5 Essential Outdoor Lighting Basics
It’s easy to recognize good outdoor lighting when you see it. When the sun goes down, the house looks welcoming – there are no dark shadows, and entrances and the driveway are well-lit, secure and beautiful.
You can create the same welcoming ambiance for your home with a good outdoor lighting plan. Start with a list of your goals for lighting your home’s exterior. Here is a list of five outdoor lighting basics to consider.
Make sure your entrances and paths are well-lit and shadow-free to avoid falls at night. This includes your front entrance, garden paths, and side doors. Stairs should be included in your plan, since they are a primary cause of injury.
There are a number of ways to light stairs:
Individual step lights that are mounted on a post or stair railing
Flexible LED strip lighting, cut to size for each step
Standalone bollards or post lights
Depending on the type of stairs – deck, stone, concrete – any of these types of lighting could be appropriate, and would greatly increase the safety of navigating stairways at night.
The security and the safety of outdoor lighting might seem to be similar goals, but security also includes when outdoor lights come on. One approach is to add motion sensors to some of your outdoor lighting, so lights turn on when someone enters your property. This includes animals, so you may want to be selective if a bedroom overlooks an area with frequent nocturnal activity.
Generally, it’s fine to turn on the porch or front light at dusk, and to leave it on until bedtime. Turning off a light consistently indicates the home is in use and someone is present.
Another option is to use timers to turn outdoor lights on and off on a schedule. Remember, though, that using a timer set to a consistent schedule when you’re away may not be the best way to secure your home. Smart criminals observe a home before deciding whether or not to act, so it may be better to set an irregular schedule or even skip nights occasionally.
Some outdoor lighting manufacturers now offer smart lighting apps that allow you to control the lighting remotely even when you’re away. Our lighting experts are trained in the latest Smart Lighting products and are happy to show you what’s available.
3. Yard or garden features
The fun part of your lighting plan is deciding which yard or garden features are good candidates for lighting. Do you have a striking tree or an espaliered wall to show off? Subtle uplighting will highlight these features. Outdoor sculptures or terraced gardens are beautiful at night with the addition of lighting.
Water features offer a special opportunity for lighting. The play of water and light at night is magical, and today’s new waterproof LED products are a fantastic way to add drama and beauty to your swimming pool, outdoor pond, fountain or other water feature. Our lighting experts can guide you in selecting subtle but effective feature lighting.
With spring weather, or if you live in a warm weather climate, you and your family will likely spend more time outdoors. Our busy lives make every chance to relax even more important, so make sure your outdoor living space is comfortable and well-lit when you have time to enjoy it.
An outdoor chandelier adds a touch of elegance to any space – and creates a soft ambiance for evening parties or family dinners. Include a dimming system in your plan so you can increase the lighting level for a party or dim it for a romantic evening.
Make your time outside even more comfortable during hot weather with an outdoor ceiling fan. Talk to our fan experts and learn why it’s important to have a weather-resistant or weatherproof damp- or wet-rated ceiling fan for your outdoor spaces. From contemporary metallic single-blade styles to 2019 versions of classic Panama or vintage looks, discover your favorite ceiling fan style.
If you love the idea of increasing the security and beauty of your outdoor space with lighting, but don’t like the thought of a higher electric bill, think again. Today’s outdoor lighting can be incredibly energy efficient if you invest in LED bulbs or fixtures. The savings from upgrading your outdoor lighting to LED is tremendous: In one year, one LED bulb has an average annual energy cost of $1.00 – compared with $4.80 for a traditional incandescent bulb. Multiply that by the number of bulbs in your home, and that’s a significant figure.
LED bulbs used to be far more expensive, but research and competition have resulted in lower prices, so the time has never been better to make the change to LED.
Complete your outdoor lighting plan with a simple sketch of your home and start to browse to select your lights or contact one of professionals for the best advice and product selection. We know light!
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