ISSUE 73  |  The Garden Path

Design Sleuth: Hidden Hardscape Lighting

May 20, 2013 5:00 PM

BY Janet Hall

Why shouldn’t garden path lighting be like a nocturnal creature: barely noticeable in the daylight hours but active after the sun goes down?

Above: Thin profile hardscape lights discreetly placed under stair treads. 

Looking for the most discreet outdoor lighting available? Hardscape light strips could be the answer. Most commonly used under stair treads and masonry wall caps to illuminate outdoor paths and stairs, hardscape light strips are remarkably easy to install, often just requiring a quick lift of a stone or a few screws. Extremely versatile, they can be placed under railings, outdoor kitchen areas, and even on raised beds and planters. And, most new fixtures are available with long-lasting, energy-efficient LED lights.

(N.B.: As with most outdoor lighting, it is wise to research the electrical and wiring requirements as a first step.)

Above: A Kichler Design Pro3 LED Hardscape Light is 6.9-inches long and 0.6-inches tall (other sizes available). Available in light bronze (as shown), light brass, and light copper finishes; $74 per bar at Environmental Lights.


Above: Kichler’s Pro LED Hardscape Lights can be mounted directly onto stair treads, benches, patios, and wall caps.  They are also available with built-in brackets or with separate mounting brackets depending on your application.

Above: Another option. Made in the US of non-corrosive materials, hardscape lighting fixtures from Integral Lighting offer a limited lifetime warranty and are super easy to install with a bracket that is held in place by the weight of the hardscape materials. Fixtures are available in 4-, 6-, and 18-inch lengths. The newer LED models are not only energy efficient, but also an especially demure size at only .5-inch high. 

Above: A Integral Lighting IL6 LED Light measures 6-inches wide and .5-inches tall. available in 13 powder-coated aluminum finishes from brick red to “mud” to blend with your hardscape materials, or with a choice of a stainless, brass, or copper faceplate; $89.95 (add $12 for stainless; $24 for brass or copper) at Budding Co.

 No pavers on your path? See our earlier feature, 10 Easy Pieces: Pathway Lighting for more ideas.