The right outdoor lighting can bring an almost magical transformation to a house and landscaping at night. Here are some of the ways outdoor lighting can shine a light on a home’s best features.
Function first. At the most basic level, outdoor lighting covers the key points of access to the property. Driveway, front walk, porches, and back patios all need illumination for safe walking after dark. Beyond that, lighting turns toward the aesthetic and your imagination is your guide.
A fantastic face. Well-placed accent lighting in front of a house adds elegance. Upward shining spotlights on trees or architectural features draw the eye to the strongest points of the property. A series of lights along the front walk help both functionally and aesthetically. Well-placed outlets can make holiday lighting easy to install.
Add spotlights on moveable stakes or permanent “well” lights recessed into the ground. To be more energy efficient, use lights that operate off a small solar panel. When darkness falls, the lights come on and gradually draw upon the power stored by day. When hardwiring lights to the electrical system, hire a professional electrician to do the job.
Living large out back. Backyard decks and patios with built-in grills and swimming pools are perfect for relaxing and entertaining. Well-placed lighting connects it all and evokes the sense of a restful retreat. Do the research to design your own plan or hire a landscape architect to turn your backyard into a dreamscape.
Decks can be illuminated high and low, but lighting at the steps is essential to ensure safety. String strands of lights across the backyard under a canopy of tall trees for a festive touch. Or, consider laser lights that cast dozens of points of light upward into the trees. Lighting around a pool is important for safety and looks.
Types of lighting. The styles of fixtures are endless. Choose from among these categories:
- Wall mounted, such as spot lights, lanterns and sconces. These can be connected to motion detectors to enhance security.
- Landscape lights that highlight plants and walkways.
- Pendant lights that typically hang over porches.
- Cove lights that recess under ledges and cabinets for indirect lighting. These can also be used around pools.
Cost savings. When selecting lights, choose Energy Star fixtures that will save on both energy and money. LED bulbs cost more upfront but will last for many years and use up to 75 percent less energy.