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Guide to Outdoor Lighting Types and Features

Outdoor lighting can not only highlight your home's architecture and landscape, it also provides safety by deterring intruders and making paths navigable at night. We take a look at the most common types of outdoor lighting and list a few special features to keep an eye out for.

Outdoor Lighting Types

outdoor lighting

Ceiling Lights

Usually hung above a door or patio dining table, ceiling lights come in the form of pendants, which offer a dramatic look, and flush-mounts, which are best for low ceilings.

outdoor lighting

Wall Lights

Often used to illuminate architectural elements of a home, outdoor wall lights can be found near doors and garages. Wall lights create a well-lit, welcoming atmosphere for guests.

outdoor lighting

Landscape and Path Lighting

Path lighting illuminates walkways, stairs, and steps with lights that often resemble small post lights. Landscape lighting showcases plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers. Small spotlights and well lights (which require digging a hole so that the light will sit flush with the ground) are common for landscape lighting as they don't compete with plants for attention. Landscape lights can also be used to highlight architectural features like columns. Most landscape and path lights can be used in both capacities. Look for solar-powered options for an energy-efficient option.

flood lights

Flood Lights

Offering maximum safety and security, flood lights cast light across a wide area, discouraging intruders and making the yard well-lit for nighttime outdoor fun. Place flood lights about 9 feet high so that they can't be easily accessed. Mounting flood lights up high also assures a wide field of light.

post lights

Post Lights

To make a dramatic statement, place post lights near a driveway entrance. Post lights are also commonly found around pools, patios, and in backyards that are used for entertaining.

deck light

Deck and Step Lights

Deck lights are used on decks or porches to illuminate steps, railings, or posts. Step lights are also used on steps in gardens or on walls to cast light on walkways.

Outdoor Lighting Features

  • To reduce energy bills and be eco-friendly, install Energy Star-rated lighting outside. All Energy Star certifications are given out by the U.S. government. Lights with an Energy Star rating are generally equal in price to those without.
  • Motion sensors are often found on flood lights, wall lights, and path lighting. Motion sensing lights can be used to deter intruders.
  • Solar powered lights are eco- and budget-friendly. This option is frequently found on landscape lighting, post lights, and flood lights.
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    Outdoor Flush Mounts & Wall Lights
    Landscape Lighting