Get Extend Summer Fun With Outdoor Lighting: From neighborhood picnics to kids play time, summer means outside time. Much of that activity occurs during longer daylight hours, but darkness is also a great time to enjoy warm-weather days. How can you create an environment that extends the fun of summer past sunset?
Fortunately, the right light can make evening hours safer and more enjoyable, according to the American Lighting Association. Whether for poolside parties, romantic dinners on the patio or barbecues with neighbors, make your outdoors more beautiful and pleasant.
1. Improve navigation with outdoor lighting
Lighting is typically layered into a room or outdoor space in three ways: overhead, task, and ambient. Even outdoors – where there are no typical boundaries and borders – those three layers are necessary. Outdoor overhead lighting is important for visibility of steps, paths and walking surfaces.
2. Enhance security with outdoor lighting
To improve visibility and security, combine a motion detector with a sconce to illuminate dark corners or areas near entrances. Be sure to aim lights away from the door.
3. Create outdoor rooms with lighting
Outdoor lighting at the borders of a space is a great way to give people barriers, both vertically and horizontally.
4. Reduce glare with well-placed outdoor lighting
Light along paths should be cast downward, with fixtures such as Dark Sky-compliant versions, that are hooded. A variety of lighting options will create layers, allowing you to add or subtract as necessary. If appropriate, exterior-safe dimmers can also provide flexible control over the level of light, as can moveable fixtures that can be added to a patio or porch as needed.
5. Add decorative elements with outdoor lighting
Just as arbors, pergolas, patios and other outdoor elements help to enhance the style of an outdoor space, so too can lighting contribute to a well-designed landscape. For example, step lights are essential for safe passage, but can also highlight molding or trim details. For a pergola over a deck, an outdoor-compliant chandelier can be a wonderful accent to dinnertime and a way to spotlight the overhead structure and flowering vines. Patio lights provide ambiance as well as illumination for cooking outside.
6. Enhance inside views with outdoor lighting
It’s often an afterthought, but enhancing the views from inside the house is a natural fit for outdoor lighting. To do that, layer in a variety of lights – spotlights on trees, lights dotted along pathways, accent lights on unique landscape features.
7. Conserve energy with outdoor lighting
If you get enough light, there are solar options for outdoor lighting, as well as LED, Energy Star and Dark Sky fixtures. Many options are available today to help you enjoy the benefits of good area lighting in cost-effective ways.