The use of outdoor lighting can have dramatic effects when implemented properly. Not only can it be visually stunning, it can be an important security addition to any home. The use of outside lights used to be confined to larger homes but as lighting systems have become cheaper, and the range of lights available has grown, it is now possible for anyone to add outdoor lighting ideas to their home.
There are many varied types of outside lights available today, but they can be divided into two main groups – outdoor house lights and outdoor garden lights. Both are commonly used in outdoor lighting designs.
Scanning the glossy house and home magazines and websites can give us some great ideas that can be applied to any home, from apartments to mansions. Use these ideas and think how best to adapt them for your home.
Decorative Outdoor House Lights.
The old way of lighting the outside of the house has moved onwards and upwards with the availability of a huge range of lights. We used to go for the porch or entrance light stuck on the front wall, commonly a lantern, and a brutal floodlight at the back – if we got really imaginative we would use a motion sensor outside light. Now with a little imagination we can truly transform both the house and the garden with light.
You can still have that porch light but give it a modern twist, don’t go for the old lantern. Look at using downlights in the fascia boards of the house for a dramatic effect. Decorative outdoor lighting can be used to highlight the home – strategically positioned uplighting can show off the house and cast amazing shadows, giving that wow factor. Outside spot lights can be used in a similar way, perhaps highlighting the door or the name plate.
Think about using the colour of light, blues and soft white tones work well, perhaps it’s best to avoid red! Outdoor wall lighting has moved on, you can find amazing designs to suit any budget. The use of chrome and stainless steel lighting can be great for the modern home.
Outdoor security lighting does not have to be dull and boring floodlights – you can use more subtle light units strategically placed for the same result. The motion sensors can be sited discreetly at the doorways and used to control the decorative lights. Imagination is the key to achieving a stunning result, try to move away from the old traditional way of using lights.
Outdoor Garden Lighting.
Perhaps the biggest advances have come when using outside lights in the garden. Today gardens have become much more important to people and they are becoming extensions to the home by creating defined usable areas. The use of decking, patios, pools and outdoor buildings are a way of extending the home into the outside space, effectively creating more living space. Effective use of garden lighting can help to link the house with the garden and enhance both at the same time.
Use outside lighting to define garden elements – point simple spotlights at features such as trees or the barbecue area. A spotlight pointed directly upwards through a large tree can be visually stunning. Define areas with uplights, perhaps lining the driveway or paths. Uplights are very effective around pools and decking and give a wonderful soft lighting effect.
Outdoor lights pointed at the house itself can be used to show off the beauty of the house, these can be used as security lighting as well as being visually pleasing. Pay most attention to the parts of the garden you use the most such as decking, patios and barbecue areas, and as always gather ideas and use imagination.
Some Safety Considerations.
Always be aware of the dangers of electricity, especially when used outside. DIY lighting installations should be limited to low voltage outdoor lighting and solar outdoor lighting. These are relatively easy and safe to install. For more extensive use of external lighting designs always use a qualified electrician – do not try to save money by doing electrical work yourself.
There are many lights and garden lighting kits available for DIY installations, if on a tight budget these are often the best way to add outdoor lighting to your home.