Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Choosing outdoor lighting

No outdoor lighting fixture can perform all jobs equally. Among the many available styles, each serves a function to complete the larger picture of a complementary lighting scheme. The only limits to choosing the right fixtures are the power sources.

Outdoor lighting: which power source?

They include solar, hard-wired electric, low-voltage electric, and natural or propane gas. Gas fixtures are a somewhat limited but growing market. Many manufacturers can custom-design or refurbish antique fixtures as well.

Outdoor lighting: safety, security and placement

When shopping, the various aesthetic and practical needs should be evaluated, including safety, security, and placement. In addition, the size and design of the lights should match the acreage and footprint of the home. A two-story colonial, for instance, might require massive, carriage-style wall mounts while Mission-designed post lights could complement a country cottage. Safety while outdoors is essential, and pathway lights will provide proper downlighting without creating glare. Low-voltage fixtures allow for more flexibility as they can be rearranged to suit the occasion, from lining a walkway or drive to creating a temporary path for a back yard pool party. Security lights are focused and bright, often with a timer or motion sensor attached. Landscape fixtures will also be designed to provide focus and ambient lighting for trees, sculptures, water features, entertainment, and play activities.

Outdoor lighting: which style/design to choose?

Thousands of outdoor lighting fixtures are manufactured across a broad range of architectural styles. Standard choices of fixtures can be wall-mounted, attached to posts or pedestals, or suspended as pendants. Landscape fixtures are typically sheathed in a variety of materials to create an unlimited selection of lighting capabilities. A few choices include uplighting cones for trees, down lights for sculptures and tasks, ambient twinkling light strings, and shaded or tulip styles that spread light outward for a warmer glow. Tiered fixtures are typically seen in the contemporary landscape and along walkways. Whimsical designs include faux rocks and stepping stones along with fun animal and floral shapes. Brass, aluminum, and copper add formality, while wrought iron or pewter lighting enclosures can be casual, traditional, or contemporary. Some fixtures feature wire cages to protect the bulbs. Flat or domed styling is appropriate for decks, docks, and posts or steps, while flush mounts are recommended for entryways with a low ceiling height. Outdoor lighting fixtures are also a matter of personal taste and that is what ultimately pulls together the nighttime silhouette of a home.

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