Outdoor lighting serves two important and distinct purposes. It adds curb appeal by highlighting outdoor and architectural elements while also creating a warm welcome for guests. More importantly, it provides safety and security around your home, yard, and other outdoor spaces. There are many options to choose from when planning the outdoor lighting design of your home. Let’s go over 5 ideas for your outdoor lighting design.
Idea #1: Path Lights
Shown: Kichler 15310AZT6 Path & Spread in Textured Architectural Bronze
If you don’t already have path lights- get them! Path lights frame your pathway or driveway by illuminating them with light. These lights are installed close to ground level on a short post and are topped with a diffuser that directs light downwards. People often make the common mistake of lining too many path lights too close together. A general rule of thumb is to space lights every six to eight feet apart. If you’re still not confident that you have the spacing right, don’t hesitate to consult with a design expert. Proper illumination leading up to your home reduces the risk of tripping on things that may not be seen otherwise.
Idea #2: Wall Sconces
Shown: Troy Lighting B6382 3 Light Wall Sconce
One of the best accessories for your front door is an outdoor wall sconce. With a little bit of planning, an outdoor wall light can enhance the look of your home and create a warm welcome for friends and family. Outdoor sconces that are hung by a doorway can be hung on just one side of the door or they can be hung as a pair on either side. Consult with a designer to determine what option is best for your home. When shopping for a sconce, keep in mind that fixtures should be about one-third the height of the door. If this size seems too large, stop and consider that sconces will appear smaller from a distance and scaling up is usually a good idea in this case. Lighting at the door of your home allows you to properly determine a friend or visitor from a stranger or intruder.
Idea #3: Pendant Lights
Shown: Maxim Lighting 54374CH Bahama 1 Light LED Pendant
One way to impress guests and create a more inviting outdoor space is to adorn your home with an outdoor pendant. Outdoor pendants can be hung on your front porch, back deck, veranda or in a gazebo to add a level of sophistication and warmth to your outdoor space. Outdoor pendants are specifically designed to withstand the elements so you don’t have to worry about losing your brand new light to a winter storm. Something important to consider is the UL Listing of your light. A fixture rated as a damp location light should only be used in fully protected locations that are not directly exposed to water such as fully covered patios and porches. Fixtures that are rated as wet rated are safe to hang over open air patios and decks as well as outdoor walkways and dining areas.
Idea # 4: Post / Pier Mount Lights
Shown: Troy Lighting P2015CI Henry Street 3 Light Post Lantern in Colonial Iron
Post and pier mount lights are installed above a post, fence or column and serve a similar purpose as path lights in that they are used to illuminate a path or walkway. Their height is significantly greater then path lights; they have 360 degrees of light coverage so they work more efficiently at illuminating large stretches of space that you might find around a pool area, garden or driveway. To customize the height or look of your post light, shop for post heads and posts separately. Be sure to look for posts and lamps that are wet rated/waterproof. Remember, post and pier lights usually diffuse a large amount of light; don’t make the common mistake of placing too many post lights around your yard!
Idea #5: Flood / Security / Motion Sensor Lights
Shown: Vaxcel Lighting T0103 Omega Dualux 3 Light Motion Sensor Security Light in Bronze
If safety is a main concern, you definitely want to arm your home with the right lights for the job. Instead of being aesthetically pleasing, these lights can help ensure your safety and security in a number of ways. Floodlights and security lights cast a strong, direct light over an area such as a driveway to increase maximum visibility. Shop for lights that are shaped to diffuse light over the desired space. Lights that are equipped with a motion sensors will only turn on with the detection of movement. They are both cost efficient and effective at thwarting unwanted animals or people from your property. Be sure to install these lights at a high point such as the top of a wall or roof to effectively spread light and diminish shadowy spots.
GoingLighting Design Tip
If you’re looking to streamline the outdoor lighting style of your home, be sure the search complete collections for different versions of the fixture you like. Usually outdoor collections will feature lights for multiple areas of your lawn or yard.