Design Tips for Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting has a big impact on your home’s appeal after dark. It creates a soft, welcoming atmosphere for guest and provides additional safety for your home. Outdoor lighting is affordable, easy to install, and available in a variety of beautiful styles and finishes to complement the style and character of your home.

When choosing outdoor fixtures, it’s important to think about landscape structures and features like patios, arbors and pergolas, walkways and pathways, swimming pools and spas, outdoor ponds and fountains, as well as trees, shrubs and garden areas in the yard. Before you purchase your fixtures, think about the amount of light you need, as well as proper height and light spread.

Pathway and Step Lighting

Pathway and step lighting are important features in your landscape. They provide a safe foot path for you and guests after dark. Pathway fixtures along the driveway, front walkway, and back pathway to the pool or spa will prevent accidents and injuries. Here are some helpful tips for installation:

* When lighting a pathway, stagger the lights along each side of the walkway, rather than placing them all on one side.

* Space lights about three feet apart to avoid a “runway effect” that’s boring and uninviting.

* Lights that are too bright will detract from the beauty of hardscaped materials, as well as trees, shrubs and garden areas.

* Don’t use lights that shine upward along walkways and pathways. They will create glare for and minimize safety for anyone using the walkway.

*Step lights placed on stair risers should be bright enough to throw proper light on the steps for safety.

Deck and Patio Lighting

Lighting for your deck or patio should provide good, overall illumination for outdoor activities after dark. You should also consider areas where you need specific task lighting, such as near a grill or outdoor kitchen, dining areas, and seating areas.

* Handrails – If your deck or patio has handrails, place fixtures under the handrails to prevent glare and cast a soft, downward glow between the balusters.

* Post Caps – If you want to install lights under post caps, keep them out of eye level when you’re sitting down to prevent blinding glare and obstructed views of the landscape.

When installing outdoor lighting that is not solar, you may need to hire an electrician for wiring and outdoor outlets. For best results, find a contractor who is qualified in electrical work.

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