Luxury Pool and Outdoor Living magazine recognized and published an article acknowledging the exceptional talent of Outdoor Lighting Design by Prefered Properties. Michael Gotowala is an experienced landscape designer with a tremendous talent for outdoor lighting.

There is something magical about a poolscape at night. When the sun sets, a different vibe takes over the scene—something romantic, more intriguing. This is one detail that needs proper management because it actually enhances the other amenities found throughout the outdoor space.

Professional landscape lighting experts begin by studying an outdoor space and determining the best method of producing the perfect nighttime experience—starting with safety. Read Article

Turn off your “Yankee Stadium” overhead spotlights and sit out back in the dark by the pool for a moment. Mesmerizing and soul searching, I’m sure. Hoping you decided to do this on a star gazing kind of night. Now that your mind and soul has connected with nature and you can feel the energy of the elements around you it would be a great time to see them.

At first look the shimmer of water on the pool’s surface is the closest of elements to you. Turn the pool lights on and gaze into the depths and floors of the pool. The Pool is lit at night spells OASIS. We are counting on the fixated positions of the pool lights to be shining away from the view from the house and your favorite Outdoor sitting area so that there are no glare backs.

Now that the pool is correctly illuminated, we have a lot to do to illuminate the pool patio, pool house or overhead structures, retaining walls, stairs and risers of great change. The second layer is to cast light into the depths of the landscape with emphasis on contour, tree structure, foliage and form of the focal trees and specimen plants. Find your way down to the grasses, river jack pebbles and ground covers to add supporting light adjacent to the pool patio and walks. Starting to sound like your favorite resort? Yes, exactly we need to add sound and audio to the surrounding pool area, lounging, dining and cooking area. Control your music selections to set the mood with the app on your phone. This is not a timeshare. This is your own resort-like “life share” to enjoy day in and night out. This is your happy place.

The facets to develop this rewarding lifestyle is to design and install lighting for your pool and landscape surrounding the pool.

Here are the strategies in our Outdoor Lighting Design Toolbox that we equip ourselves with to accomplish the task of covering the important elements that are inherit in your backyard. It is these lighting strategies coupled with select fixture types strategically placed to perform harmoniously and shine down on your outdoor pool area.



Inside Pool Lights – Under most conditions the more lights in the pool and around the spa the better. Locate these fixtures so that the source of the fixture location cannot be easily seen or recognizable from the populated area of the patio or living space.

Patio Lights – Low level or surround lighting around the patio perimeter of the pool gives a great sense of the area and allows navigation surrounding the area with relative ease. It is here with these fixture types that they can be seen both during the day and at night time so looking at fixture types and kinds of fixtures would likely require an artistic fixture throwing light and beauty.

Down Lighting – Down lighting from structures or mainly trees amidst the pool and patio space really makes the area shine and illuminate evenly. The resort look is brought home to your own backyard when implementing these types of fixtures. A great combination of up lighting either at the base or halfway up the tree in the same tree as the down lighting fixture high above greatly enhances the look of the pool and patio space. A great form of illuminated completeness.

Moon lighting – Changing the color and temperature of the moon lighting fixtures as they are selectively coming down from the darkened sky is very pleasing visual contrast. Maximum lighting effect with minimum fixtures is the recipe for a great moonlit look.

Overhead structure string Lighting – This festive lighting strategy is done with strands of lighting diodes or bulbs stranded together and strung overhead the entertaining and dining area. These light strands are most easily attached to an overhead pergola or latched onto the house and stretched out into the field to either a tree limb or retractable flag post. Criss crossing and grouping of lights brings happiness and emotion to the setting where people gather most.

Surrounding landscape lighting – The landscaping that is dramatically supporting the pool scape and backyard living space is of the utmost deserving of light. This is accomplished by a combination of lighting direction, location and assorted fixture types to create the all-dramatic scene.

Walls and steps Lighting – Safety and egress of people walking to and from the pool area usually at some point encounters steps, walls and elevations. These types of architectural elements contain lighting and direct vision in ways one would not normally be aware of as long as the areas are well lit. The steps, walkways and wall partitions are the most difficult to install especially if it’s an afterthought. So, if a budget conscious lighting design is in need start with the step lights out of safety and necessity and expand the design from there as resources permit.

