Outdoor Path Lighting Tips
Path lighting is one of the most common and most misunderstood types of landscape lighting. Since most homes come with a porch light already built in, path lights are often the obvious place for a homeowner to start their landscape lighting adventures. Unfortunately, too many homeowners dive right in without knowing much about landscape lighting, much less about pathway lighting in particular. Of course, it’s not their fault. We don’t expect anyone to be an expert on deck and path lighting right off the bat. That’s what we’re here for. So here are some tips on deck and path lighting from the experts at NightVision Outdoor Lighting.
The first thing you need to know about path lighting is what not to do. Please, please avoid the temptation to install standalone solar path lights. They look like a great option. They don’t require running any wires, and they can be installed by just driving the attached stake into the ground. They’re also usually really well priced. But don’t do it! Here’s why: You get what you pay for. If you’re buying cheap solar lights, you aren’t getting a quality product. They break easily and the photovoltaic cells are rarely powerful enough to get adequate light all night long. If you aren’t installing them in an area that gets at least 8 hours a day of direct sunlight, you aren’t even following the manufacturer’s directions. It’s barely worth the time it takes to install them.
Best Ideas for Pathway Lighting
So what is the right way to install path lights? In short, use a low-voltage system, take the time to run a few wires (12-volt lines can’t hurt you), and get a result you’ll actually like. Path lighting is, of course, functional lighting. You use it so that you can see your way to your front door on a dark night. But it doesn’t need to be solely utilitarian. There are literally hundreds of different path lighting fixtures available for all budgets. Have fun and express yourself. Use your path lights to accentuate the style of your home or to create something new.
Avoid the temptation to install path lights in parallel lines along a walkway. You’re installing landscape lighting, not a runway. Instead, think of pathway lights as pools of light pulling you onward down a path. As long as you can tell where to step, you don’t need ultra-bright light.
For something different, you can line a path with small well-lights. They will never be knocked over and won’t get in the way of mowing the lawn. Another unique style is to use bollard lights. You usually see them in commercial settings, but there are plenty of styles that look great for residential deck and path lighting, too.
Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas
Deck lighting, like path lighting, is first and foremost utilitarian. A deck is a place where you and your family can enjoy time outdoors. But without the right lighting, your deck is only usable during part of the day. Deck and path lighting give you back your your deck and your yard during the hours between sunset and sunrise.
Good deck lighting comes in many different styles. Ideally, you will combine several types of deck lighting to get the light you need to use your space. One of the most common types of deck lighting is hidden downlighting. With one or more downlights tucked away under a soffit or up in a tree, you can easily light your whole deck. One nice trick you can use with downlighting is to use slightly cooler lights, in the 4000K range, to simulate moonlight. Who doesn’t love sitting in the light of a full moon on a clear night?
Another option for deck lighting is LED strip lighting. Strip lighting can be installed in many places other types of lighting cannot be. For instance, strip lighting can be installed along a railing hidden just under the lip of the railing. For a unique and visually appealing look, you can install lighted post caps. As the name implies, these are special caps for the posts of your deck railing with built-in lights.
Most decks also include stairs, so don’t forget step lighting. As a matter of safety, step lighting is non-negotiable. One interesting way to light steps is with small lights built in flush with the vertical part of each step. A similar option is to fit each step with a small, downward facing sconce-type light along its vertical face.
Deck and Path Lighting from NightVision Outdoor Lighting
Deck and path lighting is a great way to start out your outdoor lighting plan. They are both very functional, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. But they also give you a chance to show a little flare. As we have mentioned about path lighting, there is a lot of room to go wrong. Deck and path lighting is deceptively simple. What seems obvious actually takes a good bit of skill and subtlety to get right.
If you are thinking about professional outdoor lighting but aren’t ready to invest in a full landscape lighting project, start small. Deck and path lighting from NightVision Outdoor Lighting can easily be expanded into a more extensive system when you are ready. Even if you’re happy with just the deck and path lighting, you’ll have a great addition to your home. Good lighting adds value and useful space to your home. So if you’re considering deck and path lighting and you want it done right, contact us. We’re happy to come take a look at your property, discuss your needs and your budget, and come up with a great plan for you. No job is too small, and you can always add on later if you decide you want to.