7 Things You Need to Know about Outdoor Lights

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Humans have been hard at work on improving outdoor lighting since…fire. If you’re looking for something a little more modern than fire, and you’re overwhelmed by all the choices, read this. This article is lit.

Outdoor Lights Colour Temperature

Outdoor lights exist on a spectrum between warm orange-white and cool blue-white. Here’s a helpful table that will tell you what outdoor light works best in common situations:

  • Outdoor Entertaining Lights: 2000K-3000K
  • Security Lights: 5000K – 6000K
  • Spotlights: 5000K – 6000K
  • Plant and Feature lights: 2000K – 9000K
  • Wall lights: 1000k – 10,000K

To find the best outdoor light for your application, work out what colour light you need.

Cool blue-white light (3000k – 6000k) is great for seeing.

if you drop a small screw on the garage floor, a cool blue light will help you find it faster than an orange-white light.

That being said, cool-blue white light is a terrible colour to sip a shiraz to in the backyard. If all you need to see is the cheese plate, orange-white light and the neutral colours in the middle are a more suave selection.

Light has palet. You choose the colour of light like you choose the colour of a wall. Done right it can set the mood and the hue of a space.

Outdoor Lights Obstacles

A really good place to use outdoor lights is at the top of a staircase. You know? Just in case.
light up uneven terrain. If you’ve a nasty tree stump, a retaining wall, a pipe that sticks out the ground, make it glow like the syrups of lycra wearing cyclists on a busy city road.

And you can’t just think about yourself here. It’s your house, you’ve learnt where the landmines are. Where are your friends and their ill-raised children going to slip and fall?

It’s hard to open pool gates in the dark and it’s unpleasant walking long distances at night and stepping into the unknown. Toads, dog poos, snakes and bindies, they’re all waiting for you. It’s not a question of when. It’s a question of will it be squishy or painful underfoot. Outdoor lights are how you tame your domestic environment. Show the darkness who’s boss.

Solar Lights are your Easiest Option for Outdoor Lighting

Solar lights are the cheapest and easiest outdoor lighting solution there is. They are automatic, dawn to dusk lights which cost nothing to run, are environmentally friendly and dead simple to install.

If you need light in the back of your garden, do you want to go to the trouble of digging a trench and running power? If not, you should seriously consider solar lights.

Perfect for lighting paths, or as I like to call them solar runways. They are environmentally friendly, save you money on electricity, and you don’t need to remember to turn them on at night or off before you go to sleep.

There’s more to solar lights than those big glowing pegs you push into the grass too. Look into solar garden lanterns! Cool right? Big glowing solar orbs are a great light feature, and there are dangling solar lights that twirl in the trees and throw beautiful shadows now.

Outdoor Lights can Showcase your Plants

Plants and lights turn your backyard into a sexy oasis of colour and shadows. Here’s how to do it well.

Use slightly cooler temperatures to illuminate plants. (3000k-4000k) is a very neutral colour that can light up dense foliage and adopt the natural colours of the nature.

Choose the right plants to illuminate. Plants with stick-ly branches don’t tinge the light that natural green as well as a clump of bamboo or a fern. Love a good fern. Light up the bushy plants for best results. It’s also common to light plants and garden beds from below or use wall lights behind them or solar lights underneath them.

There’s one more thing you need to check. Not all plants will respond well to inconsistent light cycles. Have a Google and do some botany to work out if your light will kill your plants. And pay attention to the heat your lights are giving off. A hot lamp too close to the plant can singe the leaves.

I know I’m droning on about how great they are, but solar lights are a very easy way to light plants and garden beds, and they don’t get hot which ensures the health of your plants. You also don’t need to dig up your garden bed and put your plants at risk to install them.

Don’t go Overboard with your Outdoor Lights or Disturb the Neighbours

If flicking a switch feels like a slap in the face and someone’s transition lenses darken black, you’ve overdone the lights.

This is happening more and more nowadays. People underestimate the power of the compact exterior lights on the market and end up with too many lumens.

It’s unnecessary, there are some fairly straightforward lighting formulas that you can follow to ensure that you get it right.

Basically, one Lux (lx) is equal to one lumen per square meter. For outdoor lighting, you want to aim for between 20 to 50 lux. This is ambient level light. Dimmer than your kitchen, or your bedroom. Outdoor light is of equal brightness to a standing lamp in the corner of a room. It’s as bright as a fireplace.

Dim lighting is relaxing and romantic, it won’t interfere with your feature lit areas and outdoor lighting design elements. And most importantly will keep the bugs away.

Some modern lights, including solar lights and LEDs can be naturally dimmed with remote control.

Different Lighting Options Attached to Different Switches

If you’re sitting there trying to decide between two great outdoor lighting configurations, there’s a very obvious solution. Have you considered a switch?

A switch doesn’t just turn on and off. A switch can be used to save different lighting configurations. What am I talking about? Have one switch for the plants and outdoor sitting area and another for the big spotlight in the backyard. You can have two rows of energy-saving LEDs that you flick on to do the cooking in your outdoor kitchen and a more casual single switch for two calmer lights when it’s time to eat.

Outdoor Lights can Help or Hinder your Home Security

Everyone knows that lights are a security essential, but they only work if you set them up correctly. The standard suburban motion-sensing spotlight will keep the baddies away, just make sure you don’t point it back at your house or window. Aside from it’s super annoying when a bright light wakes you up, a light shining back at you creates glare which can reduce visibility. Studies have shown that criminals are aware of this and exploit it. Your security lights could literally be blinding you.

Outdoor security lights are still a good idea. A 2019 study in New York City found that the provision of street lights, an important type of security lighting, resulted in a “36 per cent reduction in nighttime outdoor index crimes. In West Sussex adding night, lights increased crime 55% while making people feel safer. What I take away from that, is that it’s not as cut and dry as get light and you’re automatically safe. You need to be a little clever to build an effective deterrent.

While we are on the subject, have you considered locking your meter box? I know, it’s so paranoid, but it’s seriously such a small inconvenience to unlock it that one time you trip the switch a year and yet it prevents any criminals from switching off your power while you’re asleep or away on holiday.

Another solution for outdoor security lights is to try to give the impression that someone’s always home. A well placed solar light will use no electricity but placed in the right spot it’s a fantastic deterrent for evil.

Let’s wrap this up

I hope this article has been illuminating and has shone a light on some of the important considerations for outdoor lighting. If you need any help with anything we’ve discussed, colours, lumens, or you want to hear more about how solar lights are bloody awesome, click here to contact us. We love good yarn and would be happy to answer any questions.