- Different Types of Landscape Lighting
- Recommended Wattage for Outdoor Lighting
- How to Layout Your Landscape Lights
- Wrapping It Up...
Your home’s exterior and its landscape is a reflection of those who live in it. So, its safe to say that landscaping performs a crucial function, enhancing your home’s curb appeal and increasing its resale value.
While there are many features that can be added to the landscaping of a home to enhance its appearance, such as planting beds, lawns, shrubs, flowering trees, fountains and water gardens, one area that’s often (and criminally) overlooked is landscape lighting.
Since having a green thumb can only go so far, you need landscape lighting to make sure your handiwork is visible at all times, and especially at night.
Needless to say, landscape lighting not only improves the safety of your home, but can also have a positive affect on your mood.
Different Types of Landscape Lighting
The exterior lighting of a home can be just as important as the interior lighting, especially if you’re looking to enhance the home’s landscaping. Choosing the right landscape lighting for your house should not only create a relaxing ambiance, but also be functional by illuminating your yard.
While the type of landscape lights you choose is mainly going to depend on your requirements, there are two types of landscape lights that you will need to consider:
- LEDs — LED or Light Emitting Diodes are widely used as landscape lights. They use an electrical current and burn by illuminating small diodes within the bulb.
LEDs are considered to be more energy efficient and do not give off much heat. They are also the best option for a variety of outdoor temperatures and environments.
- CFLs — CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lights are the more traditional option when it comes to landscape lighting.
CFLs also use an electrical current to heat up a filament that’s in a much larger bulb as compared to LEDs.
The filament produces light and heat as a result of heating up. Since the filament used in the CFLs are very delicate they have a shorter lifespan as compared to LED lights.
Also, CFLs have a shorter lifespan when used in areas of extreme hot or cold climates.
Now for the fun stuff...
Here are some great options when it comes to landscape lighting that are available in the market:
1. Path Lights
Probably one of the most commonly used landscaping lighting are path lights. These are small posts that come with built-in lights that are capped by a diffuser.
The beauty of path lights is that they can be used to highlight a walkway, the parameter of a pool, or to draw attention on a particular area of the yard.
2. Piermount or Postmount Lights
If you are looking for something that appears more sophisticated, then the Postmount light is just what you need.
Postmount lights have been designed for installation on top of structures on a post. These lights are commonly used for illuminating front gates, fences and entries of a home.
3. Step and Deck Lighting
Not only are deck or step lights a great option for lighting up dark staircases, but can be used as an accent for architectural detailing in the yard.
Deck or step lights are also used to wash light down stone walls or fountains or can be installed straight into the yard’s decking or hardscape to illuminate the area.
4. Bollard Lights
The bollard lights are a great option for being used as guide posts or for separating the yard from the driveway.
These lights are larger than path lights and have been designed to be sturdier, while providing you with more illumination.
Most of you are already familiar with a spotlight and what it’s used for. When it comes to enhancing the landscaping of a home, the spotlight is going to take center stage.
Spotlights are frequently used for highlighting particular features, such as trees, fountains or ornaments in the yard, and are also used to enhance the appearance of architectural detailing.
6. Flood Lights
Just like a flood describes overflowing water, a flood light is used to illuminate far beyond the boundaries of an area. Like all other landscape lighting, flood lights also come in various shapes and sizes.
But, the one thing that all flood lights have in common is the warm beam of light that it throws at a 60 or 120 degree angle.
Stake-mounted flood lights are commonly used to illuminate garden beds, bushes and small tress, along with sitting areas, decks and patios.
7. Well Lights
The well light is basically a variation of the spotlight, with the only difference being that the illumination comes from the ground. This helps create a seamless look and is mostly advised to highlight hardscaping and landscaping.
The inset profile of the well light makes it a minimal lighting alternative, which is perfect for those households who want to illuminate an area of the yard without having to deal with a pole or wires sticking out of the ground.
8. Hardscape Lights
Hardscape lights are a new addition to the world of landscape lighting. Hardscape lights are tiny LEDs that come with flanges or brackets that make them easy to install on structures to be used to wash walls with light.
The flexible mounting options means that the hardscape lights can be used in a number of ways, as in, for illuminating retaining walls, decks and patios.
9. Pond Lighting
While the pond light is in many ways similar to a spotlight, the only difference between the two is that a pond light is submerged under water.
