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Patio Lighting: A DIY Guide
If you own a patio and you don’t have a great patio lighting design you are missing out on what can be a versatile, extra room for your home! The best part about this is that installing great outdoor patio lighting doesn’t have to be hard or require the touch of a landscape architect. Most homeowners can install great lighting on their patio within the space of a weekend. Here are some tips for you so that you can install your patio lights quicker than you can grill a burger!
Choosing How to Power Your Lights
The first decision that you will need to make is what are you going to use to power your lights. You have three main choices, standard voltage lighting, low voltage lighting, and solar lighting. Standard voltage lighting is the hardest to use because it can be dangerous to run new wires and will many times require experience or a licensed electrician to make sure that it is done safely. On the “bright” side, these lights are the most powerful and will light a larger area and scare away criminal easier. However, they are often too bright to set the right mood to entertain.
On the other side of the coin, you have low voltage lights. These lights run on a low voltage circuit from a transformer on the side of your house. The power cords are entirely shockproof so you don’t have to worry about burying the cables, just hiding them so they are not tripped over. These lights are dimmer than the standard voltage lights, which doesn’t make them great for security lighting but makes them great for setting a mood.
Another great way to install lights is by installing solar patio lighting. These lights are very easy to install and come with an included solar panel that charges them during the day so they can give you some great light at night. Unfortunately, the lower end solar patio lights tend to be more unreliable and give off a weaker light. If you are planning on installing solar lights, make sure you opt for a quality brand.
Choosing Your Light Fixtures
Ideally, your lights should make it easy to navigate your home at night, provide safety and security, and also create a welcoming atmosphere. These are sometimes competing interests, so you need to find flexible light fixtures.
Combining the use of standard voltage light fixtures and either low voltage or solar powered lights can create some great effects and make sure your patio is well-lit. For example, installing a flood light such as the Heath Zenith Halogen Motion-Sensing Flood Light pictured on the left above areas where you plan to place a barbeque grill or where there are steps can provide you with the light you need to cook or move around outside at night. Hooking it to a motion sensor can even help to turn the light on and off when you need it. Once you’re on your patio you will want some softer lights to set a better mood. Fixtures like this Intermatic Low Voltage Bollard Light can help provide you with a soft, ambient glow you can entertain guests with. Then, if you still need a little bit more light, you can grab a few of these Smart Solar Solar Dragonfly Light, pictured below, to place on your tables where they will cast a nice glow with dragonflies as part of the shadows. Solar umbrella lights are another great option to add some quick and easy light.
Installing the Lights
The most important part of installing your patio lights is making sure that they provide the illumination that you want, but they don’t blind people by shining into their eyes. For this reason, always install any lights that you are placing on the side of your house over seven feet up. Lights installed on the ground should all be below two off the ground and should not shine directly up if they are a spotlight.
Another great tool you can use in your lighting plans is light shields. These are simply fittings around a light that directs the light. However, they are very powerful because they put the light right where you want it, so you can install lights in more locations without having to worry about it blinding people.
Finding and installing outdoor patio lighting is a great way that you can increase the safety, security, and appeal of your backyard. The greatest part about it is almost any homeowner can install some kind of patio lighting over a simple weekend if they put their mind to it!
Check out these products featured in this article and a few other top picks to start installing some patio lighting on your property today.