Adding landscape lighting to your property can make it inviting while increasing its safety. However, there are many lighting types and design techniques that can make the choices a bit overwhelming.
Depending on whether you are adding lights to already existing structures or planning lighting for a landscape construction project like a new walkway or patio, create a plan to guide you. Your lighting plan can define where you would want to add lights based on how you use your outdoor space.
Once you’ve decided to add landscape lighting around your home, you’ll then have two important decisions to make.
- First, decide what part of your home/yard you’d like to illuminate.
- Second, choose the lighting technique that works best.
Not sure where to start? Read on to learn more.
Areas to Illuminate
Light up your back yard. Many people choose to install lights in their back yard, which discourages robbers who might want to target your home. Use motion sensors or timers so the lights aren’t on all of the time.
Light up your front yard. Once it’s dark, you’ll want to ensure your front yard is safe and welcoming to visitors. Make sure your walkways and front steps have enough light for people who may not be familiar with your home.
Illuminate around your home. Install lights at side and back entrances. These lights will discourage vandals and welcome visitors who choose those entrances.
Illuminate paths or steps. Most homeowners focus on the front steps of their home and forget about pathways. Highlighting your walkways with low path lights reduces the risk of accidents. Don’t forget about step lighting for your deck or patio stairs as well.
Add driveway lights. Driveway lights help when you leave your house in the dark or and people come to visit. You can put these lights on timers or add motion sensors to reduce the cost of electricity.
Landscape Lighting Techniques
Try downlighting. Install lighting off the ground to get maximum exposure of the light over a wide area. For example, putting a flood light high up on your garage will cast a large area of light on your driveway. Another idea is placing a light in a back yard tree to illuminate the area while the kids play or you entertain.
Think about uplighting. Place light near the ground and aim the light toward the sky. This technique helps illuminate a yard feature you want to draw attention to like a fountain or garden. Pointing the lights upwards also creates a unique perspective to catch rain or falling snow.
Experiment with cross lighting. Light up an area or structure of your landscape from both sides. It provides a three-dimensional look that will draw attention to an object such as a door, tree, or statue.
Install Diffused Lighting. This lighting technique calls for placing lights across a wide area on a dim setting. This low-level illumination casts diffused light, which are effective for pathways or flower beds.
Types of Landscape Lights
There are many different types of landscape lights to choose from. The following are just some of your choices:
Wired or solar, path lights are a welcoming addition to your front walkway. These lights help lead people to your door. Solar options are easy to add lights just where you want them.
Deck lights and step lights.
To make your deck more inviting, add deck lights to the structure. The purpose is to offer visibility of the deck surface by creating a boundary. However, they also offer a nice ambiance when entertaining.
Step lights can be used on the steps of the deck or walkway. These are primarily for safety to avoid tripping down or stumbling up the stairs. But they also improve the visual appeal of your steps and stairs.
Spotlights and Flood Lights
Spotslights offer a narrow beam and are used to highlight certain areas of your landscape or home. It’s one beam of light focused on one object or group of objects such as a door, tree, garden, or shrubs. This lighting technique is used to draw interest to focal points in your landscape.
Floodlights illuminate a wider area of your property such as your driveway or backyard. These are less directed and light your property much like you would light a room in your home.
Well lights are recessed fixtures that are partially buried into the ground. Similar to a spotlight, you can direct them towards a specific feature in your yard to make it stand out. These lights are low profile and are perfect for landscaped areas where you want them to remain mostly hidden.
Now that you know the popular areas of landscape to illuminate, have some ideas about lighting techniques and the types of lights available, it’s time to start making some decisions!