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Introduction to Outdoor Lighting

FAQs about Outdoor LightingThe outside of your home is the first reflection of you that your neighbors and guests will see as they approach. You want the atmosphere to seem warm and inviting, welcoming one and all. One of the best tactics in building this sense of comfort involves choosing exterior lighting that highlights the features of your home. You want to illuminate the beauty of your house, and a cleverly implemented display will shine the proper spotlight on your residence. Below we’ll answer some common questions to help you with outdoor lighting ideas.

How Do I Select the Right Exterior Lighting?

Image via Flickr by Landscape Design Advisor

Image via Flickr by Landscape Design Advisor

The most important aspect of contemporary outdoor lighting is the material used. There are five primary options discussed in the next section. Your budget will inform your decision, but it’ll mainly come down to which one you feel looks best. That’s because most lighting is inexpensive enough that the price difference is insignificant for most renovation projects.

Lighting Fixture Types

Aluminum Lighting Fixtures

Aluminum fixtures are best installed in areas that are protected from the elements, like under a covered porch.

Aluminum fixtures are the cheapest and therefore the most prevalent lighting fixtures available. You’ll notice these most often in places such as apartment complexes and other forms of transitory housing. That’s because they’re so inexpensive that they’re easy to replace. The downside is that they are susceptible to the elements. Rain and snow will rapidly deteriorate the material, and even a stiff wind will gradually alter the shape of the aluminum. They’re great for gardens and low-budget patios.

Stainless Steel Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Stainless steel outdoor fixtures are a step up from aluminum. They enjoy the added benefit of emphasizing natural sunlight. They reflect it in an aesthetically pleasing way that will make the surrounding area seem brighter and more attractive during the day. A disadvantage of stainless steel fixtures is that they require a great deal of upkeep. You’ll need to keep them clean to maintain their glossy veneer. Also, failure to wipe down the surface will lead to corrosion, reducing the functional lifespan of the materials.

Consider More Durable Materials

Homeowners searching for a more durable material should consider one of the next three fixtures, starting with brass outdoor lights. The composition of this type of fixture includes zinc and copper. They build a sturdier core, which will increase the lifespan of your fixture. Brass is so reliable that some manufacturers include a lifetime warranty on the materials.

Note that they’re still affected by the weather; these fixtures simply handle it better. Because it handles the elements well, it would be appropriate to place it near a swimming pool. What happens with brass is that it darkens over time. Assuming that’s not a problem, it’s a wonderful solution for homeowners who expect to stay in one place for a decade or more.

Copper outdoor lighting lacks the solidity of brass, but it’s also naturally resistant to corrosion. It’ll share the same darkening over time, which is actually a positive for copper. It’s already one of the most attractive fixture materials.

More importantly, copper is arguably the most durable material for light fixtures. They don’t rust and are almost completely impervious to harsh weather. Even heavy winds won’t bend their structure. Best of all, you can recycle copper lights once they’ve served their purpose, making them the most eco-friendly light fixture as well. Since copper is stylish, it’s optimal for a high-end patio as well as steps leading to your front door.

Vivex Lighting

The most inventive outdoor lighting material is Vivex. It’s a composite of marble powder and latex. An ATP adhesive locks the components together, creating a weather-resistant fixture that can handle even the harshest weather. The specific purpose of Vivex is to survive equally well in sub-zero temperatures such as the North and South Pole as well as the 130-degree weather in deserts. Due to its manufacturing cost, Vivex is the one material listed here that may be out of your budget. If you live in a place with extreme temperatures, however, it’s your best bet. In fact, it might be your only option.

Common Mistakes

Common lighting mistakesThink about the core concepts of outdoor lighting. You want to provide exterior illumination so that your nighttime guests can walk up to your home safely and conveniently. The implementation of low voltage outdoor lighting or outdoor string lighting requires a focus on achieving these goals. The worst mistake you can make occurs in the planning stage when you fail to choose an efficient lighting solution.

Another potential problem is angering your neighbors. You don’t want to create a lighting system that makes them feel like they’re on the Vegas strip. For example, LED outdoor lighting is a wonderful option for remote regions where dangerous animals are on the prowl. In a quiet neighborhood, not so much. The people living closest to you might be annoyed by your nightly light show.

If you live in a calm suburb, consider solar lighting instead. These lights don’t shine as brightly, since they generally use lower wattage bulbs. They have the added benefit of being eco-friendly, since the sun supplies the energy. Solar lighting also solves the of light pollution.

Lighting Accessories

When purchasing lighting accessories, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, when buying a ceiling fan, you must consider the size of the blades. They’ll impact the appearance of your home as well as air flow. With ceiling lighting, the size of the room and height of the lights themselves are crucial. Otherwise, you’ll have a dimly lit patio area or light pollution. When choosing light bulbs, wattage is the most important consideration; however, you should also factor in the life span of the bulbs. It’s more economical to buy energy-efficient bulbs, but only if you’ll be in a residence for a long time.

Illuminating your back or front yard is critical to making your residence feel inviting. Follow the tips above to avoid the common mistakes that lead to dark patios and disgruntled neighbors.

Any questions about outdoor lighting? Ask us in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to help.

One Comment

  1. It’s true that installing outdoor lighting can pose many challenges. In addition to the cost of the lights, it’s usually necessary to hire a licensed electrician to do the installation. Solar-powered lights are an increasingly popular alternative. They are affordable, easy to install yourself and can be relocated easily. You also save on electrical costs.

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