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Elijah Hernandez
Elijah Hernandez

Outdoor Lighting Guide

Outdoor lighting is, as the name implies, designed for use outside, or on the exterior of a building or in an outdoor space. Because they are exposed to the elements day and night, Outdoor lights must be and resistant to weather. Outdoor lighting, especially outdoor motion sensor lights, can also enhance security.

Outdoor Lighting Guide

First we'll take a tour through the types of outdoor lighting, then we'll look at where to position your exterior lights for best effect. We'll also cover flood lights and outdoor motion-sensor lights and give you outdoor lighting ideas to improve the security of your home or business with adequate exterior light fixtures.

Perhaps the most common type of outdoor lighting, there are several major types of outdoor light fixtures, designed mainly around how they are mounted to surfaces. These weather-resistant light fixtures light the outside of your house itself, emphasizing architectural detail and lighting entryways and driveways.

Outdoor light fixtures include outdoor wall lights, outdoor post lights and outdoor hanging lights or ceiling-mounted lights. Free-standing outdoor lamps and outdoor string lights are also available to make your outdoor lighting more entertaining.

A popular form of outdoor lighting is to mount a light onto the exterior walls of your home as outdoor house lights. Ideally you'll place outdoor lights in key areas close to where you'll be moving or operating at night, such as porch lights or garage lighting.

Exterior wall lights can be placed next to a porch, in front of a garage, at a side door, or on a rear wall depending on how you access and move around the building. You'll want adequate lighting near any pathway that you'll need to navigate safely in the dark.

Outdoor porch lights or outdoor wall sconces should be mounted near to shoulder height. This will provide a downward light to help you with your keys etc while keeping direct glare out of your eyes.

Sometimes called 'coach' lights due to the kind of lanterns used on horse-drawn coaches, these outdoor wall lights light up the steps and entry-way and nearby path leading to the entrance, to provide safety and help you to see what you're doing.

Exterior garage door lights work great to greet you when you return home in the dark and also light the larger driveway area for safety. Usually garage lights may be positioned too far from your front door to adequately light that area, so a combination of garage lighting and porch lighting works well.

Exterior garage lighting ideas are plenty- for a double garage or multiple garages, place your outdoor wall sconces at the outermost pillars of the garage to cover the whole area. Or alternatively opt for a flood light or motion sensor outdoor light above the garage to light the whole area any time someone drives up.

Larger buildings, such as with a row of garages or a wider home, may need more than one outdoor light fixture to adequately light the area. Backyard lights can include flood lights, motion lights, wall lanterns, landscape lighting or outdoor post lights.

If your home or business has a porch or ceiling covering part of the outside area, or perhaps a covered patio, then outdoor hanging lights become an option. The outdoor lights can be attached to the underside of the ceiling.

The classic lamp post is well recognized as an established form of exterior lighting. You can position a light post almost anywhere on your property. Modern outdoor post light fixtures can take make forms, from the classic lamp post style to modern, angular and solar designs.

The outdoor pole lights are mounted so that the lantern is higher off the ground, so that some of its light will shine downwards onto the surrounding area. Lamp post lights are useful for lighting larger areas and generally should be positioned further from the main building.

Solar post lights are becoming popular now, given that they are usually out in the open exposed to daylight. They can recharge in the day and provide light at night, saving on electric bills. With a solar lamp post equipped with long-lasting LED light bulbs, your outdoor post lights provide an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent lighting.

Remember also that since outdoor post lights emit light in all directions, they can best light pathways on the inside of a curve or where they might be able to serve more than one purpose.

While outdoor lighting can be mounted to a wall, or on top of a post, they can also be adapted to other surfaces. For example an outdoor post lantern can also be mounted on top of a wall using a pier-mount adapter.

You can also install a post of some nature and secure a wall-mounted lantern onto the side of the post. The main thing to keep in mind is that outdoor light fixtures, except for solar powered lights, need an electricity source and so some kind of cable must run from the light fixture to the building.

