Outdoor Lighting Basics

Outdoor lighting can improve the overall appeal and feeling of your home. This requires more than just simply putting some lights out. The best outdoor lighting strategies take into consideration your landscaping, focal points, and pathways and how each area should be featured.

Lighting Purpose

Outdoor lighting basics is divided into 3 different functions and different styles of lighting are important for each.

  • Overall Lighting

Overall lighting provides illumination for an entire space. This will cast light over a large area rather than highlighting a specific feature.

  • Task Lighting

Task lighting is used for a specific purpose such as providing light for paths or driveways in order to make the area more functional.

  • Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight focal points of your landscaping. This will be tailored to your landscape and any special features you may have.

Each of these different functions will require a different form of lighting and placement in order to be most effective.

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Lighting Placement

When considering outdoor lighting, placement is an important factor. Let’s look at some of the common landscape lighting areas and how to best feature them.

  • Paths and Driveways

Paths and driveways fall under the task lighting function. This means you need a focused lighting source with downlights or low illumination pavers. These areas should be well lit but should without casting light onto surrounding areas.

  • Entry Ways

The entryways to your house would fall under the overall lighting function. This means that you want a light that isn’t highly focused and casts light over the entire entryway. By placing lights on either side of entry points you create a balance and well-lit area that feels welcoming and safe for both your family and visitors.

  • Decks/Patios

Decks and patios can use both specific task areas and overall lighting functions. If you have an outdoor kitchen area you may want specific task lighting to make this area more usable at night. While using overall lighting to illuminate the whole deck creating ambiance and functionality for the space.

  • Landscape Features

Landscape features can be one of the more fun and impactful lighting options. This uses accent lighting to highlight beautiful aspects of your yard and home. There are different techniques used to highlight these features, such as using a wide beam of light to create a wash over a large area. This creates highlights, shadows, and an interesting visual texture.

Lighting Control

Outdoor lighting basics strategies are different than indoor ones. You have to be very careful with the light strength, direction, and positioning in order to achieve the best results. If done incorrectly, outdoor lighting can wash out the view, create hard glare, and be a waste of time and money.

  • Wattage

Outdoor lighting can easily be too harsh. Lower wattage bulbs will increase the overall aesthetic of your landscape, the sense of welcoming, and safety without being overpowering.

  • Direction

Focusing the direction of light is one of the most important aspects of outdoor lighting. This is best done when it’s dark outside so you can see how it will look at night. Make sure that lights won’t be shining directly into people’s eyes. Typically, using a downcast or widespread light is the best option.

  • Shield Bulbs

In addition to focusing the direction of light, shielding bulbs will help to reduce glare. Putting lights behind bushes or using reflective covers are great ways to use outdoor lighting effectively.

There are many things to consider when adding outdoor lighting; taking into consideration some of these things is a great way to get started. Hiring a professional who knows how to effectively control outdoor lighting while featuring beautiful aspects of your home is an easier way to get amazing results quickly. Contact us with any questions you may have about outdoor lighting techniques and what we can offer for your home.

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