Even in the best neighborhoods, some things go bump in the night. Raccoons and other nocturnal creatures that want to feast on your garbage. Bad actors looking for unlocked doors and windows.
The darkness hides these activities and puts your property at risk. It’s why many homeowners choose to cast a little lighting on their landscape.
There’s a misconception that lighting your landscape for security means installing floodlights everywhere. But let’s face it: washing out your landscape in brilliant, blinding light might be a good security deterrent, but it’s not flattering for your property.
Thankfully, it’s possible to light for both security and aesthetics. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Low light is an effective deterrent
Homeowners don’t need to compromise aesthetics for security. Blinding floodlights aren’t very attractive, nor are they more effective at deterring unwanted visitors.
It’s possible to find ambient lighting you love that’s both flattering and protective. Consider lamp-style lights that emanate a soft glow or low-intensity directional lighting that casts a swath of illumination. When it comes to these types of fixtures, a little bit goes a long way.
Low light also adds subtle accents to a nighttime landscape. Homeowners can use gentler lighting to outline pathways or the yard’s perimeter.
A few well-placed fixtures can increase curb appeal while setting clear boundaries for potential intruders.
Remember: any light can turn thieves away, so you might as well choose designs that help the landscape look its best at night!
Light for lifestyle first, then supplement for security
While it’s important to prepare for any scenario, homeowners should prioritize their use of outdoor spaces over security.
A thief might never step foot on your property; however, guests and household members inhabit this space every day.
Light the landscape in a way that accommodates your lifestyle, not your fears. Here again, motion-sensor floodlighting is rarely the answer.
Think about what types of activities your family enjoys after dark. Maybe you love to host outdoor dinner parties that go well into the evening?
Use sconces around your outdoor kitchen or market lighting overhead, to create ambiance. Perhaps the kids love roasting marshmallows on summer nights?
Explore built-in hardscape lighting to illuminate the path to the fire pit. Look for ways to complement your lifestyle with outdoor lighting and you’ll quickly find that security is a built-in secondary benefit.
Lighting for functional safety also create security
Trespassers aren’t the only safety concern you face after dark. Homeowners are far more likely to encounter all sorts of landscape hazards at night. Not only does lighting deter thieves, but it also helps illuminate your path.
Install task lighting along walkways, especially steps that lead up to a deck or front entrance. Lining driveways with low lights can also prevent collisions with trash bins or the neighborhood cat.
Functional lighting establishes boundaries not just for trespassers, but for your family as well. This is especially important for homeowners with houses on the water.
Consider low light along the shore, so anyone staying close to the water can see the water line—even when it’s pitch-black outside. Likewise, task lighting makes a smart addition to pools. An illuminated perimeter helps you keep an eye on small children or pets who aren’t strong swimmers.
Uplighting and downlighting safeguard your premises
Uplighting casts a focused ray of light on landscape features in a way that doesn’t wash out the entire yard. The lights are installed on the ground and point upwards to illuminate trees, statues, or fountains.
Uplighting is attractive from the street view, and it also prevents trespassers of both the human and animal varieties. No one wants to get caught silhouetted in a concentrated beam of accent lighting.
The same goes for downlighting. Point mounted lights downward and dim the brightness to create a softer glow and a more intimate setting.
Instead of blasting the entire lawn, place downlighting in shadowy areas to reduce the number of hiding spots for potential intruders. Soft, well-placed downlighting creates a cozy atmosphere while turning troublemakers away.
Landscape lighting can serve dual functions
Lighting your landscape doesn’t need to be exclusive to aesthetics or security. It should be inclusive of both. You can light for nightlife activities and keep trespassers away.
You can light for functional safety while deterring bad actors. And, most important, you can light to show off your property’s unique appeal after dark, while keeping it safe until the sun comes up again.
Keep security and ambiance in mind when considering a landscape lighting strategy and explore outdoor fixtures that illuminate both.