy probably wont consider light refraction when aiming a submerged underwater light up onto a waterfall. But the truth is getting that specific in lighting design isn’t helpful. Lets talk about the basic things you want to see in a pond with a good lighting system and design.
It can be tempting to settle for something that just does the job, but getting the most out of your pond lighting is really worth the extra time and effort. Whether its work or the normal hustle and bustle of life, we all spend our days busy running around. The evening is the only time we actually get a moment to unwind, relax, and enjoy our ponds. So be sure your lighting is going to make that time, that experience, as enjoyable as it should be.
I hope the information in this blog will help you make good decisions for your pond lighting project. If you are looking to hire someone to do your pond lighting for you, I also hope this information will help you access whether or not the company you are hiring knows the basic fundamental of pond lighting.
If you are looking for a high quality lighting system for your home but don’t know where to start, take the first step and request a consultation here! Let our designers create not only a functional property, but one that highlights the beauty of your home even at night. At Landscape Lighting Pro, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do. For nearly 20 years, our award winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people’s homes and businesses across the Wasatch Front & beyond.