Sep 262014

Patio Lighting - Capitol Lighting

Good outdoor lighting makes it easy to walk around a walkway after dark, ensures safety and security, and creates an inviting atmosphere. Flexibility is important to achieve this.

Ideally, a combination of both standard and low voltage lights should be present in a patio. Standard voltage lighting, such as post lights or under-eave porch lights, provide strong, bright illumination to discourage intruders and allow you to walk around safely without tripping. However, this type of lighting is too glaring for entertaining guests.

Low voltage lights are perfect for this purpose, providing softer illumination for that warm, cozy feel that is just right for most evening activities. If you already have standard voltage lights installed, you can install dimmer switches so that you can adjust the level of lighting whenever necessary. 

Types of Outdoor Lights

It is best to familiarize yourself with the types of light fixtures available for outdoor lighting and their specific lighting effects, so you are able to come up with the best lighting plan for your patio. Here is a list of outdoor lighting fixtures and the type of illumination they provide: 

Path lights: These light fixtures usually have shades that create a broad, downward illumination.
Lantern-type lights: Illuminate paths as well as provides general lighting.
Spotlights or floodlights: These can be swiveled to focus lighting at a particular point, feature, or area of the patio.
Brick lights: Shaped to resemble a patio paver, these are installed within the soil and provide an upward diffused light.
Rope lights: These are strings of small light bulbs that are evenly spaced. Rope lights can be hung from a tree similar to like Christmas lights.
Deck lights: These are fastened to vertical structures like an overhead or a trellis. 

Practical Lighting Option

If you are on a tight budget, there is an affordable option for patio lighting. You can buy a kit that contains about 10 lights, a programmable transformer, cable, and connectors.

Patio Lighting - Capitol Lighting

If you prefer to install a variety of lights or if you don’t like the lights that come in kits, you can purchase the components separately instead. When purchasing a transformer, make sure to check its specs or consult a salesperson to help you select one that is strong enough to supply the needed power to all the lights in your patio. 

Lighting Techniques

When installing patio lights, position them so that they provide illumination without shining into people’s eyes. Place standard-voltage lights higher than 7 feet above the ground and low-voltage lights lower than 2 feet.

Another technique is to use fixtures that provide shielded or diffused lighting or place the lights behind a barrier. Most patios benefit from having a combination of two or three types of lighting. 

Downlighting, or using lights that point downward, gently lights up a patio or walkway. It is also great fir accentuating trees and shrubs. 

Spread lighting uses short downward-spreading lights to light up a path and also to illuminate shrubbery or flowers. For decorative effects, try different colored bulbs. 

Silhouetting is done to highlight the shape of a shrub, bed of flowers, or a tree. Aim a spotlight or floodlight at a wall or fence from close behind plants to achieve this effect.

With these basic guidelines, you can plan your patio lighting without having to spend too much on lighting or hiring a lighting expert.

Joan Silver is a known lighting expert from Capitol Lighting ( and a fan of all things “lighting”. She currently provides customers and designers with robust information on their lighting needs.

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