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How Do I Light the Outside of the House and Garden?

Henriette Rieu  |  September 21, 2016  |  3 Min. Read

Outdoor Lighting

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Editor's note: Outdoor lighting is part of an overall lighting plan. Like indoor lighting, you want to layer your lighting for the proper effect. There are many ways to accomplish this.

There are two ideas you want to consider. First is LED which will last 20 plus times longer than incandescent. It will not melt the snow, however, because it does not emit heat.

For tough New England winters, you need a solid cast brass light to stand up to the snow, wind and freezing rain.

Elements of Outdoor Lighting

There are several elements that you want to consider. The first is the front of your home so it the stands out in the neighborhood and will be easy for friends and family to find the house.

Second, light the walkways for safety and to show off decorative stone work.

The third is lighting decorative foliage in the flower and planting borders to show off your garden even at night.

The fourth level is up-lighting into the trees for creating a lacey romantic look.

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Together, this will create a layered look to show off your home which is your most important investment.

Let's look at different elements.

Illuminating the Front of the Home 

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Up-lighting the front of the home can be accomplished by spiking in the head below. It contains a 4.2W LED MR16 which has an infinite point load and can travel all the way up the front of the house to the eaves 20 to 30 feet off the ground.

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1536BZ-LED 60 degrees are $114 each

They should be mounted about 18 inches to 24 inches from the face of the house. The cone of light will widen the further up the wall it travels.

They should be mounted on either sides of windows or doors so that the light does not glare into the windows.

When standing in the house and looking out the veil of light created by the uplights will let you see out into the yard. If you do not have the landscape lighting outside all the windows it will look like the dreaded “Black Mirror” at night. Meaning you will not be able to see outside. Without lighting, it will look like a backwards mirror (try it now if it is dark).

Illuminating Walkways

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The walkway lighting can be placed along the walkway about 8 feet apart.  A 21 foot walkway would require 3 lights. They should be on 18” poles to keep them visible above snow and also to spread the light out in larger circles. There are many styles from contemporary to classic.

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1502BZ-LED - $149

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1560AR - $139
00T5LED - $35

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1529CR - $139
00T5LED - $35


As seen above a little light goes along way outside and in the dark the bottom brick lights are installed on every other stair. Only three walk way light cover the entire Gazebo Patio and there are only four walkway lights on the upper left picture of the grey stone walkway.

Illuminating Trees and Bushes 

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Up-lighting of the trees can be accomplished again with these simple head.

If you want to walk on the light in a gazebo or pool use 16701MZ $69 with LED- MR16-B01-12-82736. A 9.5 watt LED that gives 450 lumens with 2,700 kelvin and 36 degree flood light.

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The brick lighter in the walls are 59024BZ-LED integrated led - $209    

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There is one more type of LED to illuminate walls around the pool and patio. They are sleek and almost invisible as they are mount right below the stone cap on the walls.         

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15440BZ 9 ½”long - $109

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  15442BZ 15 ½” long - $139

They are only 1 ½” wide and an attached metal plate allows them to be mounted under the cap.

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This well light can be mounted into the deck or patio and fitted with a LED 9.5 watt LED-MR16-B01-12-82736 - $35.95 this is 1599BS for $109. You can walk on these, however for a driveway you will need to go to the another type of well light  below can carry  up to 2200 lbs of weight.

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51000BZ is $209 which uses a medium base A19 LED with up to 850 lumens in 3000 Kelvin. Bulb is S9037 - $22.99.

There are several concerns that you must consider for the engineering of the lighting. They should be low voltage as to prevent shock when the landscaper or you are using a roto tiller. 12 volt will prevent shock hazards. Also you do not want to have the low voltage wire travel more than 60 feet to avoid a voltage drop. Size the wattage on the transformer properly. You probably know not to exceed the max voltage, but you also need to use more than half.

Final Thoughts

Lighting the outside will certainly add an element of safety to your home. It can also add a sense of drama as well. Remember to use some solid fixtures and a LED light source.

After that, you can have some fun lighting your house.

 

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Henriette Rieu

Henriette Rieu has been a lighting designer and home builder for over 25 years and has been with Yale for almost 15. Henriette enjoys the creative aspect of lighting design and help clients with remarkable projects.

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