28 Feb 2015

 

Lighting your outdoor area can add security, ambience, and light where it is needed. Lighting outdoor areas requires a different approach to planning indoor lighting, due to the way light is used and seen in the dark of night as opposed to within the confines of a room. Plan what you want from your outdoor lighting and utilise some of these tips to help you on your way to great outdoor lighting.

Lighting your outdoor area can add security, ambience, and light where it is needed. Lighting outdoor areas requires a different approach to planning indoor lighting, due to the way light is used and seen in the dark of night as opposed to within the confines of a room. Plan what you want from your outdoor lighting and utilise some of these tips to help you on your way to great outdoor lighting.

FUNCTION

There are generally three types of lighting based on their function:

  • Overall – Provides illumination for an entire area or space
  • Task – Provides lighting for a specified purpose, like lighting a front door
  • Accent – Draws attention to an object or area.

Depending on what you plan to achieve in your outdoor area, these three types of lighting can be utilised. Beyond this, there are also different types of bulbs, colours, and intensities that can be achieved through your lighting. What style you choose will depend on the function you desire.

PLACEMENT

As stated above, depending on your function, the placement of your lighting can make or break the look of your entire outdoors. Here are some general areas that are popular choices for the placement of lights.

  • Pathways – Having a pathway that is well lit can improve the look of your home and provide a welcoming entrance for visitors. It also helps people to see where they are walking, and can even deter burglars from the entrance areas of your home
  • Entrances – Placing lights at the front or back door and any side access areas can help keep the home secure and also adds safety in the sense that you can see where you going when you leave your home and return to it
  • Driveway – Illuminating your driveway is handy for seeing where to drive and park your car, and also for entering and exiting the vehicle in the dark
  • Steps – Keeping your steps lit means less injuries and more safety for yourself, your family, and your visitors
  • Decks and patios – Lighting these areas is particularly ideal if you do a lot of outdoor entertaining. Lighting these areas means you can continue the entertainment through dusk and into the night, as the area will be well lit
  • Architectural features – If you have a textured wall, having outdoor lights shine on these architectural features can really highlight them. Textures on walls can provide interesting highlights and shadows.

LIGHT POLLUTION

Be sure to choose the right fixtures for the right function. Don’t forget to choose the correct watt of light bulb for the job. Having too much light or poorly installed lighting can create glare, flood out the night sky, and also waste energy (therefore money). To reduce light pollution:

  • Aim lighting carefully and check their positions frequently
  • Minimise the wattage of the bulbs you use and use the minimum amount required. For outdoor areas, low wattage bulbs are often enough to provide enough light
  • Use control methods like dimmers and sensors to only turn lights on when needed, or to reduce lighting if it is a bright night.

SELECTING FOCAL POINTS

During the day, your eye may be drawn to a water feature or pond quite easily. You may have a pathway to these kinds of areas which are easily seen. However at night these areas are harder to see. If you want to add a focal point to your garden at night, lighting can certainly help draw attention to it. Light areas that lead to the focal point and ensure that the right kind of lighting highlights these areas and does not hinder them by making them too bright or causing glare.

INSTALLATION

A lot of lights can be purchased from your local hardware or home improvement store and then installed yourself. Solar lights are particularly easy and can be an affordable choice for those wanting to save a bit of money on electricity bills. It is however important to always seek assistance from a licensed electrician for installations that require a professional. Even if they do not require an electrician for installation, if you’re unsure what to do, it’s best to call an expert.

MAINTENANCE

Be sure to check on your outdoor lights every so often. Check that they are in working order, clean, free of debris and pests such as spiderwebs and wasp nests, and still illuminating the areas they intended to. Not only will you keep your outdoor areas looking good, but you’ll also ensure that you don’t waste money through broken or deteriorating parts.