The Ultimate Guide to Area & Landscape Lighting Safety

Landscape and outdoor public area lighting serve two primary purposes: aesthetics and safety.

In this article, ADNLITE focuses on how to design and install outdoor public lighting to ensure pedestrian safety effectively.

Ensuring Sufficient Uniformity and Brightness

1-15lux Projects Examples

The image referenced outlines the lighting standards for secondary roads.

Roads in landscape areas, which mainly include access roads and footpaths, do not require high luminance levels; 15 lux or below is generally sufficient.

0.15lux under the big moon

In fact, human eyes are quite sensitive; even under full moon conditions, when ground illuminance is only about 0.22 lux, the roads can feel adequately bright for navigation.

The key is to achieve sufficient brightness without excessive overspending, which would lead to energy wastage. Uniformity is crucial as inconsistent lighting can lead to accidents.

Scientifically and Rationally Positioning Lights

Positioning lights should ideally be calculated using illuminance software such as Dialux for optimal placement.

However, there are also empirical methods that can be used in preliminary designs:

lawn light 2
  • Courtyard Lights Placement: An experiential method for arranging courtyard lights is to set the spacing at 3 to 5 times the height of the light. Courtyard lights are typically required to be over 3.5m in height, resulting in a spacing of about 10.5m to 17m.
  • Determining Fixture Layout: The specific arrangement of light fixtures should be tailored to each unique scenario. Generally, courtyard lights are recommended for driveways and heavily trafficked walkways. For less frequented paths, lawn lights may be sufficient.

Here are some additional points to keep in mind:

1. End-of-Road Lighting

T type cross road

At T-shaped intersections, lighting should be installed at the end of the road to highlight the road’s form and structure, ensuring that the road’s end is clearly visible to approaching drivers and pedestrians.

2. Curved Sections

Curved road
  • Wide Curves (Radius ≥ 1000m): Lighting for curved road sections with a radius of 1000 meters or more can be treated similarly to straight road sections.
  • Tight Curves (Radius < 1000m): For curves with a radius less than 1000 meters, lights should be placed along the outer side of the curve, with spacing between lights at 50% to 70% of the spacing used in straight sections. The overhang length should also be reduced accordingly. On reverse curves, it’s advisable to fix lights on one side, adding additional fixtures on the outside of the curve to address visibility obstacles.

3. Corners

As depicted in the referenced illustration, the correct placement of lights at corners is crucial. Positioning lights as shown in example B is correct, whereas the arrangement in example A is incorrect. Proper positioning ensures visibility without obstructing the view or creating hazardous glare.

4. Pedestrian Crosswalks

Lamps occupying the street
  • Average Horizontal Illuminance: Should not be less than 1.5 times that of the road where the crosswalk is located.
  • Vertical Illuminance: Provide vertical illuminance in the direction facing oncoming traffic to ensure pedestrians are visible.
  • Additional Lighting: It’s advisable to add extra lights at crosswalks. Conventional road lighting fixtures used in vehicular traffic lanes can also be placed near crosswalks, or directional narrow-beam lights can be installed above the crosswalks. Care should be taken to avoid causing glare to pedestrians and drivers, which can be mitigated by using dedicated glare shields or adjusting the tilt angle of the fixtures.

5. Fixture Placement

Fixtures should not obstruct pathways or impede traffic flow. Ensuring lights are placed in a manner that does not intrude into walkways or driving lanes is essential for maintaining safe and accessible routes.

Road Lighting Focus

The primary focus of road lighting is on the roads and bridges themselves, not the landscape features along the roadside. Decorative lighting along the road should not be overly bright, and the colors should not change rapidly, as this can distract drivers and affect pedestrians’ visibility. It can also make it harder to identify obstacles on the road.

During holidays, when decorations are exceptionally bright, drivers should proceed more slowly and with greater caution.

Situations where floodlights illuminate the grass or trees instead of the road surface should be avoided.

Lawn lights emitting light from both sides

If it’s necessary to light both the roadway and adjacent grassy areas, consider using low bollard lights that emit light from both sides.

Recreational Area Lighting Safety

This refers to areas where people spend extended periods engaging in sports, leisure, and play, such as outdoor areas of shopping centers, parks, hotels, children’s playgrounds, basketball courts, skateboard areas, and community recreational spaces. For standards on sports area lighting, refer to “2024 Comprehensive Guide To Stadium Lighting: Illuminating The Future.”

Lighting in public activity

For lighting in squares and other public activity areas, night-time lighting standards suggest:

  • Green Spaces: ≥3lx
  • Pedestrian Walkways: 5-10lx
  • Municipal Squares: 15-25lx
  • Traffic Plazas, Commercial and Industrial Areas: 10-20lx
Children's activity venue

Children’s activity areas require soft, non-glaring brightness. Avoid using spotlights and floodlights that can cause harsh shadows and glare.

Waterfront Illumination Safety

Safety around water bodies, especially in areas designed for close interaction with water such as waterfront platforms, is crucial. Proper lighting can significantly enhance safety by delineating the boundary between safe shallow areas and potentially dangerous deeper waters.

Place lamps on the edge of shallow water
  • Shallow Areas: Install lighting fixtures at the edge of shallow water zones to prevent accidental falls into the water.
  • Deep Water Zones: First, place lights along the water’s edge to deter people from getting too close. Second, illuminate the water surface itself to highlight the presence and extent of deeper areas, thereby alerting people to safety risks.
Waterside installation of lighting fixtures

Security Lighting

Security lighting is pivotal for the identification of individuals and vehicles, serving dual purposes: facial recognition by pedestrians and image capture by surveillance cameras.

Remote trail lighting
  • Facial Recognition: For areas like commercial walkways, a standard exists for facial recognition from a distance of 4 meters. Sidewalk lighting, therefore, includes semi-cylindrical illumination requirements aimed at facial identification.
  • Enhanced Illumination: In more secluded pathways, intensifying lighting at intersections, curves, and turns can improve visibility. This could involve installing decorative plant lights, sculpture lights, landscape feature lights, or simply erecting a light pole.

Landscape Feature Lighting Safety

Landscape lighting safety

Valuable landscape features such as ancient trees, notable trees, sculptures, and shaped stones require thoughtful illumination. This not only protects the objects from damage but also prevents harm from crossing protective barriers.

  • Tree Lighting: It’s important to avoid close-range lighting for ancient and notable trees to prevent any potential harm.

Biological Lighting Safety

The impact of street lights on plants

The impact of lighting on wildlife, including birds, fish, and even crops near rural roads, needs careful consideration to prevent unintended consequences.

  • Birds: Intense ground lighting can disorient birds, trapping them between buildings and leading to fatal collisions.
  • Fish: Fish are attracted to light, and coastal areas sometimes use bright lights for fishing. Prolonged exposure to artificial light can disturb fish sleep patterns and inhibit growth.
  • Crops: It’s not uncommon for rice plants under streetlights to grow leaves without producing rice panicles due to the altered light conditions.


Designing outdoor public lighting for landscape areas requires a balance between creating a visually appealing environment and ensuring the safety of those who navigate these spaces. By prioritizing uniformity, brightness, and strategic fixture placement, landscapes can be safely illuminated for enjoyment and security. For professional advice and customized lighting solutions that cater to both aesthetic and safety needs, consider partnering with experienced manufacturers like ADNLITE. Visit ADNLITE for more insights into creating safe and beautiful outdoor lighting designs.