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-lit 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.
For the safety and security of family members using the garage at night, you can install a wall fixture above or to either side of the garage doors. Motion detectors light up obscure spots when someone passes by. 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 from home.
For added security, illuminate any side of the house that would otherwise be in shadow. Spotlights installed on your eaves will accomplish this, or, for a more dramatic look, consider ground lights pointed up to graze your walls. To conserve energy, install a sensor that will switch on the light only at night or upon motion. If using uplighting, aim the fixtures so that the light is captured by your eaves to lessen light pollution.
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. 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, 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.
Pools and fountains illuminated with underwater lighting provide beauty and safety for evening entertaining or swimming. Low-voltage and LED lighting are popular sources for ambient pool lighting, or install fiber-optic lighting to create a starry background in your pool’s floor and around its edges. Floating and solar-powered lights are also available. Be sure to check with your local building authorities for safety regulations before installing new lighting systems in existing pools.