Exterior Lighting

by April Reinhardt
(last updated February 19, 2018)

One of the most dramatic, yet affordable, visual improvements you can make to your home is that of exterior lighting. Not only does exterior lighting provide depth and aesthetic value, it provides a security and safety measure to your property. Exterior lighting can softly light a walking path in your garden, as well as brightly light a dark alley, discouraging would-be intruders.

Since exterior lighting has become so affordable and easy to install, many homeowners can install outdoor lighting without the need of a contractor. The first thing that you should do, however, is to plan where to add lighting, based on your needs and your desired outcome. There are many different types of exterior lighting. Based on whether you want functional versus aesthetic lighting—or a combination of both—you can choose from area and pathway lighting, wall washing, bench and step lighting, down lighting, or shadowing and silhouette lighting. Specific types of exterior lights and lamps include:

  • Solar lights. Solar fixtures need regular exposure to the sun in order to operate correctly, so don't place them into permanently shaded areas. Solar lighting is low maintenance since it requires no other power source than the sun, so you don't have to run any wiring when you install it.
  • Submersible/waterproof lights. Specially made to function in and around fountains, hot tubs, pounds, swimming pools, and docks. When deciding upon underwater lighting, make sure that you only choose waterproof lights.
  • Motion-sensor lights. Since they are activated by movement of mammals within range of the sensor, motion-sensor lighting is an excellent choice for lighting around points of entry of your home. Motion-sensor lighting can light the way for unexpected visitors, ward off trespassers, and light your pathway at nighttime. Quality motion-sensor lighting will have adjustable sensors, allowing you to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor.
  • High-voltage lights. Since high voltage lights are extremely dangerous to work with, always hire a qualified electrician when you want to install them. Keep in mind that you will probably need a separate circuit in your home's electrical system to maintain high voltage lighting.

If you simply want to light the edge of a pathway, patio, or deck, use globe lighting. Low voltage lighting fixtures are great for installing underneath handrails or seating and creates sift, diffused lighting, yet provides enough lighting to see to walk. Floodlights and spotlights can showcase a tree or shrub, or any part of your landscape that you wish to show off. Keep in mind that floodlights cast a wide beam of light, where spotlights provide more focused, narrow beam of light.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Borax can Kill Fleas in Your Home

Preferring a warm and humid environment, fleas make themselves comfortable in homes and their hosts include cats, dogs, ...

Discover More

What is an Energy Star Rating?

The next time you need to buy a major appliance for your home, choose one that carriers the blue-and-white Energy Star ...

Discover More

Installing a Pocket Door

Although pocket door kits include most of the hardware you will need to install your door, you may need to buy a handle. ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Installing a Lamppost in Your Yard

Installing a lamppost in your yard can be a great idea for all kinds of reasons. While you can always hire someone to do ...

Discover More

Preventing Dry Rot

A rather common problem that faces many homes is that of dry rot. This insidious natural process can easily reduce the ...

Discover More

Repairing Sidewalks

A cracked sidewalk can make your entire home look old, and careworn. Luckily, repairing sidewalks is a relatively easy ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 + 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)