Choosing Outdoor Lighting Can Be Tricky; Be Sure That You Consider Practicality as Well as Aesthetics

Choosing outdoor lighting can be exciting; there are so many styles and finishes to choose from. While you want to be sure that your choices reflect your personal style, you also want the lighting to be functional. Below are some tips that you should keep in mind when shopping for your lighting fixtures.

1. Identify the areas of your yard and house you want to illuminate and then create a lighting plan. Walk the property at night with a flashlight to see how light will interplay with your home’s exterior features and landscaping. As you walk around the property, make note of areas you would use more frequently if they were well lit and identify dark areas that compromise your safety.

2. There are three types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Good lighting design layers all three types. Ambient light provides general illumination setting the ambiance and overall light level in a space. Task and accent lighting contributes to ambient lighting. Task lighting provides enough light to get work done, such as a pendant light above an outdoor grill. It is a secondary source of illumination. Accent lighting is decorative, such as a table lamp, and interplays with ambient and task lighting to reinforce the overall style of a space.

3. There is going to be some math required when it comes to choosing lighting. To determine how much light a space requires, try this quick calculation: multiply the square footage of the area you want to light by 1.5 to get a rough estimate of the total wattage required.

4. To conserve energy and save money on electricity, look for outdoor lightingwith the Energy Star logo. LED bulbs are another energy-efficient option, providing the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs with an energy savings of up to 75 percent. The average life span of a well-made LED light source exceeds 40,000 hours or more than 12 years of average nightly use. 

5. Consider installing lighting controls such as dimmers, motion sensors, or timers that save energy by controlling the amount and use of light. Timers and photocells, which run on solar energy, turn outdoor lights on at dusk and off at dawn. A motion sensor turns on light when it detects motion and turns off automatically after a certain amount of time.

6. Make sure all of your outdoor lighting fixtures are made of the highest quality, weather-resistant materials. Maxim Lighting’s proprietary Vivex material sets a new standard in outdoor fixtures with its non-corrosive, UV resistant finish that performs well in all climates.

7. The ideal size of an outdoor fixture strikes a balance between proportion and light output. A single light fixture for the front door should measure 1/3 the door’s height. When determining the appropriate fixture size, consider how it will look from the street. Typically, a lighting fixture tends to look half its size from the street as it does up close. If illuminating either side of your front door with wall lanterns, the fixtures should measure 1/4 the height of the door. The same rules apply for the garage door. If in doubt, always go larger.


3 Replies to “Choosing Outdoor Lighting Can Be Tricky; Be Sure That You Consider Practicality as Well as Aesthetics”

  1. Always light the walkway. I’ve had a guest trip before when my some of my bulbs were out. You never know, better to be safe than sorry!

  2. We had had a big thunderstorm that afternoon, and there was a huge tree branch in the walkway. Anyway, the point is, definitely be sure you light the walkway (preferably with LED bulbs).

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