We’ve all seen that one home on the block that looks great both day and night. While it may not jump out at you, there is a reason the house looks great at night: outdoor lighting. More and more homeowners are installing outdoor and landscape lighting, both in new homes and existing ones. The benefits are enormous, and the added value to your home is unquestionable. After all, wouldn’t you love to be that house that everyone admires? So let’s talk a little about why to install outdoor lighting for your home.
Types of Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting can include landscape lighting, architectural lighting, and security lighting. All of these names indicate different reasons why some people install outdoor lighting. However, the extent of outdoor lighting that people invest in varies greatly, as do the results.
For many homeowners, outdoor lighting begins and ends with a simple porch light to indicate that someone is home. Almost every home has one of these. For homeowners who want to do a little more, many install path lighting along a driveway or walkway to the front door. There are many path lighting or garden lighting fixtures cheaply available at home improvement or big box stores. Some of the most popular path lights are solar powered. They can be installed with a simple integrated stake and require no extra wiring. Unfortunately, these lights are rarely bright enough to be useful and often suffer from cheap materials and shoddy workmanship.
For homeowners who want a little more out of their outdoor lighting, there are two options: hire professionals or do it yourself. The DIY path can be attractive mostly because of cost savings. However, as with most services, hiring professionals will result in a better product. In general, there are two main benefits to hiring professionals. First, the professionals know how to install outdoor lighting systems correctly and according to code. Did you know that there is actually a required state license for professional low-voltage lighting installation? The other benefit is professional design. No matter how artistically inclined you are, chances are you have not installed hundreds of lighting systems on hundreds of different properties. With professional design, you benefit from the experience of skilled designers.
Outdoor Lighting for Security
Security should be a major concern for homeowners. Unfortunately, many homeowners suffer from the “it can’t happen here” illusion. In fact, this misguided belief is so common that it has a name, optimism bias. But the sad truth is that home burglary is far more common than we like to think. U.S. Department of Justice records show that there are an average of 3.7 million burglaries a year in the U.S. A full 88% of those are home burglaries, most often in privately owned single occupancy homes. Even in you live in what you think is a safe neighborhood, you aren’t immune. So it pays to be safe.
One of the simplest ways to avoid becoming the target of a burglary is to make your home less attractive to criminals. One key to robbing a home is approaching the home undetected. But if you have adequate outdoor lighting, it can be next to impossible to get to your house without being seen. If you have security cameras or a security system, outdoor lighting will increase their effectiveness.
Security lighting doesn’t have to be overpowering. In fact, the same lighting you use to make your home look good at night can provide security. As you plan your overall lighting design, keep in mind the ways that an intruder might try to approach your home. Make sure that all entrances are well lit. Also, if you have bushes or dense trees in your yard, adding a few lights to highlight the landscaping can reduce dark hiding spots. If you want to go one step further, motion sensing lights can be triggered if someone gets close to your home, stopping unwanted guests in their tracks.
Increasing Curb Appeal with Outdoor Lighting
Of course, your outdoor lighting isn’t just about security. Our goal at Night Vision Lighting is to bring out the natural beauty of your home and your landscaping at night. In addition, we can use lights to create new features that you might not notice during the day. For example, lighting certain hardscape features can bring out textures that are normally hard to see during the day. Lighting can also highlight interesting architectural features that might not stand out in broad daylight.
We often talk about the effect that good outdoor lighting has on curb appeal. Curb appeal is simply how appealing your home looks when you first approach and are still standing on the curb. It is your home’s first impression. And just like your personal first impression, you only get one chance to make it. Whether you plan on selling your home or just want to wow your guests, curb appeal is an essential feature of your home. As beautiful as your home and property are during the day, without good outdoor lighting all of that goes away at night.
To create excellent curb appeal, you will need to light both your home and your surrounding property. Lighting the facade of your home will start with some broad wash lighting to gently illuminate the entire structure. From there, your home is a canvas waiting to be painted in light. Bullet lights can focus on particular aspects of your home, such as thick columns, dormers, or other unique architectural elements. Strategically placed downlights can be hidden under soffits or gutters to provide contrast and soften harsh shadows. Landscape lighting can similarly highlight aspects of your property that you want to stand out.
Making Space Livable at Night
One key benefit of outdoor lighting is making your outdoor living spaces usable at night. A great deck, patio, or garden deserves to be enjoyed by day and by night. Without adequate lighting, your outdoor spaces can be impossible to navigate and enjoy after dark. Lighting these spaces extends your livable area and gives you a whole new part of your home at night.
One of the most critical ways that good lighting makes space usable is by making it safe to move around. Pathway lighting and step lighting give you and your guests the safety you need to avoid obstacles at night. In addition, well-designed pathway lighting can become a feature in its own right. Pathway lighting is not meant to simple line a path. It can be used to guide you from step to step, pulling you along. To do that, place lights a small distance from each other, creating pools of like that beckon you from one to the next. If you are lighting a garden or a path that has features around it, you can position your path lights to highlight landscape features along the way.
Professional Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting may seem like a good DIY project, but there is just no comparison between a home installation and professional installation. Just the fact that Georgia licenses professional low-voltage lighting system installers should indicate how much skill goes into the process. There are many factors in outdoor lighting that the average homeowners may miss. The design part of the installation can benefit greatly from the professional experience of seasoned outdoor lighting experts. When it comes to installation, it is just like any other work on your home. If you want it done right, hire a professional. The technical design and installation of an outdoor lighting system can make a big difference in how well it functions.
In short, outdoor lighting is something you could try to do yourself, but if you want it done well, hire professionals.
Night Vision Outdoor lighting has experience installing over 5,000 lighting projects. That experience gives us the confidence to install lighting systems that we know work well. If you are ready to work with an outdoor lighting professional, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.