A large variety of landscape lighting is also available, designed to be positioned into the ground and to rise up a short distance to light the surrounding area. They serve more of an aesthetic purpose than a security one. As such, these lights tend to be less bright than full-scale light fixtures and so you may need at least a few of them to light a specific pathway or driveway.

String lights are a series of small lanterns or light bulbs which are positioned along a string or cord. More than just holiday lights, they can be "strung" between two posts, walls or trees for example. Outdoor string lights are designed for use in outdoor weather and provide waterproof string lights for use on a patio, deck or in a backyard. Similar to Christmas string lights, they usually plug into a regular electrical outlet.

Light ropes and strings can bring life to your party. Party lights can be hung between your building and a post on your deck, or perhaps from a tree or between trees in your yard. Particularly popular are outdoor LED string lights, which are energy-efficient, low cost and last a long time. In the evening or at night, these fun outdoor party lights can bring life to your deck or patio party.

You can also often join more than one set of string lighting together to form a chain, to a certain safe limit, allowing you to extend the outdoor string lighting further. Outdoor string lights create a festive, almost magical look to any outdoor space.

An alternative way to light and ventilate an outside space is to use an outdoor ceiling fan. If you have a rear covered patio for example where you barbecue and hold garden parties, you might want to invest in an outdoor ceiling fan with lights so that you can light the area and also help to keep cool in summer.

Outdoor fans are also useful in an exterior building or outhouse, such as a barn or work shed. Heat can build up quickly in less-insulated buildings and an outdoor ceiling fan can help to circulate cool air and keep things fresh.

Outdoor lamps are designed to be weather-resistant and waterproof, with insulated electrical parts and carefully designed bodies. Note that outdoor lamps, like all outdoor lighting may accumulate dirt, debris, cobwebs, mold etc over time so may need to be cleaned occasionally.

In addition to outdoor lamps, there are now starting to be a few outdoor light fixtures similar to indoor fixtures, such as outdoor chandeliers, outdoor wall sconces, etc. These are styled similar to indoor light fixtures.

Outdoor lamps are designed to be especially weather and water proof, with insulated electrical parts and carefully designed bodies that deflect water and resist weather. Note that outdoor lamps may accumulate dirt, debris, cobwebs, mold etc over time so may need to be cleaned occasionally.

In addition to outdoor lamps, there are now starting to be a few outdoor light fixtures similar to indoor fixtures, such as outdoor chandeliers, outdoor wall sconces, etc. These are styled similar to indoor light fixtures.

Where you can position your outdoor light fixtures depends partly on how they are designed to be mounted. Wall-mounted exterior lights generally must be mounted to a flat vertical surface. Whether this is a wall or some kind of wooden post or fence is up to you, but the surface must be strong enough to support the weight of the light fixture.

Locating outdoor lights generally means either you'll position lights on a vertical wall - typically your building - on a post or wall-top somewhere. When you need to also provide light away from walls, either using a post light or some kind of landscape, path or driveway lights are an option. Remember to light the critical areas where you'll be walking at night or moving the car.

Consider also the range or spread of the light emitted from the outside light fixture. If the fixture is designed to radiate light in all directions, consider placing it in-between two pathway areas to serve both areas, one on either side. It's more important to light areas where people will be active at night, rather than to try to light the entire landscape. Landscape lighting can be used for decorative purposes, to emphasize natural features or landscaping elements.

If you have a larger porch or a wraparound porch, consider placing additional porch lights along its length, or invest in extra ceiling lights to light the whole area. You can also light your porch from above using a ceiling light, provided your porch is covered and there is enough headroom. Exterior entry lights are helpful for finding keys, and lighting the way for you and your guests.

How you use patio light fixtures depends on whether the patio is covered. If your patio has a roof then you can use flush-mounted outdoor lights or hanging lights. If your patio does not have a cover, then you'll need to opt for a combination of wall lights, post lights and perhaps some outdoor lamps.

Outdoor patio lights include light fixtures, lamps and also landscape lights. You can position smaller lights around the perimeter of the patio. String lights are also an option. If the patio has a seating area, consider using an outdoor lamp or lantern next to the chairs. 041b061a72


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