Press "Enter" to skip to content

How to Layer Your Outdoor Lighting

Your outdoor lighting has a lot of purposes to fulfill. It should make your home look great in the dark. Curb appeal is a big deal and when your home has it, everyone takes notice. That is just as important when the sun goes down as when it’s up and your home deserves to be put in the best light possible.

But your outdoor lighting should also provide plenty of safety and security for you and your family. The right outdoor lighting installation should be done so that everyone can see in the dark when using a deck or patio or simply enjoying the backyard during those balmy evenings in the spring and summer.

Above all perhaps, the best outdoor lighting should give your exterior living space a warm and inviting atmosphere. Safety and security are extremely important but that doesn’t mean you need to place harsh spotlights all around the property. You want a little finesse, some creativity in your lighting scheme.

Which brings us to the topic of layering. Any good lighting scheme should incorporate multiple types of lighting so that you set the right tone. You can bring some subtlety to the equation when you’re creating a lighting scheme that works best. If you want to know how to layer lighting to achieve this effect, here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:

Ambient Lighting

You must create a base layer of lighting if you will. Think of it as the foundation of your lighting scheme. This is the lighting you would rely upon for the most basic of general lighting around the exterior of the property. These can be fixtures placed in an outdoor ceiling area or along the exterior walls of the home.

These lights are intended to be bright enough to allow you to see in the dark but shouldn’t be too much brighter. This is ambient light, nothing more. Consider these fixtures as the lights you could turn on for practicality sake and still be useful if no other lighting was turned on in your yard.

Safety First

Now that you have the ambient lighting worked out, next you want to consider the areas of the outdoors that need some specific lighting to secure the home. These are the safety lights, if you will. The fixtures that are used for the purposes of ensuring that your walkways, stairs, and exterior living spaces have enough illumination so that everyone can see no one is going to miss a step and tumble to the ground because they couldn’t see where they were going.

Accentuate the Positive

You’ve worked out the ambient and safety lighting, now you can dress up the exterior by focusing some accent lighting on certain features of the home itself or the landscaping all around it. These accent fixtures are designed to beautify and enhance certain spaces around the home for that curb appeal that makes your property the envy of the neighborhood. This is a step that should be carefully considered for a successfully layered lighting design. Without it, you haven’t accomplished what you set out to do.