Figuring Out Lighting

How to Choose Outdoor Lights

No need to stop the fun as the sun goes down just because you have bad or nonexistent lighting. When shopping for outdoor lights, always remember that not all products are created the same. You need to take a few essentials into account before proceeding with a purchase.

Three Types of Lighting

First off, know the three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. To create ambient lighting, you can use wall, post and/or hanging lights. Security lights and pathway lights are two widely used options for task lighting. To add accent lighting, you can go with landscape kits and spotlights.

Calculating Your Purchase

Compute for the total wattage you need for your outdoor area by multiplying its square footage by 1.5. For instance, for an area of 200 square feet, 300 watts is required. To save energy, costs and maintenance effort, LEDs are a great option to the usual halogen or incandescent bulbs.

Planning Ahead

With a simple paper template, determine the exact position and size of a fixture before paying for it. For the front porch or back patio, an outdoor wall light should be around a third of the door’s height. Also make sure to buy sturdy lighting – that is, one that’s made of top quality, weather-resistant materials. For a quick fix for your lawn, get a kit that you can plug right into any outdoor outlet or try solar landscape lighting.

A View from Inside

It’s always good to consider how your outdoor space looks like from inside your home. For example, having the right lighting in a garden that can be seen from your living room, creates a room-expanding effect at night time.

Subdued Light for Entertaining Guests

Your guests won’t like the spotlight when enjoying a nice meal, so keep your lighting soft and warm. So to illuminate your outdoor dining area, you can throw in some pendants and lanterns and those ceiling fans with lights. You can use a dimmer for these fixtures so you can turn it to full during cooking and food prep, and bring it down for eating and relaxing.


Lastly, while outdoor light should offer a desirable ambiance, it should work to secure your home too. Make sure all your entry points are well-illuminated. Every side of your garage door (outer side) could use a wall lantern, or you can install one at the center on top. You can also install wall lanterns on windows, garages and side doors, and spotlights on your eaves around certain shadowy areas for added security.

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