Energy-efficient LED lighting technology

Swimming Pool Lighting Design Guide

Specialized Lighting Concepts can assist with any stage of your lighting design to make sure that you not only get the perfect LED or Fibre Optic lighting system for your application, but also that they are positioned in the right places to the get maximum impact.

We can work together with you, your architect or project designer to ensure you have the perfect system to not only meet your requirements, but also matched to the correct power supplies and installed so as to provide the longest possible life with little or no maintenance

Swimming pool lighting can take your pool to the next level in elegance. When pool lighting is done right you can create an ambiance pools without lights lack. Every swimming pool is differs; from a simple geometric shape to an elaborate maze of lagoons and water features. The basic principles of lighting design still remain the same. These key fundamentals of lighting design illustrated within will give you the knowledge and resource to accurately design your swimming pool lighting.

Our Spa Electrics range utilise some of the most powerful and efficient LED dies available. This combined with the key frequency choice has allowed us to produce some of the most effective underwater lights, to create the ambiance you desire. 

Spread of Light

The spread of light will differ between pool lights and how much light reflection you will have. As a general rule for our Spa Electrics range we recommend one LED light (GK/WN/EM) will reach a distance of 10m (32ft) with an effective spread of light up to 5m (16ft) from the source.  Take into consideration this can be affected by the choice of LED colour and the interior surface of the pool. Additionally steps or any obtrusion in line sight of the light source will affect the overall appearance of the lights spread. 

Colour Absorption

effeteffect of colour on pool light choice

The interior colour of the pools surface is an important factor when lighting your pool. As a general rule for this factor the darker the interior colour of the pool, the more lights are required to achieve the same result on a light colour surfaced pool.  A simple equation for this would be 1.5 lights should be installed in a dark pool for every 1 light required for an equivalent light colour pool. 



Swimming Pool Shape Basics

For basic geometric shapes, the following arrangements should be used wherever possible. One LED light has the capacity to light a large surface area but isn’t recommended to only use one light. A single light should only be used in an area less than 6m (19ft) in length and 4m (13ft) in width. This is due to the loss of light spread over a distance. So even though the light will reach the distance the inconsistency of the lights spread will vary. For the layouts below, lights may be added to these designs for dark coloured pool interiors.

Rectangular swimming pool with one light

Single Lights

In smaller sized pools with limited intrusions, it is sufficient to use a single light. Ideally you want to position the light at the end of the pool to illuminate the length of the pool. This will provide a bright and even illumination. 

opposing pool lights







Opposing Lights

Wherever possible, it is always recommended to position lights central, on each narrow end of the pool. This provides the best possible spread of light. By facing the lights towards each other, ensures any obtrusion within the pool which may cast a shadow, will be illuminated by the opposing light.

illuilluminating the width of a pool






Illuminating the width of a pool

In this scenario, as the pool is longer than the maximum distance the light can travel, the lights are placed on the south wall in a row and spaced evenly.  A general rule when positioning lights along one wall, is to allow for one light every 2.5m (8ft) and half the distance in from the sides at each end, 1.25m (4ft). 







Illuminating Steps/ Swim outs/ Ledges

Lighting can become more complex the more organic or obtrusion's you have.  Most pools designed today may have multiple types of steps, swim outs or safety ledges. All of which are designed to increase pool safety and function. It’s important to illuminate the safety aspects at night, while still providing even illumination throughout the entire pool.

A general rule for illuminating these features are to ensure lights are installed at a  maximum depth of 300mm (12in) from the top of the pool, as steps and ledges are usually installed at a depth of 400mm (16in). However this may vary so adapt accordingly. By mounting the lights above the step height ensures the step will be illuminated.

lighting swimming pool swim outs and ledges


Swim outs / Ledges

 In smaller sized pools with a swim out – we advise that you position the light at the opposing end to the swim outs or ledges. If positioned at the correct depth the swim outs or ledge will be safely illuminated.

lighting guide fro pool steps


In mid-sized pools, a common practice is to place steps on the narrow end of the pool.  In these scenarios it’s not possible to install them at the opposing end. For these types of pools it is recommended to install the lights on the wide wall closest to the dwelling. This will still provide even illumination and by installing them at approx. 300mm (12in) will ensure the lights are adequately illuminated.

ledge swim out lighting



Illuminating Ledges in pools over 10m (26ft)

In the case of a ledge running the length of the pool, it is advised to position the lights above the ledge at approx. 300mm (12in). While it will generate a shadow under the ledge it will illuminate the rest of the pool and in most scenarios, the reflected lighting will illuminate below the ledge and reduce the appearance of shadow.






Irregular Pool Shapes

lighting irregular shaped pool

While pool designs can greatly vary, the basic principles will still apply. Illumination from opposing ends will always provide the best results in pools less than 12m (39ft) in length. For Kidney shaped pools as seen below – Consideration should always be taken to ensure the angle of the wall does not exceed 10 – 20 degrees across the diameter of the light as may cause excessive stress on the light when it is fastened to the wall. Smaller lights such as the EM series will be less effected by thins. 
lighting design for l shaped pools

Lighting For L Shaped Pools

When designing for pools with an ‘L’ shape or extension off the main pool, it is always recommended to treat the extension as a separate pool with its own lighting requirements. As an example the pool below at its length would have 4 lights evenly spread long the same wall. However with the ‘L’ shape the lights cannot be evenly spread across the wall. By lighting the length with 3 lights and the short extension of the wall with 2 lights will adequately illuminate the steps and will improve the evenness of the light spread across the pool.  

See our range of LED swimming pool lights here