Decorative Path Lighting

Decorative path lighting comes in all shapes and sizes. The purpose of these lamps is to shine down on the pathway without any glare in the walker's eyes. As such, path lamps tend to be hooded so that the light doesn't shine upward. The hood should overhang the casing by an inch or two to make sure the light is reflected downward.

Styles

The simplest hood is a flat top over a square casing. This does the job and has a simple charm. Beyond that, hoods come in a variety of conical shapes. Some are the very flattened cones, like Chinese straw hats. Others are far more steeply raked.

You can also find lamps with mushroom shapes, or hoods like upside down bowls. Bells, flowers, pyramids are also available. There are path lamps designed to look like tulips with gracefully curving stems and a bell that hangs over the pathway.

These hoods may sit directly atop their posts. Or they may jut out to one side, allowing them to overhang the path slightly. Some posts may even function as hooks from which the path lamps hang.

The posts themselves can be anywhere in length from 12 to 32 inches and are usually made from the same material as the hoods. They can be made of brass, copper, steel, aluminum or wood and can come polished, in a matte finish, or "aged" and "distressed."

The posts themselves can be anywhere in length from 12 to 32 inches and are usually made from the same material as the hoods. They can be made of brass, copper, steel, aluminum or wood and can come polished, in a matte finish, or "aged" and "distressed."

Features

You may want to look for lamps with high temperature sockets for durability and long lead wires for ease of placement. Hand adjustable control swivels and sprinkler guards will make the lamps easier to direct and maintain.

Price

These lamps can range in price from $30 for the simplest to over $200 for the most ornate. The ornate ones might best be used as an occasional ornament in a line of simpler, less costly lights.

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