All of the lighting we've discussed so far has been aimed at ambiance, but lighting for security is an important consideration, too. This encompasses everything from scaring off potential thieves and destructive animals to illuminating areas and objects that may cause you or your guests to stumble.
Some people think security lighting is an easy thing -- just slap up a bright, motion-controlled light near your home, and maybe toss in some lights along your walkway. But achieving good results takes a little more thought. Keep these points in mind when planning your security lighting:
- To ward off thieves and assailants, it's better to install a shielded, medium-intensity light rather than a super-bright light. You may feel safer with a bright light, but it will inhibit you from seeing who's out there or what's going on. A dimmer one will allow you to jot down descriptions, license plate numbers, etc. for authorities, if necessary [source: Residential Landscape Lighting & Design].
- Motion detectors are great at both security lighting and energy management, as they only go on when there's movement in the area. Position them high enough -- ideally, under the eaves -- so they can't be easily disabled or destroyed by intruders, and in a downward position so you don't illuminate your entire block. And remember animals and blowing objects can set them off, not just intruders.
- Do a few checks before actually installing your security fixtures. Will a bright light hit you in the face when you open the front door, or blind your guests as they get out of their cars? Can you perhaps hide a not-so-pretty light within your landscaping? If you're just trying to keep feral cats out of your backyard, do you really want lights around your entire home [source: Hannigan]?