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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


An emerging trend in design, is to transform the area around your home into outdoor living spaces. A great deal of thought, time, effort and money is put into the exterior of a home with landscaping, gardening and more. 

Outdoor lighting accentuates your efforts and provides dramatic and instant beautification to your property, allowing for increased time you and your family can spend outdoors. It also increases the value and resale of your home. In addition, outdoor lighting adds a new level of home security because dark corners virtually disappear and deter trespassers and intruders.

A lighting fixture designed for outdoor use and engineered to handle the elements is called an oudoor light. Outdoor lighting fixtures combine decorative looks with durability and weather resistance.

Outdoor lighting consists mainly of Entrance lighting, pathway lighting, patio lighting and garden/landscape lighting.

There are so many styles to choose from, like Arts and Crafts, Contemporary, Modern, Rustic, Lodge, Tiffany/Art Glass, Traditional and Transitional. All of these items can generally be coordinated to match with an overall design theme.

  • Types:  The commonest examples of Outdoor Entrance Lighting are:  Wall Lanterns, Hanging Lanterns, Ceiling Mounted fixtures and Front Entrance Lighting. Wall lanterns can be placed on each side of the door,  while recessed, chain-hung, close-to-ceiling fixtures or beautiful chandeliers specifically suited for outdoor use can be hung under the porch.
  • Size and height: If you have a single wall light on one side of the door, choose a fixture of height approximately one-third of the height of the door. If using lights on both sides, choose fixtures of height one-fourth of the door height. The wall fixtures should be mounted at least 66” above standing level.
  • Light wattage: If the light is too dim, guests may stumble, if it is too bright, it will dazzle and blind them. You can use 40-75 watt incandescent lamps that give a warm light. Be sure that the light reaches the steps for safety purposes.
  • Type: Use a single wall lantern on the keyhole side of the rear door to provide adequate lighting and security. and have Post Mounted Lanterns in the yard, to ensure safe and easy movement after dark by illuminating the yard, paths and walking areas.
  • Size and Height: The wall lantern, on one side of the door should have a height of approximately one-third of the height of the door and should be mounted at least 66” above standing level.
Patio lighting, not only allows you to spend more time outside at night but also accentuates the best parts of your garden and makes your patio and yard a safer place to be at night. There are many different types of patio lighting. Here are some of the most popular types of patio lighting:
  • Deck Lighting: For decks, you can highlight and spotlight any changes in elevations, drop-offs, or deck-edges, by concealing the light fixtures beneath railings, beneath benches, or on vertical posts. In doing so, you create not only a dramatic effect, but a safer deck, as well.
  • Step Lighting: This type of patio lighting will allow both you and guests to navigate up your steps in safety. You can use a motion sensor step light that glows all night and emits bright light when motion is detected. Or you can place step lighting beneath railings, on vertical posts, or recessed into the steps.
  • Silhouetting: Silhouetting is a type of patio lighting that highlights the shape of an object. To create the silhouette effect, place a light behind the subject, and shine it up against a vertical surface like the wall of your home.
  • Shadowing: Use this lighting technique to highlight any interesting shapes that you may have in your garden, including branch structure, sculptures, etc, by creating a shadow. Place your light fixture in front of the item that you want to shadow, and aim the light so that the item will cast its shadow on a surface like the wall of your house. The closer the light is to the item you want to shadow, the larger the shadow will be.
  • Moon Lighting: Place light fixtures up into a tree and shine them downward. The light will be filtered through the branches of the trees, creating an effect like the moon shining down.
  • Fountain Lighting: If you have a fountain on your patio or elsewhere in your garden, there are many great types of patio lighting that will make your fountain even more beautiful at night. You can have underwater lights or coloured lights for a dramatic effect. It is also possible to create a mirrored effect on the surface of the water by lighting the area behind the reflecting surface of the water.

To decide which of these types of patio lighting to use, think of what you want to spotlight -  which subjects will look best as a silhouette or as a shadow and which areas may pose a threat if a person cannot see them.

Beautifully designed landscape lighting adds charm and elegance to your home. Landscape lighting is a low voltage lighting system. It is used to bring trees and flowers to life at night, feature focal points around your home, and light pathways and steps for safety and security. It is one of the most dramatic improvements you can make for a modest investment.

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