Beauty, Function and Value from Outdoor Lighting

Function

The most basic thing outdoor lighting can do is show you and visitors where things are. That's why the most common lighting fixture location is right by the front door or over the driveway leading to the garage. Other doorways may also benefit from being easily seen.

Exterior lighting can also extend the nighttime space in which you live. Patios and decks become places where you and guests can sit or mingle.

Another function of outdoor lighting is security. Well lit grounds do not make attractive targets for burglars. Motion sensitive lights may prove an economical way of providing this security in areas that wouldn't benefit from constant lighting.

Good lighting also provides extra safety for you and your visitors. You can light tripping hazards such as tree roots and walkway steps. If you have a pool, it helps to light that as well. This will not only provide much-needed safety, but beauty.

Beauty

Indeed, it's not as though beauty and function have to be in competition. The most functional lights can, with a little experimentation, be set up in a way that looks attractive.

Outdoor lighting can highlight the look of your home and tie it all together. An attractive tree or bush can be brought into focus or a flag can be highlighted. Lighting the walkway up to your front door can provide not only safety but a pleasing line for the eye to follow.

When going for beauty, sometimes less is more. If you highlight everything, in effect you're highlighting nothing. So you will need to decide what are your home's most striking features and emphasize those.

Value

Beyond beauty and function, well-chosen outdoor lighting adds value. You may pay $5,000 to have a professional install the lighting. But if it's well-placed and durable, you could likely recoup that cost when it comes time to sell.

This means, in choosing lighting, you want to look to the future. Choose fixtures that are likely to prove durable for the environment in which you live. Stainless steel fixtures may prove the best for those who live in salty, ocean air. Elsewhere, brass may be the best bet for durability as well as look.

Cheaper fixtures will have comparatively shorter lifespans. But even the best-crafted components will only last between 5 and 10 years. Some landscapers and installers will guarantee their work for that timeframe. The cost and effort of replacement should be considered when purchasing and placing outdoor lights.

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