Waterfall Lighting

A waterfall is an attractive feature that adds character and interest to your yard.

Types of Waterfall Lighting

Lighting can enhance the soothing ambiance of a waterfall at night.Lighting can enhance the soothing ambiance of a waterfall at night.
Besides the visual effect, you also get the soothing sound of water flowing and splashing over rocks and into a pool or pond. At night, the sound can be the only benefit if your waterfall is not in a well-lit area. You can fix this problem by choosing from a number of different waterfall lighting options.

LED lights use a small amount of electricity for the amount of brightness they produce. Solar lights can be installed without having to dig up the ground and install wiring, so they are a good choice if you want to add lighting to an existing waterfall. Rock lights are low-voltage lights built into fixtures that look like rocks, so they work well to light a rock waterfall in a way that hides the lighting fixtures, especially if you don't want to see lighting fixtures during the day. Fiber optic lights can produce color-changing effects and have an extra safety benefit, since the electrical component doesn't need to be in or near the water. Fiber optic cables are pricey, however.

Locations for Lighting Fixtures

A little bit of lighting goes a long way to enhance the attraction of your waterfall at night. So don't overdo things by using several different types of lights in different locations. You have several options. You can put light fixtures behind the waterfall, usually near the top where the water starts to fall. You can put underwater fixtures in the pool at the bottom, aimed up to illuminate the stream of water falling down. You can use regular landscape lighting and aim it at the waterfall. You can highlight several other features of your landscape besides the waterfall, such as a tree, lawn ornament or flower garden.

Electrical Considerations

If you want to add a lot of lights, add a transformer or heavy cable capable of bearing a larger electrical load. If you want just one light, plug it into an outdoor electrical outlet, especially if it is a landscaping light not meant for underwater use. Solar lights can be installed in remote locations where you don't want to install electrical wiring. Each fixture generates its own electricity. If you want to save money on the cost of electricity, consider LED lights. Any lights or other electrical circuits installed for use near water should have built-in ground fault protection.

Colored Lights

Some lights can be colored. Some have built-in color while others have colored lenses that can be added to change the color as desired. More expensive systems have color-changing capability, so the same area can be illuminated by different colors at different times, giving a rainbow effect. As with any design, you'll enjoy the effect more if the colors are planned out, rather than random. A gentle change of color or lights of all one color will have a more soothing effect.

Consider the Whole Landscape

Consider the lighting you have, or plan to install, for the rest of your landscape as you decide the best type and color of lighting for your waterfall. A red-colored light may look wrong if you have a pool with a bright blue liner and your waterfall borders the pool. If you don't like the color of the liner in your pond, using white lights under the pond's water may not be your best choice.

About the Author

Melissa Worcester is a mom, freelance writer and graphic designer. She has been writing professionally for over 18 years and earning a part-time income writing for various websites since 2007. She writes about technology issues, business and marketing, home improvement, education and family topics and assists in her husband's home remodeling business. Worcester has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and psychology from Syracuse University.