How to Design Exterior Lighting

Exterior Lighting Design by The Perfect Light

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Did you know that exterior lighting enhances the outlook of your garden plants, hardscapes, and outdoor antiques such as pergolas and arbors? In fact, nothing adds that overnight exotic look to your home better than perfectly designed exterior lighting. It enhances security and adds drama, allure, and beauty to your home whenever the sun goes down. It is a must-have if you are after a complete home.

Wondering how to design exterior lighting for your home? Worry no more as this article covers all there is to know on the topic.

What Do You Need Before Designing Your Exterior Lighting?

Before you get started on your project, it is wise to develop a clear road map that will guide you to the end. First, you have to draft a sketch of your desired exterior lighting design. Having a sketch in mind will help you acquire the right tools and equipment needed for your project. You can list these necessities down to reduce the hassle of going back and forth to the store.

What should your strategy include?

  • The lighting technique that suits your budget and your home design
  • Your power source
  • Types of bulbs and lighting fixtures
  • The designated areas that need exterior lighting; should be accurate.

Where to Fit Exterior Lights?

Sometimes you might be oblivious of the necessity for exterior lighting in critical areas of your home. But unfortunately, this puts your family members at risk of injuries and denies your home a natural exotic aesthetics past sundown. 

Here are some key areas to consider when designing exterior lighting:


Exteriors lights illuminate your driveways, minimizing the risk of injuries while giving them an attractive appearance in darkness.

Exterior Lighting Design by The Perfect Light

Verandas and Front Yards Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting on the front yard and verandas make your home more inviting. However, these positions require adequate illumination with a touch of color, making wall bracket exterior lighting an ideal choice.

Backyard Exterior Lighting

Backyards are usually larger than front yards and require more illumination. You can use floodlights that blend in with the surrounding vegetation and lawns. Well-lit backyards discourage intruders.

Garage Exterior Lighting

This is a no-brainer. Your garage area should have exterior lighting to avoid accidents and burglary. Accent and spotlighting exterior lighting techniques work best on garages.

Pool Area Exterior Lighting

If you have a pool area in your home, you can add some pool exterior lighting aesthetics to your backyard using pool fountain lighting to bring out the dramatic underwater refracted light.

Pathway Exterior Lighting

If you don’t want your family members and guests to trip over pathway pavements after dark, you must have your pathway exterior lights appropriately fixed. Pathway lights prevent accidents and bring out the pavement décor of your yards at night.

Which Exterior Lighting Technique Should You Use?

Once you have selected the areas to fix your exterior lights, you may now choose the appropriate technique that suits your design. 

Here is a sneak peek into popular exterior lighting techniques: 

Exterior Lighting Design by The Perfect Light

Silhouetting Exterior Lighting Technique

The silhouetting technique works best in the backyard and front yard with overgrown shrubbery. It involves placing the lights below or behind the shrubbery to create scattered shadows.

Accent Exterior Lighting Technique

Accented exterior lights focus on a small area of your garden or yard, creating small light islands in your home’s exteriors. You can, for example, focus accented lights on shrubs, flower beds, or bare soil.

Pool/fountain Exterior Lighting Technique

If you have a pool area or a front yard water fountain, some waterproof exterior lighting can transform your home’s typical outlook into a replica of a 5-star rated Vegas hotel. Additionally, you can use underwater lights or the pool surface to reflect and disperse light around your pool area.

Feel free to explore other lighting techniques such as area lighting, uplighting, downlighting, moonlighting, and cross lighting.

How to Design Your Exterior Lighting in 4 Easy Steps

Here is a step-by-step guide on designing exterior lighting for your home from scratch! 

Step 1: Know the Goal of Your Lights

First, consider what you want to achieve with your lights. Begin determining whether you want security lights or aesthetic lights. These choices determine the types of exterior lighting fixtures needed and their installation techniques. Pinterest is a good resource to brainstorm and clarify your lighting goals. You can group your favorite ideas into separate boards before deciding what to go with. 

Step 2: Pick Your Focal Points 

This is where our experts come in, as there is more to picking focal points than just identifying dark corners in your home. You have to consider power source, shade, and light ambiance. Remember, security lights require ample open space free of obstruction, while shadows add an aura to aesthetic lights. The Perfect Lights company expert will consider all this and help you make the right choices.

Step 3: Pick a Lighting Technique

Each focal point may require a unique technique. For instance, you can pick underwater lighting for your pool area and moonlight lighting for your backyard.

You should take care of these three steps before purchasing any exterior lighting materials hence the need to seek professional guidance.

Step 4: Let us Bring Your Sketch to Life

Once you have everything set, you can allow us to turn your ideas into reality. Experts from The Perfect Lights are experienced in installing exterior lighting fixtures in homes and businesses. They better understand the difference between aesthetic and security exterior lights and how to install each of them. Here are a few things to keep in mind, though:

Exterior Lighting Design by The Perfect Light

The electrician will help you choose between the two standard exterior lighting systems on the market, the 120V, and the 12V systems during the installation process.

Additionally, The Perfect Light experts will help determine the correct spacing for your exterior lights. The spacing limits vary depending on the lighting technique and your preferences. However, closely spaced fixtures may cause light overlaps, while widely spaced ones will leave scattered dark spots in your home.

Finally, we will look at the wire runs and power supplies while mapping out your focal points. Is there a safe power source connected to that specific point? If not, we will work out a way of connecting the area to a power source.

Final Thoughts

Designing exterior lights for your home might seem like a straightforward process on paper, but there are little dit bits that, if overlooked, may bring the entire project down. Therefore, it is wise to have a professional proofread your design before implementation and get wholesome insights into areas needing improvement. Get in touch with professional outdoor lighting and landscape experts today and get guidance on the best way to give your home a world-class exterior lighting design.

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