How to Shop for Outdoor Lights
You can’t let your poor or nonexistent outdoor lighting keep you from having fun past sundown. When you go outdoor light shopping, never forget that the market is flooded with different products that are not created equal. You have to consider a few basic points before actually paying for anything.
Three Types of Lighting
First off, know the three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. Examples of fixtures that produce ambient lighting are hanging lights and post lights. Two common choices for task lighting are pathway lights and deck lights. Accent lighting can come with spotlights and landscape kits.
Calculating Your Purchase
Multiply your outdoor area’s square footage by 1.5 and you have a rough estimate of the total wattage it requires. For instance, for an area of 200 square feet, 300 watts is required. For cheaper, more energy-efficient, and maintenance-free lighting, go for LEDs over halogen or incandescent bulbs.
Making a Plan
Before buying any fixture, make sure you’ve checked size and position with the help of a simple paper template. When installing an outdoor wall light at the front porch or the back patio, make sure the fixture’s light is about one-third of the door’s. Also make sure to buy sturdy lighting – that is, one that’s made of top quality, weather-resistant materials. One of those kits that could be plugged into an outdoor outlet makes a good quick fix for your lawn, and so is solar landscape lighting.
A View from Inside
Knowing how your outdoor areas – patio, garden, pathway, etc. – look like from inside your home can give you good insight when buying lights. For example, if you have the right lights in your porch that can be seen from your living room, this room can feel much bigger at night than it really is.
Soft Light for Entertaining
Your guests won’t likely appreciate the spotlight when enjoying their outdoor meal, so stick to soft glow lighting. So the best choices for your outdoor dining area would be pendants, outdoor lanterns and other along those lines. You can use a dimmer for these fixtures so you can turn it to full during cooking and food prep, and bring it down for eating and relaxing.
Finally, take note that outdoor lighting shouldn’t only give you great ambiance but security as well. Keep all entry points well-lit. Every side of your garage door (outer side) could use a wall lantern, or you can install one at the center on top. Offering more security to your home are spotlights, which you can have at certain points around your eaves (for shadowy spots in your property) as well as wall lanterns for side doors, windows and the like.