Outdoor lighting has really come along in the last ten years. It used to be that you had very few choices to brighten your home exterior. Now, you have myriad outdoor lighting options from which to choose.
Outdoor lighting for porches patios and decks has become one component in the overall lighting design of a home today. Lighting and landscape designers design the exterior lighting just as with the interior, using different types of lights for different effects and purposes.
The primary types and methods of outdoor lighting include ambient, down lighting, up lighting, diffused lighting, spot lighting, moon lighting and shadow lighting. Read along and learn about the various types of outdoor light fixtures available.
Ambient lighting is important in any space, meant to provide overall lighting coverage to a level that allows good human visibility. This type of lighting will generally be mounted on the exterior sides of your home, on light poles or out building structures and keeps you from, for instance, tripping over shrubberies when you go outdoors after dark!
This light source is placed above any object or area desirable to enhance, such that a flood of light will be cast down onto the object or area. Normally, down lighting is intended to highlight a feature such as a sculpture, fountain or other outdoor decoration. It is also used for security purposes.
Up Lighting & Shadow Lighting
Up lights are used to highlight objects from below and are usually installed at ground level. Shadow lighting is used in front and below a plant or tree to cast dramatic patterns of light and shadow on a nearby wall.
Creates a low intensity light level to highlight plants, shrubbery, or flower beds. It is diffused in order to spread light across a wide area.
Spot lights provide a beam of light to highlight and enhance a specific area or decorative element in the landscaping. Spot lighting is also very useful to enhance ambient light levels in areas like decks or stairs for better night time vision.
Like down lighting, moon lighting simply places the light source at an extremely high level, often in a tree or roof gable, to simulate the effect of moonlight shining down on your landscaping.
Lighting technology has also improved greatly in recent years. You can now get LED or solar lights that help to save energy, as well as intricate exterior lighting timers and dimmers to set your outdoor lighting levels for various settings and purposes; a setting for parties, one for romantic mood lighting, etc.
We have detailed a few examples of the outdoor lighting types and models you may want to explore further:
Exterior Metallic Wall Sconces
Mounted on exterior walls, these fixtures are available in a variety of materials such as aluminum, brass, copper and stainless steel. These will provide nice overall ambient lighting and, unlike some fixtures, can provide a nice decorative look to your home’s exterior during daylight too!
Outdoor Wall Lanterns
Typically used near a home’s exterior doors, these fixtures put the light on the ground beneath them and not wastefully up into the night sky or your neighbor’s yard. Available in a wide variety of designs, styles and finishes, you can spend a little or a lot depending on the overall quality, design and materials used.
Recently, the use of LED technology outdoors has become popular and allows for low maintenance, with average lifespan of between 50,000 and 100,000 hours. LED lights use very little energy compared to their light output, which makes them quite economical. LED is also a very cool light source.
Low Voltage Landscape Lighting
Low voltage lighting fixtures are used to illuminate landscaping features, pathways and other areas that need diffused illumination. This will accentuate your landscape design for outdoor enjoyment and visually extend your home’s interior space at night.
Post Mount Lighting
If you really want to go all out with your exterior lighting design, these will give your yard or garden the feel of a city park and provide excellent ambient and down lighting.
Outdoor Hanging Light
Perfect for use in porches, gazebos and other outdoor covered spaced, hanging lamps add excellent ambient lighting to these commonly used gathering areas.
Excellent for security purposes and also improved energy efficiency in areas like driveways, a motion detector enables outdoor lighting fixtures to remain off until motion is sensed in the area the light covers.