4 Lessons Learned: Lighting

Tips for Buying Outdoor Lights

No need to stop the fun as the sun goes down just because you have bad or nonexistent lighting. When buying outdoor lights, always bear in mind that those products you’ll find are not made equal. You have to consider a few basic points before actually paying for anything.

Three Types of Lighting

First of all, get acquainted with the three key lighting types – ambient, task and accent lighting. You can achieve ambient lighting with post lights, wall lights and hanging lights. Security lights and pathway lights are two widely used options for task lighting. Accent lighting can come with spotlights and landscape kits.

Computing for Your Requirements

Multiply your outdoor area’s square footage by 1.5 and you have a rough estimate of the total wattage it requires. For instance, for an area of 200 square feet, 300 watts is required. For cheaper, more energy-efficient, and maintenance-free lighting, go for LEDs over halogen or incandescent bulbs.

Planning Ahead

Before buying any fixture, make sure you’ve checked size and position with the help of a simple paper template. When installing an outdoor wall light at the front porch or the back patio, make sure the fixture’s light is about one-third of the door’s. Also make sure to buy sturdy lighting – that is, one that’s made of top quality, weather-resistant materials. If you’re looking for a lawn quick fix, buy one of those kits that you just plug into an outdoor outlet, or, if available, solar landscape lighting also works.

A View from Inside

It’s always good to consider how your outdoor space looks like from inside your home. For instance, the right lighting in a garden that is visible from your dining room, creates an illusion of a bigger room at night.

Subtle Light for Entertaining

Your guests won’t like the spotlight when enjoying a nice meal, so keep your lighting soft and warm. Imagine pendants and ceiling fans with light kits. You’d like to add a dimmer as well so you can set the lights to full during food prep and cooking, and low for eating and socializing.


Finally, take note that outdoor lighting shouldn’t only give you great ambiance but security as well. Make sure all your entry points are well-illuminated. Hang a wall lantern on both sides of your garage door outside or just one in the middle right above. 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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