Outdoor lighting enhances the beauty of your property, makes your home safer and more secure, and increases the number of pleasurable hours you spend outdoors. And it is an investment that pays off handsomely in the value it adds to your home.
For added security, illuminate any side of the house that would otherwise be in shadow. To conserve energy, install a motion- or heat-sensitive control that will switch on the light only if someone approaches that side of the house. An automatic timer can control a portion of your outdoor lights to turn off at a certain hour, while basic security lights can be left on through the night. Another proven safety measure is to use timers on interior lights to make your home look occupied when you’re away.
Dark-Sky Friendly Lighting Tip
In order to prevent unwanted glare from your outdoor lighting, use bulbs with reasonable illumination levels. You may also use full cut-off fixtures to direct the light down towards the ground, where it is needed, rather than being cast to the side or up towards the sky, where it is wasted.
A well-lighted front entrance enables you to greet guests and identify visitors. Wall lanterns on each side of the door will give your home a warm, welcoming look, while assuring the safety of those who enter.
Under a porch or other overhang, you can use recessed, chain-hung, or close-to-ceiling fixtures. A separate rear or side entrance can be lighted with a single wall lantern installed on the keyhole side of the door. To conserve energy, consider post and wall lanterns that use new compact fluorescent or high-intensity discharge light sources such as mercury vapor or high pressure sodium.
For the safety and security of family members using the garage at night, you can install a wall fixture on the face of the garage. Fixtures equipped with high-pressure sodium bulbs will deliver more light per watt and last many times longer than those with incandescent bulbs. In addition, photocells are available that will turn fixtures on at dusk and off at dawn, reducing energy consumption and providing security when you’re away.
For added security, illuminate any side of the house that would otherwise be in shadow. To conserve energy, install a motion- or heat-sensitive control that will switch on the light only if someone approaches that side of the house.
Steps & Pathway Lighting
Steps, paths, and driveways should be illuminated to make sure family members and guests are able to move about easily and safely after dark. You can install path lights or post lanterns or attach lights to the side of the house. Low-level path lights, which spread circular patterns of light, will brighten your walkway, while highlighting nearby flower beds, shrubs, and ground cover. These close-to-the-ground lights are available in fixtures using energy-saving low-voltage current.
Steps, paths, and driveways lights are simple to install and can easily be moved to reflect changes in your landscaping. Low-level path lights can also be used to define the boundaries of long driveways. Bollards, which stand 30 to 36 inches off the ground, also work well. Use shielded fixtures to avoid glare.
Decks, Porches, & Patios
Decks, porches, and patios can be converted into romantic evening retreats by concealing low-voltage mini-lights under steps, railing, or benches.
Another idea is to install a spotlight in the branches of a nearby tree.