The lighting you choose for inside your home makes a huge difference in the feel of each room. And although outdoor lighting is equally important, it often gets overlooked. If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t give much thought to your home’s outdoor lighting until the sun goes down.

The reality, however, is that outdoor lighting is important both to the look of your house and the safety of your guests and family members—and in most cases, it needs to go beyond a simple porch light and a motion-activated flood light at each corner of your house.

Not sure where to start? Keep reading!

4 Important Outdoor Lighting Considerations

Planting bed with outdoor lighting

1. Take a look at your landscaping.

Landscaping is a huge investment, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. Highlight all that time and hard work with landscape lighting. Does your yard have a focal point, like a particularly impressive tree, planting bed, arbor, or piece of artwork? Begin there. Depending on the type and location of this focal point, an angled spotlight will likely be your best option for illumination. Add lighting around flower beds with small solar-powered or standard outdoor electric lights. For safety and aesthetics, consider installing angled spotlights for any hedges, bushes, or other plants that are close to your house. Potential intruders will be less likely to target your house if they know that they’ll be easy to see.

Stone walkway at night illuminated by path lighting

2. Light up paths and walkways.

Paths, sidewalks, and walkways are a great way to lead visitors to your home and encourage them to explore your yard. But as soon as the sun starts to dip below the horizon, those walkways could get dicey and difficult to see. The last thing you want at your house is a trip hazard! Strategically placed solar or electric path lights make your home look more welcoming for guests and help keep everyone safe.

3. Consider energy use.

Solar-powered outdoor lights are easy to find and install, but they might not always give you the results you hope for, especially if your yard is naturally shady or if you live in an area of the country that typically sees more cloudy days than sunny days. Talk to a professional electrician or outdoor lighting installation professional about your outdoor lighting options. Electric lights outdoors will be more reliable year-round than solar options. You will likely see a small increase in your monthly electric bill, but using LED light bulbs will help you keep costs in check.

Electrician on ladder changing light bulb in outdoor lighting fixture

4. Let the pros take the lead.

Unless you’re a licensed electrician, installing your own outdoor lighting is a job for the professionals. In fact, depending on the size of the project, your city or county might require a permit for landscape lighting installation. Always call your local government office to make sure (or ask your contractor). You need knowledge, training, and plenty of experience to work with electricity safely. Don’t put yourself or your family members in danger by trying to DIY your outdoor lighting fixtures. Professional installers have the equipment and the know-how to handle your project right the first time.

Peaceful illuminated backyard

Enjoy Your Beautiful Yard!

Outdoor lighting makes such a difference in the look and feel of your yard, and it’s absolutely worth the investment. Modern lighting components and LED technology have lessened the amount of energy required by the average landscape lighting fixture. This means that while an outdoor lighting system that uses the same electrical supply as the rest of your house might cost a bit more up front than other options, the long-term operating costs will be low. Consult with a licensed electrician or outdoor lighting specialist near you to formulate a plan for illuminating your beautiful yard and bringing accent and character to your home.

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