When you buy your first house, you get very excited about all the interior decorating you have to do. Choosing colors and buying pieces of home furniture like a couch or computer desk can be fun. Few homeowners anticipate that after the inside is taken care of, you will also have to decorate or appoint the outside of your house. There is landscaping, gardening, pool maintenance, gutter maintenance, roof maintenance, painting, and outdoor lighting to consider. You want your home to be attractive both during the day and during nighttime hours so outdoor lighting is very important. You need it to look tasteful and understated during daylight and shine enough light in the right directions at night. There are many different kinds of outdoor lighting to consider and not every home will use every kind. You will need to figure out what outdoor lighting schemes are most appropriate for your landscaping plan and for your home.
Outdoor Garden and Accent Lighting
If you are lucky enough to have a green thumb or are wealthy enough to hire a landscaping company, then you probably have an outdoor garden and some landscaped areas of your lawn that you would want to accent. Outdoor accent lighting is soft lighting that highlights a pretty area of your landscaping or garden for the passer by. It is meant to be a decoration and is not bright enough to light your path or illuminate people in your yard or garden. Most of the time outdoor light fixtures for the garden are decorative during the day. Outdoor garden lighting may be hidden in a small statue or garden rock. You may also find outdoor garden lighting in the form of fireflies or butterflies on sticks in the ground. Because this light does not need to be very eliminating and is just meant as an accent, solar lights are appropriate. The light shed by the LEDs in outdoor solar lighting is soft and not too bright. It also has a slightly bluish glow that makes it a nice outdoor accent light.
Outdoor Step and Pathway Lighting
Another application for solar lights outdoors is pathway lighting. If people visit your home at night, it is nice to have some soft lighting showing them the path to your front door. In addition, there might be some outdoor step lighting to accentuate the stairs leading up to your front porch. Outdoor pathway lighting is another outdoor lighting application that does not have to be especially bright. You want just enough light so that someone can see your path or walkway. If the lights are too bright they could make it difficult for someone to walk on the path because they will be blinded by the bright light. Usually outdoor pathway lighting takes the form of small lantern style lights that stick into the ground around your path. If you use traditional lights rather than solar lights, you will have to run the cords along the pathway until you can get to an outlet. Outdoor step lighting works best if you can stick small lights on the rise of each step rather than the foot.
Outdoor Patio and Deck Lighting
If you do a lot of entertaining in your home, then you will probably utilize your patio or deck for at least some of that entertaining. Therefore, you need to make sure that there is adequate lighting for the deck and patio. In contrast to the lighting for the garden and pathways, outdoor patio lighting or outdoor deck lighting needs to be much brighter. You want to light these areas as if they were a room in your home. You might share meals, gather for conversation, or play games while gathered in these spaces and you will need the areas to be well lit. However, outdoor lighting as a general rule is softer than indoor lighting. Spot lights are usually the outdoor lighting of choice for patios and decks because there is rarely a roof to hang other light fixtures from. Some spaces might also use hanging lights if there is a roof or canopy available. A third option for outdoor patio lighting or outdoor deck lighting is torches around the perimeter. In the summer time, you can use candles for your outdoor lighting needs and to keep away insects.
Outdoor Security Lighting
One final reason that you may need outdoor lighting is for security. Outdoor security lighting is usually connected to a motion sensor so that it only turns on when someone or something is close to your home. Outdoor security lighting must be especially bright because it is meant to eliminate the night so that you can see anyone who might be outside your home clearly. You also want it to startle whoever activated it.