Architect Stephen Gardiner said, “The interior of the house personifies the private world, the exterior of it is part of the outside world.” Your home needs the proper exterior lighting to make your little piece of the world shine bright.
Let’s face it. Without exterior lighting, it would be hard for people to find their way to your home. Finding the right exterior lighting in a variety of circumstances is essential. Getting expert help may be necessary.
Types of exterior lighting
It’s vital to evaluate what you want your outdoor lighting to do. Are you looking to highlight certain aspects of your yard? Do you want to increase safety on your property? You can’t just choose any exterior lighting option. The right design and style is also important to reflect your unique taste and make a good first impression.
Your home is your biggest asset and you want people to see all the things you’ve done to make it look fantastic, right? There are numerous exterior lighting options to help you do just that.
Landscape lighting – features like plants, flowers, lawn fixtures and gardens are special and deserving of attention. After all, you probably put a lot of work into them. You can use back lights or low-voltage lighting options for an understated but creative way to emphasize your landscaping efforts.
Motion detector lights – many people opt for motion sensor lights on their property. They provide both security and convenience. In addition, they help you save on energy and lightbulbs by giving you light only when needed and then turning off if not being used.
Holiday lights – this year, don’t be a Scrooge. Get into the spirit with some heartwarming holiday decorations. Your display can be small and tasteful or you can go for the full Clark Griswold (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) treatment.
Walkway lighting – for safety, it’s important for visitors and residents to be able to see where they are going when on your property. You can find many attractive options for pathway lighting that will safely bring guests and family to your door in the most appealing way possible. To ensure effectiveness, these work best when placed no more than eight feet apart.
Step lights – when guiding people to your door, don’t forget about steps. They can be easy to miss on dark nights and can be the cause of nasty falls and accidents if not properly lit. There are many varieties of recessed step lights which will provide both beauty and confidence that your visitors can navigate stairways with ease.
Exterior sconces – these wall mounted lights can be placed just about anywhere on your home, such as above an entryway, garage or patio. They are ideal for creating shadows or drawing attention to architectural aspects of your home, such as stone work and textural elements. Additionally, you will find them especially helpful when searching for your keys or making it easier to see the faces of visitors at your door.
String lights – this option has become popular for transforming any outdoor space into a night time wonderland. It’s a relatively simple way to add ambiance and fun to barbecues, pool parties and other outside evening festivities. They come in lots of styles and are quite affordable for all budgets.
Flood lights – when searching for bright lights to illuminate a broad area, flood lights are a perfect choice. Since LED flood lights don’t emanate heat, they perform well in low areas and in extreme weather, which can be great for areas like driveways and sidewalks.
Solar lights – you can’t control the sunrise or sunshine, but you can use them to your advantage for controlling the lighting around the outside of your home. With a photocell, your lights will come on automatically when it gets dark and turn off in the day time.
What you need to know before choosing exterior lighting
- Look for the Energy Star label
Exterior lighting should be affordable as well as functional. If you find that your energy bill increases significantly from your lighting choices, you won’t turn them on. This defeats the purpose. One way to avoid this problem is to choose lighting that is both attractive and environmentally friendly. When you see the Energy Star label, you know that the lighting will give you the best possible experience while using the latest energy-saving technology. And you will change bulbs less often.
- What style suits your home and way of life?
Remember, your exterior lighting choices should reflect both your architecture and your individuality. You can find styles that are rustic or industrial. Or perhaps your tastes are more whimsical and modern. There are also numerous materials to consider, such as bronze, pewter, copper and nickel. No matter what you choose, it should match your unique style as well as other fixtures around your home like your mailbox or doorknobs.
- Maintenance is important
To work properly, you can’t just install exterior lighting and forget about it. Don’t select lighting options that you can’t maintain. Waterproof connectors should be used and replacing burned out bulbs is a must. In addition, for elaborate systems, you should have them checked periodically by a contractor or lighting professional to look for signs of corrosion or damage from rodents and insects.
- All bulbs are not created equal
While the number of exterior lighting fixtures is vital in determining how much light shines on and around your property, so is the type of lightbulbs you use. Some of the choices include fluorescent, halogen, CFL, LED and incandescent. You should also be aware that some lighting styles require specially shaped bulbs designed exclusively to fit. It’s essential to decide what kind of atmosphere you are trying to produce (warm and inviting for entertaining, or strong and bright for security) and to choose the right type of lightbulb for your desired effect. Also, you should think about how your lighting choices will affect the surrounding area. You don’t want to contribute to light pollution in your community or disturb neighbors.
- How can you find an experienced contractor to help with installation?
You must keep in mind that lighting involves electricity. As such, installing new exterior lighting can be dangerous. This is not something you should attempt as a DIY project unless you really know what you’re doing. If you are at all unsure, call in the professionals.