5 Exterior Lighting Dos and Don’ts

BY Dec, 14 2015
Reading Time: 2 minutes
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Lighting Dos and Donts

Outdoor lighting for your home serves three major purposes. It illuminates the way for arriving guests, enhances the aesthetics of a property and deters thieves. These differing needs demand a balanced and well-conceived approach to outdoor lighting. In other words, you have to start with a good plan. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider as you light the exterior of your home.

Don’t Install Outdoor Lighting Without Foresight

As with most projects, significant preparation must take place before you can begin installing exterior lights. Lighting plans must establish where to run electric lines, determine lighting types and intensity and account for future foliage growth. Outdoor lighting is often like landscaping; it may need to be installed in stages, so some consideration about the task now can ensure the proper steps are taken in the future. It could even be helpful to come up with multiple plans in case some options aren’t available at a given time or place.

Do Leave the 20th Century Behind

Don’t ignore smart home potential. Programmable timers will save you money, but they only represent a portion of the possibilities for automation. Did you know you can control your outdoor lighting from anywhere in the world via an app on your smartphone? Even if you’re not smartphone savvy just yet, it’s still a good idea to install lighting amenable to a future smart home system.

Don’t Restrict Yourself to White Light

Mix it up! The front yard, along with your home’s facade, is a canvas upon which you can creatively paint with light. For example, try using colored lighting that complements and enhances the palette for your home’s siding and trim. Use the idea that warm tones advance (and cool tones recede) to add depth and dimension to your own residential nightscape. Research tips like the fact that blue light is popular on foliage, while warm tones can focus attention on your home’s entrance.

Read More: How Far Apart Should Your Downspouts be on Your Gutter System?

Do Seek Balance

Stay away from overusing light. While limited lighting could cause your guests to take an unplanned detour into the shrubs or intruders to find your home more tempting than those down the street, too much lighting could cause just as many issues. You could end up distracting the neighbors with night lighting that shines as bright as the sun, which means they probably won’t be too happy with you. Plus, you’ll waste electricity and money in the long run. Though it’s all too easy to get carried away in an effort to show off the home you worked so hard to purchase, modest lighting is almost always preferable.

Don’t Misdirect Lighting

Know which spots need to be illuminated. When you stick a spotlight in the front yard as part of your holiday display, it’s easy to point it precisely where you wish to cast its light. In contrast, permanent outdoor lighting may not be as flexible. Make sure lights are properly directed, and use glare guards where possible. For instance, driveway lighting should cast light downward away from the eyes of approaching motorists.

Your home is probably one of your most prized possessions, so we understand your desire protect it from intruders and show it off whenever you get the chance. Let us know in the comments how you transformed your dark yard into a highlighted display that even makes the Jones jealous.

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