How to illuminate your outdoor landscaping with outdoor lighting

Now that summer is here, you are probably outside in your yard more often and for longer periods of time. You are enjoying many diverse activities like having cookouts and parties, or you may be just relaxing on the patio or around the pool. You have a beautifully landscaped yard with plenty of varied vegetation that everyone can enjoy during the day, but what about in the evening hours? This is where illumination for your outdoor areas can really make the evening time spent outside more enjoyable and safe.

Different types of outdoor lighting

Depending on your needs, there are many different types of pathway lighting. These lights can be placed in gardens, on pathways and around the exterior of the house to provide safety and illumination. Choose the lights that best fit your lighting needs:

  • Garden lights – Garden lights typically have a canopy top that reflects the light downward. These are generally around 18 to 24 inches tall and are used primarily next to walkways and paths.
  • Bollard lights – Bollard lights illuminate in a 360-degree path that allows you to light pathways and plants at the same time. They are bright and are often used at the beginning of the pathway. Using a solid top will help prevent glare.
  • Downlights – These lights can give focused illumination to specific areas outside. They can be attached to a pole, a tree or the wall. Depending on the height, the illumination will be smaller or greater.
  • Flush lights – Flush lights are set flush within a surface area. They are usually used to provide a soft light that is directed upwards.

How to plan pathway lighting

After you decide you would like added illumination for your outside areas, you need to determine the purpose for this illumination. If you would like more lights close to the house to provide increased security, then some type of upward directed lights or floodlights will be a good choice. If showing off your beautiful landscaping is the purpose, then garden lights and downlights are the way to go.

Everyone loves having parties in the evening outside during the summer, and you should provide just the right lighting for these events. Downlights are perfect for providing all the light you need in all the areas that require it. Lighting pathways will not only provide attractive illumination, it will also provide safety for people traversing the walkways. Any type of lighting will work well with pathways, depending on your preferences.

Placing the pathway lights

Once the type and locations of the lights have been chosen, you should consider how to place the lights. Try to space the lights at least 10 feet apart to prevent having a continuous stream of light. When lighting a pathway, place the lights a little ways behind the edges of the path. Try staggering the lights for a better visual affect and use low wattage bulbs.

You can have either solar-powered or electric-powered lights. Electric lights require a power source that needs to be planned beforehand. You can have your lights plugged into a power socket, use a low-voltage transformer or directly wire the lights to a 120V electric source. As always when using electric wiring, follow the instructions for the installation of the lines and the lights.

If your yard has attractive gardens and walking areas but no one can see them, do they exist? When you have spent time and effort on designing pleasant and appealing outside areas for your home, it is natural to want to showcase the results. And, you will want all your friends and family to enjoy these areas too. Providing lighting will not only frame your plants and walkways, it will also provide the means to entertain outside during the evening.

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