Lights Out: Tips for Your Home’s Outdoor Lighting

outdoor lighting in the night

When we talk about lighting, we often focus more on interior lights, but the outside needs just as much attention. The importance of good lighting can basically be summed up in three aspects: beauty, security, safety. First off, your exterior lighting should be planned well enough to deter any potential intruders and criminals. Next, proper lighting placement and brightness should ensure safety as you walk around the premises and prevent you from tripping over rocks, steps, and other objects that would otherwise be difficult to see in poorly-lit areas. Lastly, well-planned lighting can be pleasing to look at and isn’t too bright nor too dim. Your aim should be to achieve all three for your home’s exterior lighting.

Knowing the Purposes

It’s important to know the basics of lighting in order to properly plan out your home’s exterior lightings. So first tip: know what purpose your lighting serves. When deciding where to place the lighting and the type of lighting is essential in order for you to maximize and optimize your outdoor lighting. As such, both indoor and outdoor lightings are usually divided into three purposes:

Overall Lighting. As the name suggests, overall lighting focuses on lighting up an entire area. It’s important to not have any “blind spots” that aren’t lit at all as they can be seen as potential weaknesses for thieves and burglars to exploit.

Task Lighting. Task lighting focuses on a certain area in order to accomplish a task — such as pathways and entrances, and your outdoor grill.

Accent Lighting. Accent lighting focuses more on aesthetics and in drawing attention (or accenting) a certain feature such as certain plants on your garden.

Knowing the Right Bulbs

Knowing the different types of bulbs is integral in choosing the best one for a specific purpose. Lights vary by the intensity of its light, the emitted quantity, as well as the color of light, but light bulbs are categorized by the materials they’re made of:

Incandescent. Incandescent light bulbs generally emit a pleasant and oftentimes yellow-hued lights, but they do consume more energy than other bulbs.

Halogen. Halogen lights are technically still incandescent light bulbs, with the difference being the glass envelope and gas used, and they consume less energy.

Fluorescent. These lights come in more color options, last longer, and consume much less energy than the first two.

LED bulbs. LED bulbs are usually the more expensive ones, but they consume the least energy and last very long, making it an economic lighting choice. Some LED lighting can even be customized and adjusted by color and intensity, as well as lighting patterns, which is evident with smartphone controlled Christmas lights (which can actually be customized to fit any other season and event, and not just the holidays) and other “smart lighting” products.

Plan Your Circuits

It’s best to work with an electrician with regards to planning out your circuits. It’s integral that your lights aren’t crammed into a single line or circuit to avoid circuits getting overloaded to avoid dimming, as well as preventing any damage to your lights in case of energy fluctuations.

Less is More

There’s a difference between “well-lit” and “too much lighting”. There’s no need for you to light up your front and backyard like it’s a stadium. Only use what’s necessary, and proper planning is key in doing so. Overdoing it with the lighting won’t only make your house’s exterior too bright and unpleasant to look at, but would also affect your electricity bill. Although it’s important for you to light up ever spot around your home for safety and security reasons, they don’t all have to be bright/high luminance lights.

Think Long-term

It would be quite a hassle to replace or re-arrange your outdoor lighting layout when the seasons change. As such, it’s important to consider the different seasons and the weather conditions and lighting differences that come with it. You should also consider the lightings you place on or near your plants as some of them may grow quicker in the wet seasons and end up covering or obstructing your lighting.


Christmas Lights outside on a House

Both interior and exterior lighting takes a considerable amount of planning (and resources), but it’s clear that good lighting is essential for your home’s safety, security, and beauty, both in and out. So try and take a stroll around your property at night to see what needs to be improved.

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