The Homeowner’s Guide To Outdoor Lighting


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Outdoor lighting has many purposes. It brightens your home’s exterior, improves visibility, and minimizes residential vulnerabilities. The appropriate lighting system also enhances your outdoor living space’s convenience, comfort, and functionality. Yet, choosing the best lights for your property can be challenging with so many options available. Luckily, we’ve put together a mini-guide to make things easier. 

Purpose Or Type of Lighting

Outdoor lighting systems serve many purposes. Defining why you want outdoor lights can help you decide which products will best accommodate those needs. The most common types include ceiling, wall, post, landscape, and security lights. 

  • Ceiling Lighting – Ceiling lights are installed in outdoor spaces with overhead coverings such as the front or back porch. They cast down light improving visibility within a small area. You can opt for flush or pendant-mounted lighting fixtures depending on your style preferences. 
  • Wall Lighting – Wall lights are fixtures installed on your home’s exterior walls. They can illuminate upward or downward (or both) to increase visibility while enhancing safety and security. Some of the most popular wall lighting fixtures include lanterns and scones, which can be placed on or near your front door, back porch, swimming pools, and walkways to boost your home’s curb appeal. 
  • Post Lighting – Posts lights are fixtures attached to tall poles and installed on porches, fences, walkways, and around outdoor entertainment spaces. Depending on the size and bulb type, they can cast light in small or large areas. 
  • Landscape Lighting – Landscape lighting is ideal for accenting outdoor terrains like lawns, trees, shrubs, and gardens. The most common landscape lighting options are walkway, spotlight, low-profile posts, and string lights. 
  • Security Lighting – As the name suggests, security lights are ideal for increasing safety and security. Some of the most common types of outdoor security lighting include flood and motion detection lights. They illuminate large areas when movement is detected. 

Outdoor Lighting Materials

The next consideration when shopping for outdoor lighting systems is the materials. It’s essential to evaluate the materials to ensure your chosen lights will serve their purpose while maintaining their aesthetic appeal. Always look for outdoor lighting systems made from quality materials like marine-grade plastic or metal and coated with a UV-resistant and non-corrosive coating. 

You can make your search easier by looking for manufacturer ratings. Lighting systems with a UL damp location rating are ideal for fully or partially covered fixtures. A wet location rating means they’re suitable for open outdoor spaces. Lastly, solid aluminum or marine-grade resin ratings best suit beach properties where environmental elements like water, salt, heat, and humidity are common. 

Bulb Type

As you browse outdoor lights, determine the bulb requirements. Most fixtures work with LED, incandescent, and fluorescent bulbs. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each bulb type before making a decision. 

Incandescent lighting systems, for example, are the most common, more affordable, and provide an adequate amount of warm light. However, they’re not as efficient and require frequent replacement. LED lights may cost more, but they’re eco-friendly, emit vibrant light, and are easier to maintain. 

Power Source

There’s no denying that installing outdoor lights will impact your energy bill. When narrowing down your options, the power level and source are essential factors to consider. Outdoor lighting products typically fall into a few categories: low-voltage, high-voltage, and solar. 

 Low and high-voltage lighting systems are connected to your home’s electrical system, while solar lights are powered by the sun, which is ideal if you prefer a more energy-efficient home

Installation Method

Another factor to consider when shopping for outdoor lighting is the installation method. If you prefer the DIY approach, you’ll want to opt for products that are user-friendly and require minimal experience to install. Larger outdoor lighting systems should always be installed by a professional. Although it will cost more to hire a contractor, it’s the most practical way to ensure your safety and satisfaction. 

Style And Features

Now comes the fun part of shopping for outdoor lighting systems, the style, and the features. Ideally, you want to select fixtures that complement each other and the overall aesthetics of your home’s exterior. Consider unique features to add to the ambiance, like changing colors or special effects (flickering, pulsating, strobe, etc.). 

Outdoor lighting is more than an accessory to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your residence. It’s an investment that will ultimately improve your outdoor living space’s safety, security, and functionality of your outdoor living space. Hopefully, the outdoor lighting mini-guide will help you purchase products that suit your budget, needs, and preferences. 


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