Outdoor Lighting Tips
Must have Tips for Outdoor Lighting
With our aussie lifestyle and climate we almost live outside, particularly in summer. Homes are graded by how good the ‘patio’, ‘deck’, or ‘terrace’ is. So getting the exterior lighting right, can make our home look amazing, be more inviting, more usable, and also far safer.
Using all 3 types of lights, Task, Accent, and Ambient; we can show off our landscape and gardens, light our entertaining area for a big party or an intimate dinner party, we can light our paths and steps to keep everybody safe, and we can use sensor lights to protect our home.
Fire up the barby, switch on the entertaining lights. Generally, you would have ambient downlights covering the dining table, BBQ, and sitting spaces; then some accent lighting such as wall sconces, LED strips, or even string lights highlighting features and walls. Add in some task lighting for the BBQ plate and prep benches, and you’re a long way towards creating the ultimate entertaining space.
The Barby’s finished and your culinary masterpiece is ready to devour. Hit a button to change the scene from lots of ambient and task lighting around the BBQ, to some muted accent lighting with task and ambient lighting localised to the outdoor dining table. Compliments to the chef.
Whether you are entertaining or just having a quiet night in, you can make your home stand out with some carefully planned architectural lighting. Feature walls and columns using up and down lighters, use downlights or spotlights in concealed spaces to invisibly light surfaces, light your paths and gardens, and spotlights under your trees. All this can turn a dark house into an oasis and make you the envy of the neighbourhood.
Your outdoor lights can be your first defence from undesirables. Using sensor lights around the perimeter of your property can scare away would-be thieves and alert you to someone’s presence. If you have all entrances on the ground floor covered by sensor lights, you will make your house a lot safer. Combine this with a CCTV system and Burglar Alarm, and the average criminal will walk straight past your place when scoping for a target.
Outdoor lighting can also be used to light paths, stepping stones, stairs, retaining walls, and just about any other hazard you may have around your house. Keep your family and guests safe by eliminating the accidents that can happen when steps and paths are dark or poorly lit.
Outdoor Lighting Tips
Ambient Lighting – This is normal lighting that we all understand and have used all our lives. Typically, in an outdoor area, it will be Downlights and LED panels designed to light up all the corners of the space. These lights should be dimmable and natural white in colour temperature, around 4500K.
Accent Lighting – This is how we show off not only our Outdoor area, but also our architecture, pool, and gardens. Spotlights, Up/Down Lights, LED Strips, Deck uplighters, Step and Path Lights, and Bollard Lights in the gardens can achieve an amazing look for your home. Generally, the accent lighting can be on 1 or a few circuits, and should mostly be cool white (6000K) with a small amount of warm white (3000K) layered in.
Task Lighting – Task lighting is localised to the area you need it. So in the Outdoor Kitchen it generally means Downlights over the benches and BBQ. Dimming is not essential but could add to the ambience of the room, and colour temperature would normally be cool (6000K) to natural (4500K).
Outdoor lighting is another area that can be greatly enhanced by a lighting control system such as C-Bus or Dynalite. Architectural lighting would usually be set by a schedule to turn on at dusk and off at 10pm, to make it worry free. Your entertaining area would benefit from ‘press of a button’ scenes to switch between different moods at different periods of an evening. Motion sensors are the key to security lighting but can also make your house easier to live in. Open your garage door on return to your home and the garage lights come on and light a path to the Kitchen/Living area. The sensors can even be programmed to do different things depending on what time of night it is, whether the alarm is on or off, if you are away on holidays.
Use 3 types of lighting – Ambient, Task, and Accent
Dimmers with dimmable lights should be used for the ambient lighting, but nor required for accent and safety/security lighting
Layer the types of lights for different functions
Invest in lighting control to further improve your awesome outdoor lighting
As Australian we invest good money and time into making our outdoor spaces look amazing, lets light them to make them look and live even better.