Call Now!
Beacon Outdoor Lighting - Logo

The Ultimate Outdoor Lighting Terminology Guide

August 7, 2020 by Cory Moore

The Ultimate Outdoor Lighting Terminology Guide


Landscape and outdoor lighting terminology can be a little daunting, so we wanted to bring you up to date with terms commonly used in the lighting industry.


Luminaire:  A Luminaire also called a lighting fixture in the lighting industry, is both the housing and the lamp that make up a lighting unit.

Transformer: The lighting transformer is the power source of the lighting system used to convert 120 volts from a typical outlet to 12-15 VAC's.

Conduit: The conduit is a protective sleeve that is used to run wire typically underneath hardscapes.

Lumens: In short, lumens is the measure of brightness emitted from a light source.

Lumen Depreciation: Lumen Depreciation is the slow decrease in the light output of a LED Lamp.

Footcandle: Is the measure of lumens one foot from a lighting source.

Color Temperature: Color temperature is a way to describe the lights' appearance regarding its warmth or coolness. Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin. Lower Kelvin temperatures equate to a warmer appearance in light output, and higher Kelvin temperatures equal a cooler light appearance. The most popular Kelvin temperatures used in landscape lighting are 2700 Kelvin & 3000 Kelvin.

G4/Bi-pin: The G4 lamp is one of the smallest lamps used in outdoor lighting. You can find these lamps in most of your path lighting because of their relatively small size and ample lumen output.

MR16: An MR16 lamp is your standard bulb used for directional lighting. Though slightly larger than the G4 it packs quite a punch with regards to lumen output.

Par36: PAR36 lamps are typically the largest lamp you will find on a residential project producing upwards to 1500 lumens, making them ideal for illuminating large specimen trees on the property.

RGBW Lamps: RGBW lamps allow you to change the color and Kelvin temperature of each lamp.

IP68: IP68 is a safety standard that states the luminaire is safe to withstand dust, dirt, sand, and submersion in water up to 4.5 feet.

Beam Spread: Beam spread measures the width of the beam of light measured from a distance from the lighting fixture.

Watts: Watts are a measure of power. Watts is typically used in landscape lighting to measure the transformer's size needed to meet the power requirements. Many think watts equates to the amount of light produced; this is simply not true.

LED: An LED is a light-emitting diode. In simple terms, an LED is a hyper-efficient light source used in landscape lighting that emits large amounts of lumens with little energy usage.

Halogen: Halogen was the industry standard for landscape lighting 15 years ago but has quickly lost popularity due to the decreasing cost of efficient LED's.

Low voltage lighting: Low voltage lighting is a type of lighting that uses 12-24 volts to power the lighting system. Low voltage lighting is made possible using a transformer that lowers the volts coming out of an exterior outlet.

Accent Lighting: Accent lighting is a type of outdoor lighting used to highlight specific objects on your property. An example of accent lighting would be fixtures illuminating a palm or yard art.

Silhouette Lighting: Silhouette lighting is created when the light source is placed behind the object of interest.

Moon Lighting: Moon Lighting is a form of downlighting that creates an elegant lighting effect that is subtly yet extremely practical.

Light Reflection: Light reflection is the amount of light that bounces back into space from the surface being illuminated. Light reflection is an important element that needs to be considered when designing your lighting system.

Architectural Lighting: Architectural lighting is used to illuminate the architectural components of a home. Architectural lighting is often used to illuminate columns, pergolas, Gazebos, stairs, fireplaces, etc.

Risers/Post: Risers are an accessory component that can be used to elevate a fixture from a landscaping bed.

Lighting demonstration:  A lighting demonstration is a physical process of setting up a series of lighting fixtures on your home or business. Demonstrations allow the homeowner to see a certain lighting design possibility before signing any contracts or sending a deposit.

Patina: Patina is a chemical reaction that happens on the surface of many metals, including copper and brass. Many find the look of patina aesthetically appealing.

Optical Lens: Optical Lenses are glass or plastic accessories that can be added to lighting fixtures to manipulate the light. A great example of an optical lens is a diffuser that widens the beam spread from 10 degrees to 60 degrees.

Hex Louvre: A Hex Louvre is an accessory often added to up-lighting and is used to minimize glare.

Turtle Safe Lighting: Turtle Safe Lighting is an FWC approved lighting system. These systems are installed low to the ground, require lens covers, and have a long wavelength that does not affect sea turtle hatching season.

Hub System: A Hub System is a centralized way of making wire connections on a landscape lighting system that minimizes the system's amount of connections and failure points.

Dim-able Lamps: Dim-able lamps can increase and decrease in lumen output.

Light Retrofit: Light Retrofit is the process of taking existing lighting fixtures and relamping them with more efficient LEDs.


Have any questions about landscape lighting terminology? 

If you have any questions regarding outdoor lighting and the terminology used in this industry feel free to contact Beacon Outdoor Lighting and our certified lighting professionals would love to answer any of your questions.


  • We had a wonderful experience from beginning to end with Cory and Beacon Lighting. He was patient, courteous, and professional. Beyond that, Cory was able to take the vague ideas of how we wanted our home to look, and come up with a vision that well exceeded our expectations. The installation was seamless, and the final result is amazing. We absolutely love our new lighting and the extra beauty it brings to our home and landscaping.

    Kristie H.

  • Cory is simply the best! If you are looking for a company to help you with outdoor lighting, you have found the best. We had a great experience with Cory, he is a hard worker, very professional, and is respectful about keeping to a budget. I would give him 6 stars if I could!

    Gary P.

  • We love Cory from Beacon Outdoor Lighting! Very professional, polite, and clean. Our backyard entertainment area is now beautifully lit and the lights highlight our Florida landscape well. Cory also installed lighting on the sides and in front of our house that makes the whole yard feel safer at night. Very competitively priced & much more pleasant to deal with than other contractors we’ve hired in the past. 10/10 would recommend to all my friends!  
    Marina B. 


We are here to answer all of your outdoor lighting questions. We are committed to excellence in all that we do, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Call Us today at


Sign up for our monthlynewsletter for project inspiration, company updates, and more.


© 2020 Beacon Outdoor Lighting, LLC | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Web Design Studio Florida

cross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram