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How to Choose the Right Outdoor Lighting


Mix Home Security Lights with Landscape Illumination for the Right Match

© 2012 by Haliegh Adams; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

A solar-powered landscape light; photo courtesy Childzy


Outdoor lighting can be a great way to enhance the appearance of a home or business. When setting up outdoor lighting, it’s important to understand how different design elements can impact the overall appearance of a home.

The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how to design outdoor lighting.

Lighting for Illumination and Security

Outdoor lighting should serve two purposes for a home: illumination and security. However, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Many people use flood lights for security at night.

However, flood lights often cast an unnatural glow and can make a home look like a prison. Most flood lights are designed for people living inside a home. They cast light from the home towards the area surrounding a home.

Use Ambient Lighting for a Visual Effect

Ambient lighting, on the other hand, is used to enhance the appearance of gardens, homes and the outdoor features around a home like landscaping and water features.

Included are pathway lights, driveway lights, feature, lights and more. In most cases, these types of lights provide minimal illumination; their main function is to accent nature and to create a mood.

They also don’t provide a lot of security for homeowners in high risk areas, although given two relatively identical homes (as in today’s cookie-cutter subdivisions), a burglar will pass by the home with landscape lighting and hit the one without it.

That said, they can be a great way to show off certain features that surround a home and they are a great way to invest in home equity. Before making the investment, clear it with your homeowner’s association.

Mix and Match Exterior Illumination

A motion sensor hologen security light; photo © Kelly Smith
It’s a good idea to design dual lighting systems for a home. Flood lights and high intensity halogen lights can be used for home security. These can be purchased as motion-sensor units so they only come on when you need them, providing a “startle factor”.

Decorative lights, on the other hand, can be used to enhance the appearance of elements around a home. It is fine to put these either on an AM/PM off/on timer or light sensor. These lights are not as much of a power drain as halogen spots.

By combining different elements, it’s possible to have the convenience of security lighting and the beauty of aesthetic lighting.

Many homeowners choose to incorporate solar lighting into their home designs. While solar lighting will require an initial up front cost for installation and purchase, it can be a great way to reduce electrical costs and promote a green environment.

The Downside of Solar Lighting

However, solar lighting can have several potential downsides. Solar lights require batteries for energy storage. While modern batteries are manufactured to last for a long time, they will still require replacement after a few years.

This can make them expensive for homes with lots of exterior lights. In addition, solar lights must be in direct sunlight during the day.

Because of this, it’s not possible to install solar lights near the edge of a home or under a tree. What does this mean? In most cases, they are a good idea, but usually are considered supplemental illumination.

Lighting technology has evolved in many exciting ways over the past few decades. By incorporating different design elements into the lighting for a home, it’s possible to create a great appearance for many homes and gardens.

If you are interested in finding some lighting for your outdoor area, consider Brodwax Lighting for factory direct pricing.

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