How to Select Lighting for Outdoor Living

Types of Outdoor Lighting

When looking at lighting your outdoor space, it's a good idea to not just look at the types of lighting available, but also how much they cost. Consider buying the best quality lights you can afford. The higher quality they are, the longer they'll last, and in the long run, you'll get more bang for your buck than if you constantly have to replace cheaper lighting fixtures. Using higher quality fixtures may also mean that you have to use fewer lights. This is especially handy when you're lighting a larger area, such as a path. Better lights may cast off more light, which means you can get away with using fewer of them.

Use the exterior of your home for inspiration to help you pick out decorative lights that blend in with the style of your house. Selecting lights for their form as well as their function will help you create a stylish atmosphere.

The easiest lights to add to your yard are solar lights, which charge during the day and light up at night. They function without electricity, so you don't really need any electrical know-how to install them. Make sure they're in an area where they get enough sun to fully charge, though, or they won't shine brightly at night.

Many other lighting options also save energy, including photocells, which turn lights on automatically at dusk and shuts them off at dawn. Motion sensor lights only turn on when someone goes near the sensor, so they only use energy intermittently. Light-emitting diodes (LED) are another green solution because they produce as much light as halogen or incandescent bulbs, but they don't consume nearly as much energy. Their lifespan is also a lot longer than traditional bulbs.

For those on a budget, low-voltage mini lights are a good choice because they're pretty cheap, they're safe and you don't need to put many of them around your yard. They're also relatively easy to install, so if you're handy, you can handle this project on your own within a few days.

What you plan to do outside can influence your choice of lighting toor. If you're cooking, bright task lighting can illuminate your grill area. When it comes to lighting something long, like a wall, overhang or flowerbeds, rope lights can be a simple, effective way to make a statement.