Outdoor Lighting 101

Outdoor lighting design may seem like a daunting process, so consider the following preliminary questions before choosing the perfect outdoor lighting for your home. 

What will you use the outdoor lighting for?

For safety and security. Line your walkways and driveway with path lights. While visually quelling your fears, path lights also serve as helpful guides for guests who may need assistance and guidance towards the front door. Flood lights are also commonly used for illuminating large areas of outdoor space that usually is kept in the dark. While flood lights are not usually considered decorative for outdoor lighting, they are extremely beneficial, can run on motion sensors, and are usually installed inconspicuously and out of sight. 
Decorative and accent outdoor lighting creates inviting and intimate outdoor gathering or entry spaces. For a welcoming entry porch, consider a hanging lantern while an oversized chandelier could transform a gazebo into an outdoor dining room. Wall sconces and lanterns can flank entry doors or line walkways and yards. Marking an entry or arrival, lamp posts and other post lighting can also be used for hanging holiday wreaths or marking house numbers. 
Landscape lighting is probably the key design feature that often gets neglected when designing a yard. Landscape lighting not only highlights well designed features, but it also conceals those features that may want to be concealed. Well and spot lights shine directly on a specimen or accent tree or architectural features while walkway lighting will serenely guide you through the garden and landscape including hat, mushroom and pagoda. For decks and staircases, use surface mount lighting directly to the structure for visibility as well as for the soft cascading effect of light. 

What are the power options for outdoor lighting?

Solar-powered lights are perfect for spaces that don’t have regular access to electricity or do not require heavy lights. It’s convenient that there is no wiring, but it’s important that these lights are used in an area that regularly receives heavy doses of sunlight and preferably in areas that will not suffer too heavily without light. Otherwise have a backup light source. 
Line voltage and low voltage outdoor lighting rely on more heavily installed wiring and electrical set ups. These lights will function to the same level as interior lights, so it’s more common to use these for flood lights or other security lights, as well as entry lights or other areas relying on these light fixtures as primary light sources. 

What additional accessories or specialty lighting may you need?

For seasonal parties or festive gatherings, there is also a wide range of specialty lighting including string lights to hang on your house or drape on a pergola or outdoor structure. Torches are fun and add an exotic effect to any party. Additional features include self timers, motion sensors, and of course environmentally friendly lighting options.

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