A Complete Guide To Planning & Purchasing Outdoor Lighting For Your Home In Houston
When designing lighting for an outdoor space, it is important to not only think about how it will look but also how it will function. The information below will help you purchase light fixtures that not only enhance the appearance of your home but also help you get more out of your outdoor space.
Three Benefits Of Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting provides a number of advantages. Understanding these advantages will help you come up with an effective plan for your lighting needs. Here are three benefits that this type of lighting provides:
1. Create A More Beautiful Home
Outdoor lighting can have a dramatic impact on how attractive your home is from the street. Small touches like path lights or post lights can go a long way toward making your home seem more inviting. To get the best results, choose more than one area to install the lighting. Creating layers of lighting like this add depth and character to your outdoor space.
2. Add A Sense Of Cohesion To Your Home’s Exterior
Carrying the same style of lighting throughout your entire landscape can help unify the space, creating a consistent look that enhances the appearance of your home.
3. Create A Safer, More Secure Home
When designed correctly, a good outdoor lighting plan will enhance your home’s security and make your outdoor area safer after dark.
Selecting Lighting For Your Outdoor Space
Outdoor lighting comes in a wide range of styles, each suited to different applications. Some of the most popular options are listed below.
Suitable Locations: Decks And Porches, Outdoor Patios, Entrances, Near Garage Doors
These light fixtures are designed with a flat back that allows them to be mounted directly on a wall. They are typically mounted near entryways or in other areas where extra light is required. With many attractive design options available, these sturdy lights are ideal for lighting up the exterior of your home.
Ceiling-Mounted Lights & Pendant Lights
Suitable Locations: Porches Or Patios With Roofs
These outdoor lights are designed to be mounted on a ceiling, making them a great choice for porches or patios with roofs. Even though they can withstand damp conditions, they shouldn’t be mounted in locations where they are exposed to the rain.
Pier Mount Or Post Lights
Suitable Locations: At The End Of Sidewalks Or Driveways, Decks, Patios
As you might guess from their name, a post light is designed to be attached to the top of a post. These lights are typically rated for wet locations, meaning that they can be placed in areas that get direct rain. That means that they can be installed in unprotected areas like at the front of the driveway or near the edge of the sidewalk.
Each light fixture has unique post requirements in terms of both size and style. When shopping, always read the post requirements carefully.
Pier mount lights are similar to post lights. The primary difference is that they are meant to be installed on top of walls or columns rather than posts. In some cases, you can purchase adapters for post lights that allow them to be installed on walls or columns instead of standard posts.
Suitable Locations: Near Sidewalks Or Garages, Close To Entrances, In Out-Of-The-Way Areas Like Alleys
To enhance your home’s security and to create a safer outdoor environment, security lights with built-in motion sensors are the way to go. When activated, these lights flood the entire area with light, helping to drive any potential intruders away.
From a safety standpoint, lights with motion sensors can also be beneficial. For instance, mounting a light that turns on automatically near an entryway makes it easier to see where you are going so you are less likely to trip.
Suitable Locations: Flowerbeds, Gardens, Close To Water Features, Near Trees And Shrubs
Low-voltage landscape lights operate independently from your other outdoor lighting. Path lights, spotlights, and floodlights can be placed in strategic locations around your yard to enhance your landscaping, drawing attention to key focal points in your yard.
Choosing Outdoor Lighting That Is Sized Correctly
Wall-Mounted Lights For Front Porches
The wall light that is installed closest to your front door is usually one of the primary focal points after dark. With so much at stake, it is important to choose a light that is sized correctly. Here are some tips that should help:
- If you are installing a single light fixture, choose a fixture that measures about a third of the total height of your front door.
- If you are installing two separate light fixtures on either side of the door, you can choose fixtures that are much smaller. Typically, fixtures that measure about a quarter of the door’s height are appropriate, although you may want to go with slightly bigger light fixtures if you have double doors on the front of your home.
- One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is choosing a light fixture for their entryway that is undersized.
- If you find a light fixture that you like, try cutting out a piece of paper in the same size and shape. Tape it to the wall next to your door. Then walk out to the front sidewalk or street to see if the size is appropriate.
For overhead lights, the size of the light fixture should be proportional to the size of the space.
Hanging lights should only be used in areas where there is enough overhead clearance.
In spaces where the ceilings are lower, flush-mount ceiling lights are a better option.
Pier Mount or Post Lights
The size of the fixture usually depends on how many light bulbs it uses.
Post-mounted lights typically measure about 7 feet (84 inches) tall.
Avoid Adding Too Much Lighting
When it comes to outdoor lighting, less is more. Low wattage bulbs are usually the best choice for outdoor spaces. Avoid exceptionally bright bulbs since they can be too harsh when used outside the home. Our outdoor light fixtures either come with their own bulbs or include helpful recommendations regarding the best type of bulbs to use.
Overnight & Security Lighting
Evaluate the outside of your home after the sun goes down. Are there any areas that are poorly lit? If so, installing sturdy lights could deter thieves or intruders.
Lights with motion sensors automatically turn on when anything moves near them. This makes them the perfect choice for security lighting. They also are beneficial when mounted near walkways since they make it easier to see where you are going.
Dusk-to-dawn lighting usually comes equipped with photosensors that are designed to detect how light or dark it is outside. This allows the lights to automatically turn themselves on or off, depending on whether it is day or night. The benefit of using lights like these is that you don’t have to think about turning them on or off yourself.
You can also find dusk to dawn lights that incorporate motion sensors in their design. Fixtures with these features come in a wide range of styles for outdoor spaces.
Choosing Lighting That Is Properly Rated For The Location
Light fixtures for outdoor use are typically either rated for damp or wet locations. It is important to understand how these ratings differ.
Wet location light fixtures can be used in areas where they will be exposed directly to rain or other types of inclement weather. Most wall-mounted lights, motion sensor lights, and post lights are wet rated.
Damp location light fixtures, on the other hand, should be used in areas where they are not directly exposed to rain or other types of moisture. Examples of these types of lights include hanging lights or ceiling lights.