Spot lights have been designed to be waterproof, enabling homeowners to use it to create drama in the pool are or to illuminate a fountain and other water features that are part of the landscaping.
10. Solar Powered Landscape Lights
Solar powered landscape lights are all the rage these days. These lights are relatively cheap as compared to traditional landscape lighting options, and are energy free since they use the power of the sun to illuminate the yard.
The best part of using solar-powered landscape lights is that they can be used virtually anywhere.
The cost effectiveness of the solar powered landscape lights and their versatility makes them the perfect choice for landscape lighting.
In the solar-powered landscape lights, small solar panels are used to harness solar energy, which is then converted into electricity to power the LEDs.
Solar powered lights come with batteries that store the converted energy into electricity during the day and illuminate the yard at night.
The highly efficient LEDs that are used in these solar-powered landscape lights means that they can illuminate an area for hours before running out of electricity.
Recommended Wattage for Outdoor Lighting
When planning to use landscaping lights to illuminate the exterior of your home, you do not want to have lights that are either too intense or not bright enough.
This is because, using landscape lights that are too bright will not only bump up your monthly electricity bill, but will make your yard look like a football stadium. If you go with landscape lighting that is too dim then you are not going to benefit from the security or illumination that landscape lighting provides.
Finding the sweet spot when it comes to landscape lighting is always a challenge, but its not impossible.
80 Watts and Higher
This is the go-to option if you are looking to flood your yard or front lawn with light. While 100 watt and higher lights are only recommended for public places, landscape lights that are around 80 watts are appropriate for lighting up the yard, provided the yard is of a decent size.
These higher wattage landscape lights also need to be suspended high above the ground for maximum illumination. When choosing these landscape lights, a single light should do the trick.
You will also need to mount them on a post or wall mount that’s away from windows to prevent nighttime glare.
Lower Than 80 Watts
Landscape lighting that ranges from 40 watts (600 lumens) to 80 watts (around 1200 lumens) are the ideal choice to bathe a small yard with moderate light.
These landscape lights are a great choice for reducing your home’s energy consumption while getting just the right amount of illumination to highlight your landscape.
There are also a number of lower wattage lights (lower than 40 watts) that are used to illuminate specific areas or features in the yard.
One of the main benefits of choosing lower wattage landscape lighting is that you get to use solar-powered lights that are a more energy efficient option.
To make your life easier, the following are some suggestions regarding the recommended lumens for landscape lights:
- Step lights: 12-100 lumens
- Pool lighting: 200-400 lumens
- Path lighting: 100-200 lumens
- Landscape lighting: 50-300 lumens
- Hardscape lighting: 50-185
- Flood lights: 700-1300 lumens
You can use online calculators to find out the equivalent lumens of the wattage that are being used in the landscape lighting.
How to Layout Your Landscape Lights
As a rule of thumb, path lights and other small landscape lights should be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart, with larger lights being spaced further apart from each other.
If you want the illumination of the landscape lights to touch then 8’ to 10' feet should be sufficient, if not then go for 10’ to 12’ feed to leave some space between the illuminated areas.
Measuring the Lux, as in, the amount of light per square meter will give you a good idea of how far the lights need to be spaced.
This is the reason why measuring the lux is crucial to finding out how many of the landscape lights you are going to need to illuminate an area or feature in your yard.
To give you an idea of how much a lux is, 1 lux equals to the amount of illumination you would get from a single candle that’s burning 3 feet away.
Wrapping It Up...
Sifting through the various different types of landscape lighting will enable you to make the most of your outdoor space. The more you can make the outside of your home inviting and useful, no matter the time of day, the more you will appreciate your whole home.
Whether you want to stay safe, host backyard gatherings or just find your way from the driveway to the front door there are plenty of options to choose from.
Have fun with it and get creative. When you're done make sure to show us what you came up with it by tagging @betterhomediy on Instagram!
About THE AUTHOR
Your Better Home DIY Guide
Growing up around the farmlands of the Midwest you learn at an early age getting your hands dirty is a way of life.
Whether it was helping my Grandpa make cedar furniture, mowing neighborhood lawns or throwing bails of hay the do-it-yourself mentality runs strong in our family.
I am excited to help you tackle your projects and discover new ways to do better home diy!