How To Choose The Right Outdoor Lighting For Your Yard

Follow our top 5 tips to choose the right outdoor lighting to fit your home & lifestyle.

Plan & Design your Outdoor Lighting

Planning your outdoor lighting is much easier than indoor lighting because your eyes need less light outside than inside to be able to see patterns, shapes, and shadows. The easiest way to know where you need to install lighting and how much lighting you need in different areas is to walk around your back and front yard at night and imagine what it should look like to be functional.

However, outdoor lighting isn’t only about function, it should also create an aesthetic appeal. Here is everything you need to know about choosing and installing outdoor lights that will combine these two characteristics.

Positioning the light properly

Regardless of the style of your house, positioning the light is the first thing you should think about, and it is a similar process for most homes. Most of the outdoor lighting comes in packages that include matching fixtures for different locations throughout the yard. An average backyard will need to have lights positioned at the following locations:

  • Front door (large wall-mounted fixture)
  • Front porch (ceiling flush fixture)
  • Side entrance (second largest size wall-mount)
  • Garage door (second largest size wall-mount)
  • Rear door (small wall fixture)
  • Post mount (different sizes, if multiple)
  • Pathways (downlights)
  • Gazebos or pergolas (optional).

This is a basic guide you should adapt to your home, depending on whether it is low-rise or multi-story and on its style.

Match the lighting to the style of your home

It is essential to match the style of the fixtures to the architecture of your home and the color palette of the exterior with the finishes on the fixtures.

The style of your home often depends on the city you live in. For example, if you are situated in Berkley, California, your house is most likely constructed as a Californian bungalow (one or one and a half story house with sloping roof and eaves), and if your home is in Sydney, it can be a Victorian-style property (two-story terraced house).

Think about your location

It is great to have unique outdoor lighting, but you need to consider the overall style in your neighborhood, and try to fit in, if only a little bit.

Also, keep in mind the climate of your location. Some lights can malfunction due to too low or too high temperatures.

Generally, LED lights are known to be much more resistant to cold than CFLs, while CFLs are more comfortable in warmer areas. Calling an emergency electrician in Sydney or any other bigger city is never a problem since they can arrive in a short timeframe, but this may vary with some smaller towns.


How much creativity is allowed?

Lately, the web is crowded with articles about DIY lighting solutions for the back and front yard, but the question is how much creativity is just too much?

Your main goal should be functionality, and if your house’s architecture allows it, you can try out some bold or zany solutions. String lights, lanterns, and candles can find their place in pergolas and dining areas, but they shouldn’t be included in the areas where you need more visibility, such as pathways and front deck.

Think about energy-efficiency

Some of the outdoor light fixtures are often left on throughout the night for security, and in doing so, they are wasting a huge amount of energy. In addition to that, they are contributing to light pollution. To save energy and money, you need to invest in energy-efficient lighting. Fortunately, LED lamps, solar-powered lights, and CFLs are currently so popular that you don’t even have to make compromises when it comes to style.

Key Takeaway

Outdoor lighting is essential for the property’s overall appeal. It also makes your house safer and enhances its appearance. Although it is rather simple to choose the fixtures and position them, there are still many things to consider, including complementing the house’s architecture and color palette and saving energy. Hopefully, these tips will help you to make those things clear.


Blog Contributor: Will Sandford

Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger, and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator website.

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