What Is Wall Grazing Lighting?

What is Wall Grazing Lighting?

Wall Grazing Lighting For Your Maryland, DC, or Northern Virginia Home


Wall's Pop With A Light Grazing

Did you ever think you could make your walls look like art? Well, you can with the wall grazing lighting tactic. It’s a simple strategy that can have amazing results. You’ll be able to show off the stonework of your house at night because the lighting makes a big difference. Of course, you’ll need the correct wattage bulbs for your outdoor lights. Otherwise, they won’t work as well and may need frequent replacing, if not a new fixture. Keep reading to learn how wall grazing lighting can enhance your home.

Learn more about other types of outdoor lighting >>

a very tall building lit up at night.

How Does Wall Grazing Work?

Wall grazing lighting accentuates textured, vertical surfaces by exaggerating their shadows. The play between light and shadow dramatizes the look of the wall, resulting in an amazing new look. The lights are on the smaller side and you can place them as up-or-downlights, each resulting in a different look and feel. To get the right effect, put the lights within a foot of the surface, otherwise, the shadows won’t have the same effect. This makes them one of many great hardscape lighting ideas! Now let’s go over the best places for them.

a house lit up at night with trees in the background.

Best Places for Wall Grazing

The best walls for grazing have texture and are uneven ones of brick or stone. Flat walls won’t have anything for the light to catch and make shadows, making it wall washing instead of wall grazing (which we cover below). You can also graze pillars and columns for a more Romanesque feel. They may not have the right texture for catching the light, but the effect is still present. Have any statues or carvings? Grazing works perfectly for these too! It draws attention to the feature and gives it a mysterious look. This look won’t happen if you wash the walls in light, so read on to learn the difference.

a group of columns lit up at night.

Wall Grazing vs Wall Washing

They’re like twins where they’re very similar, but one or two things tell them apart. These two lighting styles are similar enough that it can be easy to wash instead of graze. Wall washing will disperse shadows on the wall and make it seem smooth, thus opening up the room. Using a floodlight can help with this effect due to their extremely bright nature. Wall grazing brings out the features of the wall itself. Too much lighting will take you from grazing to washing. If you want to learn how to set up wall grazing lights, continue to the next section.

a white wall with a light shining on it.

How To Setup Landscape Lights For Wall Washing

Do you want to eliminate or create? Smooth, flat walls with no texture will create a wall washing effect. When it comes to wall grazing, it’s all about creating shadows. Lights for wall grazing are put closer to the wall to create shadows while for wall washing they are placed farther out so as to bathe the wall in light. The sweet spot for grazing is about 1′ away. You’ll be able to tell if you’ve crossed the line from grazing to washing by the amount, or lack of, shadows.
an empty parking lot at night with lights on.

Awash More Than Walls in Light

Once you have your walls artistically lit, what’s next? You could use some pendant lights to illuminate an outdoor area such as below a deck. Maybe installing some motion sensing lights would be a good idea for security purposes. Whether it’s for art or security, exterior home lighting works for both! What project is next on your mind?

Learn how motion sensor lights work >>

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