Landscape lighting is an important part of your overall landscape design, but it can do much more than simply highlight your home's architectural features or illuminate outdoor living areas. By installing security landscape lighting, you can take away potential hiding places, ensure that doorways and windows are well lit and ward of people who intend to do harm to a person or property.
Installing functional outdoor lighting that makes your home safer and more secure does not mean that you need to sacrifice the visual appeal of your yard or light every inch of your property. You can have both a beautifully lit yard and a safer home at the same time, particularly if you work with an outdoor lighting professional who can help you achieve a lighting design that is both attractive and functional.
1. Illuminate Your Address:
Making sure your address is well lit. It may not ward off intruders, but it does make your home easier to find. This means that first responders, such as paramedics, police officers or firefighters will be able to more easily find your home and respond to emergencies faster.
2. Light All Doorways:
Doorways are the main entries to your home for both invited and uninvited guests, so making sure your doorways are well lit can help keep the uninvited sort from gaining entry to your home. If potential intruders are unable to hide in the shadows while breaking into your home and fear that your neighbors might see them, they are much less likely to try to enter your home.
3. Use Floodlights to Cover Large Areas:
If you have a large area that needs better lighting, you may be best served by installing a floodlight. This is a popular choice for side yards, above garages and areas that are away from the main house, such as around barns or shops. Floodlights are an easy way to light a large area but it is also easy to create too much illumination with floodlights. Working with a professional landscape lighting installer will help you avoid this, since he or she will be able to make recommendations for your particular situation.
4. Install Downlights for Soft, Overall Illumination:
Floodlights are one downlight option and offer the widest beam, but you can also use narrower downlights to illuminate areas in a more intimate manner or to create a soft, moonlit effect that will enhance the visual appeal of your yard while also warding off intruders.
5. Avoid Dark Corners:
Dark corners are the perfect place for prowlers to hide while they wait for an opportunity to do harm to a person or property. By strategically casting light in previously dark corners, you can help deter crime and make your outdoor living areas more comfortable for you and your guests. For example, if you live outside of the city and have a large backyard, even if your outdoor living areas are well lit, you and your guests may not like spending time there because someone or something could be lurking in the darkness beyond the light.
6. Adjust Lighting to Avoid Shadows:
Corners are not the only dark areas offering cover in most yards; shadows cast by shrubs, trees, walls and fences also provide handy hiding spots. You may need to install additional lights to cast light on these areas, but you also may be able to simply adjust the landscape lighting you already have to avoid shadows.
7. Uplight Trees with Strong Branches:
If you have climbable trees near upper-story windows, balconies or rooftops, install uplights to illuminate the branches. Strong trees provide an easy way for folks with bad intentions to access windows and other potential points of entry.
8. Include Motion Detector Lights:
There are some areas that you may not want to light all night long but that should be lit when people approach. For convenience, this might include your parking area or doorway, which allows you to see the way from your car to your home when you arrive after dark. In terms of home security, you will want to light these areas as well as others, such as gates providing access to your backyard or side entrances. Using motion-detecting lights allows you to illuminate those areas as needed without having them lit all the time. This can save energy and may help you avoid annoying your neighbors with bright lights in side yards.
9. Avoid Light Pollution:
While we are on the topic of trying not to annoy your neighbors with bright lights shining through their windows at night, it is also a good time to talk about light pollution. Some areas have dark sky ordinances that provide guidelines regarding how and for how long you can light your yard at night. However, even in areas that do not yet have dark sky ordinances, it is best to be a good neighbor and citizen by doing your part to limit light pollution. This may mean taking care with uplights to ensure that they do not light up the sky or ensuring that your floodlights only illuminate the desired area and do not spill out into the street or your neighbor's yard. Keep in mind that more is not necessarily better and, in most cases, there is no need to light up your entire property like a compound. When installing security landscape lighting, it is best to work with an outdoor lighting professional who can recommend the number and best types of lights for your project.
10. Do Not Rely on Solar for All-Night Light:
Solar landscape lighting is a fantastic choice for many projects and allows you to save money, conserve energy and place lights without concerns about transformers and wires. However, most solar-powered lights will not remain lit throughout the night. This means that it is generally fine to use them in outdoor living areas where you entertain until 1:00 or 2:00am, but you may see find yourself in darkness by the time 4:00am comes around. This means that, while solar lights are great for many uses, they are not the best choice for corners, doorways or areas that you want to keep lit throughout the night to ward off intruders.
The exception to this is with motion detector landscape lighting. While some folks may prefer a more trustworthy option to help ensure there will be light when it is needed the most, modern solar-powered motion detector lights can be part of a security landscape lighting plan.