Parks and plazas should have a professional plaza lighting design to improve visibility and make it easier to navigate the area at night. To create a more stunning and alluring scenery, light strips are applied to some of the trees or bridges in parks and plazas. More lights, however, do not necessarily equal greater lighting. It is thought that much light paradoxically reduces visibility. Additionally, too much light could result in lighting pollution. In addition to light intensity, illumination period should also be considered. Since the majority of parks and plazas are open from 6 am to 11 pm, some of the managers will switch off the lights when they close.

Lighting for parks and plazas appears to be complicated and laborious, aside from the aforementioned factors. We would like to discuss the 5 fundamental lighting principles for parks and plazas in order to make managing the lighting in parks and plazas easier. To prevent lighting pollution and energy waste, parks and plazas should be lit with the bare minimum of fixtures and levels.

Guidelines for park & plaza lighting(4)
Only place lighting fixtures where they are required

Parks and plazas should only have a little amount of lighting installed, and only in the areas that actually require it. For instance, since roads and streets are outside of the scope of parks and plazas, lighting them is not necessary. To safeguard the environment and wildlife, lighting fixtures shouldn’t be installed in conservation and preservation areas. The habitats of wildlife will be violated by artificial illumination. 

Installing too many lighting fixtures will increase cost and energy consumption in addition to serving the secondary aim of ensuring the capacity of wayfinding. Lighting fixtures ought to be put in place in locations where there are more people and more chances that an accident may happen at night.

Use the least amount of lighting possible at each area

Parks and plazas are settings with exceptionally low ambient light levels, according to the Illumination Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). Parks and plazas have less lighting needs than the majority of commercial buildings. The primary function of park and plaza lighting is to provide residents with direction. High illumination levels will ruin the tranquil environment. Therefore, provide each site with just enough light to make it visible for parks and plazas. Each location’s illumination demands and activity level should be taken into consideration. The recommended illumination is listed in the following table for various areas of parks and plazas.

Lighting Situation Type
Lighting Recommendations
Illumination Criteria (Average)

Walkways and bikeways – high night activity

Relatively uniform lighting for walkways and bikeways,

but not necessarily uniform

0.2 fc

Walkways and bikeways – medium night activity

Lighting for main and secondary walkways and bikeways,

but not necessarily uniform.                             

0.1 fc

Walkways and bikeways – low night activity

Minimal wayfinding lighting for main walkway only

0.1 fc

Plazas and grounds – developed and active area

Uniformity is not critical,

Increase lighting at terrain changes and where accessibility issues require

0.1 fc


Minimal wayfinding lighting for every step

0.1 fc

Stop lighting pollution for people, animals, and plants

Trespass, glare, and artificial sky glow are all examples of lighting pollution. The upward light obscures the night sky, making astronomical observation more challenging. The sidelight caused light trespass by illuminating nearby regions that were not in need of illumination. Glare will impair vision or make it uncomfortable.

In addition to endangering human health, lighting pollution is also bad for plants and animals. The daylight species is the human. Most animals also do this. Lighting has an impact on the biological rhythm of people, plants, and animals.

Artificial lighting devices lengthen the time that is illuminated at night, but excessive lighting will reduce the melatonin that promotes sleep cycles, which is bad for human health. Fish and other animals are drawn to light at night and will often try to get close to it. Due to their ignorance of navigational hazards and danger zones, leaving natural depths poses a threat to their ability to survive. Long-term exposure to artificial lighting may alter a plant’s ability to survive illness and poor weather.

Lighting pollution typically manifests as light that hasn’t been properly protected. Parks and plazas can use full cut-off artificial fixtures because the general lighting is protected and has a small glare zone. Bollard lights are frequently used in parks and plazas because they reduce lighting pollution, are illuminating, and completely meet the requirements for improving visibility and providing directions for visitors. The drawback of bollard lighting is that it is vulnerable to vandalism because of its lower height of about 3.5 feet.

Guidelines for park & plaza lighting
Lighting fixtures must be durable enough to survive the elements

Parks and plazas are located outside, thus lighting fixtures need to be able to survive adverse weather conditions like severe rain or snow. The electrical network may be harmed by the impact of heavy rain on the fixtures and water that seeps into the fixtures. Snow accumulation could cause the fixtures to bow. Lighting fixtures need to be able to manage the exterior environment, which includes the removal of rain, snow, and dust.

Waterproof, dust-proof, anti-corrosion, and mechanical impact protection are some of the safeguards that lighting fixtures have against the elements. IP rating and IK rating are used to categorize the level of protections using numbers. Most often, two numerals followed by IP are used to describe the water and dust protection level. The maximum level of protection against solid matter is level “I,” which is six, while the highest level of protection against water is level “P,” which is eight. Two numbers, IK01, IK02, IK03, IK04, IK05, IK06, IK07, IK08, IK09, and IK10, make up the IK rating. The better the protection, the higher the number.

Use energy- and cost-efficient lighting systems

The two primary components of a lighting system are the light source and the controls.

Light source

A light source should be long-lasting, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient. Following is a comparison of various light sources:

Lamp Type
Incandescent Bulb
Halogen Lamp
Fluorescent Lamp






Efficacy (lm/W)











Indoor, outdoor



Indoor, outdoor

Additional info

High IR radiation

High IR radiation

High UV radiation

Little UV and IR radiation

Hazardous chemical content



Mercury, Neon


Starting time (to full output)



Fast to instant


It is evident from the table that LEDs have a long lifespan of up to 50,000 hours and great effectiveness without the use of dangerous chemicals. As a result, LED lighting fixtures are the best choice for the lighting system in parks and plazas.

Control of the lights

Utilizing lighting control is intended to reduce energy use and power costs. When there is little or no need for lighting or when the park and plazas are closed, the lights are turned off. Timer and motion controls are the two basic types of lighting controls.

  • Timing control: Time control refers to the lighting fixtures turning on or off at specific times determined by the operator of parks and plazas. The lights often turn on automatically at dusk and shut off two hours later. The timer can be adjusted to fit the lighting requirements of parks and plazas.
  • Motion sensor: The lights turn on automatically as people walk by them and turn off again after a short while. At the entrances or the routes with less activity, motion control is applied. The potential for unpleasant on and off lighting circuits is the issue with motion control. Additionally, if visitors haven’t left the places where lights has been detected, the light could be off.

The employees of parks and plazas are freed from manually controlling lighting fixtures via timer and motion control. However, there is disagreement over whether to leave the light on in the late hours. To protect visitors’ safety, most operators believe that the light should be completely turned out once parks and plazas close, directing them elsewhere. Others contend that in order to curb crime and provide illumination for pedestrians, even parks and plazas should be closed.

Parks and plazas free people from their daily grind or homes so they can enjoy nature. Artificial lighting makes it possible for people to unwind at night. But it’s important to remember that because people and nature are interconnected, maintaining good lighting improves the quality of life for everyone—people, animals, and plants. Follow the five lighting principles when it comes to lighting parks and plazas.

Yibai LED Lighting is a reputable manufacturer of LED lighting products. Just feel free to contact us for more information if you have any questions about your park & plaza lighting projects.

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