Privacy Panel Lighting – Entertaining, dining and cooking outdoors can be a huge hit with friends and family even if the backyard space is small and limited. Many times, the landscape design entails privacy plantings, panels and walls to make cubbies if feel good space. This also limits the surrounding brightness from any angle of light at night so to balance that back out and also create pockets if light in which to function strategic lighting must be in place. The use of deflectors, film, cones and filters on lights and the practice of deflection from vistas where the fixture source is visual requires due diligence of professionalism and experience in the lighting discipline to obtain the best use of the areas.

Water element Lighting – Todays Resort oasis designers are easily readily recognizable as their outdoor living design surrounding the pool is most certainly reacting beyond the pool. Highlights as you enter the pool area are often bringing people and visitors by other elements of the landscape around the pool that create drama and excitement as one approaches the main body of water. These elements can be subtle or largely present both deserving of light. Brightness and attention are partially achieved by the feature itself and by how it looks illuminated at night. These eye-catching elements do support water features both at the ground level and heightened in the landscape so the correct lighting approach is achieved by fixture types. At times these water element features are difficult to complete perfectly because the vista or point of view from the viewer are 360 degrees or from all angles of floor level, patio level and balcony level opportunities.

Feature Lighting – Lighting defines space and clearly depicts interest for the viewer by lighting trends of direction, brightness and definition. So, the more interesting the throw of light falls upon the more interesting or holding it is to the viewer. Featured lighting can be features in lighting on a unique plant, tree, fountain, grove, statue, or even an element in the landscape. These types usually give best contrast and interest even when the pool is closed for the season. Having a few features to illuminate usually equates to good landscape design coupled with good lighting design.

Outdoor Kitchen Lighting – The comparison to the stand-alone grill versus the Outdoor Kitchen is now strides apart as the trend for dining, preparing, conversing and cooking are all self-sustaining outdoors with friends and family. The weather is conducive to being outdoors and if correctly equipped the Outdoor kitchen doubles the space of the indoor kitchen with the only caveat it must be seen, lived in and visual at night. Counter lighting, overhead lighting, feature lighting and utility lighting all play part of this equation.

Recreational Game Lighting – Swimming at night and hanging around the pool on a great weather night is the most memorable and exciting highlight spent with family members and friends. Some side line board games, bean bag toss, mini golf and outdoor chess are the funnest to play with one another but on a side note have to be visible at night. Hence strategic taller high hats, torches, micro well lights and smaller type down lighting fixtures that don’t interfere with the game and or its players are quite essential.

Special Effects Lighting – can be totally askew from the holding pattern of the backyard living and swimming environment. It can be achieved by colorful and color changing lights setting the tone and the mood of the backyard. LED Color RGB Red green blue and color dial wheels makes for endless color combinations and color hues which when thrown onto the foliage of the trees and landscapes makes for varying and lasting effects of scenes forever remembered. This once only available commercial or resort like feature is now made possible by lighting manufacturers and LED lighting fixtures that are capable of throwing more than just white light.

Pool House Interior/Exterior Lighting – The all-encompassing pool house is now truly utilized as a house with the comforts of the living room, part take of the kitchen, functionality of the bathroom, powder room and shower these all-empowering Pool houses captivate the moments spent outdoors with the utmost of resort like feelings. The discerning pool house design has options for pizza ovens, fold away beds, lofts, game room space and even stackable washer and dryers with a doggie day spa. All the uses and design intent of the pool house capsulates user and functionality of each and has to be lit accordingly.

Lighting with Fire – welcome to the most remote resort as far as you could imagine. They all uphold fire and water. Torches, fire pits, fireplaces, fire features, fire bowls and sounds of the forest bring drama to the participants. Fire indeed is used as a subdominant aspect of light.

So, when we are asked for a backyard lighting design and pool lighting design you can most certainly agree that we are looking at many faces and places of the outdoor living space amongst particular tasks to illuminate your world in a most deserving way.


“A rewarding lifestyle shared with family and friends is our signature abound every outdoor pool we build. Lighting in the Pool and around the adjacent areas is a passion of mine and paramount to how you feel, entertain and interact with your backyard space.”


Design is Everything