All too often, we see clients whose outdoor lighting is an afterthought. They spend all of their energy designing the landscaping elements of their lawn only to realize their yard lacks the elegant look they were trying to achieve.

A professionally designed lighting solution gives your yard that extra “pop” and coziness that is missing. Running out to your local big-box store and grabbing whatever fixtures are sitting on the shelves is a recipe for disaster.

Getting Started

The first step is establishing your design aesthetic and goals for your lighting project. Do you want to illuminate prominent outdoor features, add drama, enhance the “mood” of your spaces, or improve the visibility and safety of your yard?
An excellent outdoor lighting design plan combines the perfect blend of types of outdoor lighting and outdoor lighting fixtures. 

Outdoor Lighting Techniques

Task Lighting is direct lighting that is used for specific tasks such as illuminating entrances, pathways, and steps. Pathways, deck, and step lights are common types of outdoor tasking lighting. 

Ambient Lighting is indirect lighting that provides a more subtle, natural, and uniform appearance. Lower wattage and lumens typically offer the best look when looking for ambient lighting.

Accent Lighting creates focus and drama and showcases specific elements of your yard. Accent lighting adds drama to an outdoor space by creating visual interest. Accent lighting is commonly used to highlight design features, planting areas, and architectural details.

Common Types of Outdoor Lighting FixturesThe types of outdoor lighting set the overall mood of the design. The outdoor lighting fixtures provide the light that brings the design to life. Outdoor lighting fixtures come in various shapes, sizes, metals, and functions. An elegant and effective outdoor lighting design includes a mix of different fixture types to bring your yard to life and creates a warm and welcoming vibe. 

Spot Lights have multiple applications and can become uplights and downlights when positioned in a specific way. Their primary function is to highlight and illuminate particular design elements such as statues, water features, walls, fencing, and patios. The options for incorporating spotlights into your outdoor lighting design are endless.

Path Lights are one of the most common types of outdoor lighting fixtures. They come in various shapes and sizes, and many are solar-powered. These small lights pack a big design punch. Path lights are used to frame yard features and provide warm spots of light along driveways and pathways. 

Ceiling Lights are mounted to porch or pergola structures away from direct rain. There are weatherized versions available. Ceiling lights are an economical way to light your outdoor seating areas. When integrated with outdoor ceiling fans, they provide comfort and great general light to extend the use of your outdoor spaces.

Wall Lights are classic lighting fixtures that are mounted on any vertical surface. One of the most common uses is front and back porch lights. Wall lights come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials. Updating wall lights is an inexpensive way to refresh your outdoor space. When selecting wall lights, pay close attention to the wattage and lumens to ensure your area is well lit but not too bright.

Post Lights are placed on top of a post or structure, like a gate, wall, or deck. Post lights are typically exposed to all of the weather elements. When shopping for post lighting, make sure you look for wet-rated options. Most post lighting fixtures are hard-wired, but solar and gas-powered fixtures are also available. Post lighting is available to match every design aesthetic.

Deck and Step Lights are installed directly into a yard’s hardscape or decking. They are used to accentuate design features and provide added safety at night. Deck lighting is also great for adding ambient light to entertainment spaces. 

String Lights, also known as fairy lights or twinkle lights, are perfect for weaving through trees, patio covers, and hardscapes. String lights are more subtle and whimsical than other types of outdoor lighting fixtures. String lights are available in many sizes, shapes, and wattages. String lights can create a fun and festive mood, or soft string lights create the perfect picturesque scene.

With so many outdoor lighting options available, it’s easy to combine lighting types and fixtures that detract rather than enhance your property. If you aren’t careful, your yard can look like a runway at Newark on a holiday weekend.  Tanzer Inc. has served homes and businesses in New Jersey and New York for over 35 years. We pride ourselves on helping our residential and commercial clients create the perfect outdoor lighting design. 

Contact Tanzer Inc. today for a free outdoor lighting design or maintenance estimate.