Outdoor Lighting Brightens Up

More choices abound in lighting up your home's outdoor areas.
Elegant Traditional Entryway

Elegant Traditional Entryway

Front door of house with lights at night

Photo by: Siri Stafford

Siri Stafford

By: Marcia Jedd

Safety is a key reason to install an outdoor lighting system, but more and more, aesthetics are sparking market demand. Here are four main kinds of outdoor lighting to get exactly the outdoor lighting effects you want:

  • Uplighting: Fixtures aimed upward for accent and drama
  • Downlighting: Safety-oriented; used to illuminate large areas or define a pathway
  • Zonal lighting: Highlighting individual objects and plants
  • Moonlighting: A natural effect, evoking light cast by a full moon. Fixtures are often mounted in trees; mix of uplighting and downlighting.

As outdoor lighting has become more important to homeowners, new products and even new design "rules" have emerged:

  • Know what you want; thousands of fixture styles and a broad range of illuminations are available today.
  • Remember that natural looking, less intrusive fixtures are in. Think soft bronzes and refined styling.
  • Hide fixtures so they’re not visible during the day; rocks and plants help.
  • Leave coils of wire around fixtures so lighting can be adjustable and flexible.
  • Find a focal point such as a path or a beautiful tree to highlight.
  • Space walkway lights 5 to 8 feet apart.
  • Be sure buried wiring is protected from chewing animals.

The days of floodlights on the corners of the home are gone. With all the choices available and decisions to be made, consider tapping into the expertise of a landscape architect, lighting designer or other lighting specialists to make a big impact for relatively little money. And with their help, the job will be safe and professional.

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