It's always around this time of the year that I appreciate the design elements of our outdoor lighting scheme. The days are getting shorter and I find that I am turning on our outdoor lights slightly earlier each day. We have both lights for safety and outdoor party lights. The result of decent outdoor lighting is that we can still enjoy our outdoor space into late August and September.
The first thing you need to consider when developing an outdoor lighting scheme is safety. The pathways and the doorways need to be properly illuminated in order to prevent any unexpected stumbles. Properly lit entrance ways including any back alleys that might border your property also increase your level of personal safety. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 60-80 watts of light at every outside door, set of outside steps, or any other place that you might want to go to at night ie alleys or garbage bin areas.
If safety is a concern then you should consider installing security lighting. You should keep it as far away from your living area as possible so it doesn't create a distraction. Task lighting should be used for specific functions like grilling or walking. Accent lighting is focused lighting that can be used to make a certain feature stand out, like an outdoor statue or other lawn object.
If, for example, the front of your home has a quaint garden and fountain, it is best to emphasis these areas with outdoor fixtures which cast the light downward. A footpath is also emphasized for aesthetic appeal and safety through the use of outdoor lighting fixtures. You can utilize outdoor lighting to create the perfect layers of illumination for an outdoor seating area, a bench for stargazing, a porch, deck, or an outdoor patio. Determining the most appropriate outdoor fixtures is best done by considering energy efficiency, color, design, and aesthetic appeal. Each home is different and each homeowner will have a different creative mindset. Some want outdoor lighting fixtures which fit within the monochromatic exterior of their home while others desire complementary colors and designs. There are iron wrought designs for outdoor lighting fixtures, or delicate lamps whose shades direct artificial light downward.
One of the most practical, easiest outdoor lights to use are solar powered lights. These lights use the sun's rays as their power source instead of electricity. Because of this, solar powered lights can be placed just about anywhere in your yard, making them the most practical of the bunch. Just remember to put them in an area where they will have regular exposure to the sun.
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