Residential Outdoor Lighting Guide

This is an article I found to be very useful. It’s by Andrea Marsh-Acome from AssoictedContent.

External lighting or outdoor lighting, as it is also known, has become more and more popular on residential homes. Outdoor lighting fixtures provide safety and security to your home. A well-designed lighting plan can make a dramatic change to your landscape. You can also maintain your budget with outdoor lighting fixtures by using low voltage outdoor lighting.

External lighting or outdoor lighting, as it is also known, has become more and more popular on residential homes. Outdoor lighting fixtures provide safety and security to your home. A well-designed lighting plan can make a dramatic change to your landscape. You can also maintain your budget with outdoor lighting fixtures by using low voltage outdoor lighting.

Types of outdoor lights

There are many different types of outdoor lighting fixtures available to homeowners. The following are a list of a few different types:

• Uplights– are placed at ground level with the lights pointing up to highlight focal points in the yard. These types of fixtures include spot or flood lights and in-ground features.

• Downlights– are placed above an object and aimed downward to reproduce natural light or to provide for security to an entrance of the home. Homeowners should hide or shield these outdoor lighting fixtures from view to create a natural light. Fixtures of this type are spot and flood lights.

• Backlights– are placed behind statues or plant material to cast a silhouette on a wall. These outdoor lighting fixtures should also be hidden from view. These types of lights include spot or flood lights as well as in-ground fixtures.

• Pathlights– are placed just along sidewalks, driveways or paths in the landscape to guide a person from one location to another. These light fixtures are low to the ground and emit a spreading light.

• Specialty lights– these lights add accent to a space, especially during the evening. Examples of these lights are outdoor string lights, outdoor party lights, patio torches, outdoor post lighting and lights used in underwater settings. The type of outdoor light chosen will depend on what type of effect you are looking for. Many times it is a matter of your personal preference.

Lighting Styles

After choosing what type of residential outdoor lighting you want you should then go on to choose the style of lights. There is a lot of variety with lighting styles. Choosing which style depends on your own personal style and the look you are trying to achieve with the lights. Some styles of lighting are:

• Louvered or tiered– a pagoda style that features tiered hats around the light source that spreads the lights over walkways.

• Recessed– light fixtures that can be buried or mounted to a deck.

• Eyelid or sconce– wall mounted light fixtures that are ideal for walls, steps and post lighting.

• Scoop or mushroom– staked light fixtures that have a scoop or mushroom shaped hat that provides shielded light for lighting of gardens, steps, and paths. Some people like to use one uniform style throughout their lighting scheme; others go for a more eclectic feel and choose several different styles. Outdoor party lights and outdoor string lighting are a good use for party settings and are easy to put up and take down. Outdoor lighting kits are another option for outdoor lights.

Outdoor Lighting Kits

Outdoor lighting kits are inexpensive and give the same feel as a more expensive outdoor lighting package. These low voltage outdoor lighting systems come with light fixtures, lamps, cable, transformer, photocell, and timers.

Construction and Installation of Lighting

After you have chosen the type and style of outdoor lighting, you need to plan for the construction and installation of the lights. It is important for the outdoor lighting fixtures to be chosen based on the landscape, and the size of home. Only consider outdoor lighting after all aspects of landscaping are complete. Select a focal point to build your lighting scheme around. Also look for dark corners and spots in the yard as well as hazardous steps. Sketch your yard on a piece of paper, and then sketch where you would like to place outdoor lights. This will give you an idea of how it will look. Also be prepared with the correct tools for the job. Some of the tools you will need are: lawn edger, wire cutters, shovels, and tape measures. Make sure that a utility company is called to locate underground wires and pipes before installing your lighting system. A permit may also be required by your town before you install our outdoor lighting fixtures. A licensed electrician should be hired to connect all the lighting.

Benefits

Other than aesthetics there are other benefits to outdoor lighting. Your home will be a safer place to walk around at night time. Outdoor lighting also deters criminals from trespassing on your property. Outdoor lighting also makes evening activities and parties outdoors possible. If your house numbers are lit it makes it easier for guests and emergency vehicles to find the location.

Energy Efficiency

Low voltage outdoor lighting systems are inexpensive to operate, easy to install, and are safe. Low voltage lighting is shock free. Solar lighting is another energy efficient way to have outdoor lighting. Solar lighting offers the same styles of lights and offers the same lighting types as regular outdoor lighting. Instead of using wiring, solar lighting uses a photocell that charges a NiCad battery during the day, which then allows the light to turn on at night.

Outdoor lighting is a great way to improve the look of your home and it can fit virtually into anyone’s budget. If you are unsure of how to go about choosing a lighting style and type your local home improvement store or outdoor lighting sale sites can assist you.

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