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Practical and Helpful Tips: Lighting

How to Shop for Outdoor Lights

You don’t have to stop the fun at sundown just because your outdoor lighting is poor or absent. When buying outdoor lights, always bear in mind that those products you’ll find are not made equal. It’s important to make a few essential considerations before you actually make a purchase.

Three Types of Lighting

First of all, get acquainted with the three key lighting types – ambient, task and accent lighting. To create ambient lighting, you can use wall, post and/or hanging lights. For task lighting, two popular options are deck lights and security lights. Accent lighting can come with spotlights and landscape kits.

Calculating Your Needs

Compute for the total wattage you need for your outdoor area by multiplying its square footage by 1.5. So if your space is 150 square feet, 225 watts must be supplied. To save energy, costs and maintenance effort, LEDs are a great option to the usual halogen or incandescent bulbs.

Planning Ahead

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. The materials should also be made of high-quality materials, making them sturdy and weather-resistant. 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.

An Inside View

Looking at your outdoor spaces, such as your garden, pathway, porch, etc., from inside your home can help you decide which outdoor lights to buy. 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 usually like getting the spotlight when they’re in the middle of a meal, so keep it lights subtle and soothing. So to illuminate your outdoor dining area, you can throw in some pendants and lanterns and those ceiling fans with lights. A dimmer sure comes in handy for these fixtures – turn it to high for the food prep and cooking, and low for eating and interacting.


Lastly, while outdoor light should offer a desirable ambiance, it should work to secure your home too. All your entry points should be illuminated enough. 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.

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