Small Details That Add Extra Style to Your Space

Add Lighting for Function and Ambiance
An outdoor chandelier will add a touch of the unexpected.
An outdoor chandelier will add a touch of the unexpected.

Adding lighting to your outdoor landscape does more than provide handy illumination when you're trying to clean the grill. It makes the space safer. If you have a pool or stairs, a dedicated light fixture is a critically important safety feature. The same is true if you have a fire pit or hot tub in place. Good lighting will also make it easier to locate stepping stones, gates, doors and electrical panels, and avoid tripping hazards like discarded shoes, potted plants, young children and pets.

Lighting isn't as expensive an outdoor option as it used to be, either. One reason is the abundance of solar lighting options. Solar lights are inexpensive, easy to install and free to operate. It doesn't get much better than that. You just dig a hole in your soil (or screw a mounting bracket on your deck or stairs), pop in the fixture and you're done. You can install five solar fixtures on your property in less than an hour and for less than $100. Solar lights are also more versatile than they used to be. Many remain charged for more than eight hours, and you can find solar options in table top lamps, pole-mounted garden lights and hurricane lamps. You can even find solar powered paver lights.

Another nice choice is low voltage outdoor lighting. Low voltage lights make effective accent lights for the front of your home and great security lights for the back. They can also be installed along a driveway or path. Ground level lights throw the illumination upward somewhat like a spotlight while wall or fence mounted lights offer bright illumination similar to what you would find indoors. Low voltage lights are available in a number of wattages, too (from 4 to 50 watts using halogen lights). Low voltage lights are completely safe for outdoor use, but installing this type of system may require the services of an electrician. It could also entail some digging to get under or around features on your property like driveways, water pipes and cable lines.

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  • Do It Yourself. "4 Reasons to Have a Vinyl Pergola." (7/17/12).
  • Fire Pit and Grilling Guru. "Want to learn how to build a fire pit?" (7/17/12).
  • Huber. Jeanne. "How to Plant in Pots." This Old House. (7/17/12).,,1627042,00.html
  • Illuminations Lighting. "Planning Landscape Lighting." (7/17/12).
  • Install a Veranda. "5 Benefits of Installing a Pergola." 8/15/11. (7/17/12).
  • Landscape Lighting Direct. "Landscape Lighting How-To." (7/17/12).
  • Lowes. "Exterior Lighting Buying Guide." (7/17/12).
  • McGilvray, Jacquelyn. "8 Easy to Build Fire Pit Designs." (7/17/12).
  • Pergolas Direct. "Pergolas Direct Can Help You Transform Your Hot Uncomfortable Deck or Patio Into a Beautiful New Shaded Entertaining Area." (7/17/12).
  • University of Minnesota. "Designing and Installing Outdoor Lighting." 2006. (7/17/12).
  • Warming Trends. "5 Benefits of Having an Outdoor Fire Pit or Fireplace." 6/16/11. (7/17/12).

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