Café lights, patio lights, landscape lighting, area lighting and security lighting, oh my! What should I pick? Where should they go? How will they turn on? How will they turn off? Will it match my house?
NO worries! Arnold Electric has been helping clients answer these questions and identify all of their outdoor lighting needs and wants as long as we have been in business. Read along for some helpful tips when planning your next outdoor lighting project.
Decorative style outdoor lighting is a great way to bring a new energy and look to the outside space you want to illuminate.
For example, a front porch light is standard on most homes and can be changed with a wide variety of different style lights to give you a new look at the front door for coming and going. Coach lights on a garage or a fence post in the front yard are more great examples of decorative outdoor lighting.
Outdoor lighting styles vary from home to home. Some might be an industrial looking light fixture, such as a gooseneck fixture, that you see lighting up signs on commercial buildings. There are homeowner grade gooseneck fixtures that can add a really custom look to your home or outdoor area. Gooseneck fixtures come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
Another option might be “jelly jar” lights – a glass fixture encased by metal rods. The jelly jar lights are a clean industrial look that are super functional and will last a really long time.
Landscape lighting is in a class of its own! It can serve several functions: curb appeal, security lighting, and you can get super decorative with landscape lighting. There is a large variety of landscape lighting that can give you a very high-end, custom feel to any outdoor lighting project.
A popular project is recessed landscape lights in your retaining wall, or in your stairs, leading to your front door or pathway lighting. And let’s not forget how awesome landscape lighting looks when it’s illuminating a large tree in your yard!
Security, motion, and area lighting are other forms of exterior lighting that are cost effective and functional, yet less attractive in a decorative sense. You want to consider reliability when choosing which fixtures to select for these types of applications.
Home improvement center light fixtures may work out of the box but will not last as long as other options available to you. In this application, you may just want to have your electrical contractor select these fixtures for you from one of their suppliers.
Switching Lighting On/Off
Finally, how will they turn on and off? A regular wall switch will do the job, but if you want more options and control, you can have that too. A “dusk to dawn sensor”, also known as a photocell, will automatically turn your lights on when the sun goes down, and then turn your lights off when the sun comes up.
Maybe you live in a condo building and have many outdoor lights that you need to turn on at the same time. In this case, you’d use a time clock light switch to control a sequence of lights.
Lastly is an Arnold Electric favorite – smart switches that work with an internet connection and a smart phone app. On your smart phone app, you can turn the lights on and off or use the smart switch on the wall.
You can also use the app as a time clock to turn lights on and off at a certain time. Already in bed and don’t want to run downstairs to turn the lights off? Just pull your phone out, open up your smart switch app and press “off”. It’s that easy!
Do you need help walking through your outdoor lighting needs with a licensed electrician? Give Arnold Electric Services a call at 773-647-1120.
– Jack Arnold