When it comes to outdoor home lighting, there are some tricks to getting it right. Done properly, and it can both look beautiful and keep your home and family safe. Done improperly, and it can not only be an eyesore but a hazard too. Here are five tips you should know so your outdoor home lighting is done safely.

Plan for Safety & Security

Outdoor home lighting can transform your yard and make it a beautiful place to enjoy during the summer. But including task lighting in your yard can help to make it a safe and secure place. Thieves and vandals are less likely to make an attempt on a well-lit home so consider adding motion sensor lights around your entire home.

Any area with stairs or other hazards should be well lit to keep family members and guests safe. Depending on your personal style, there are many attractive options for lighting stairways, paths, and trails. Low walk lights can be installed to illuminate a pathway only instead of lighting up the entire yard, or lanterns can be used to light a larger area. These lights can also be set up on a timer to ensure they are on when needed.

Make Sure to Get Outdoor-Rated Items
A string of lights hung up in a lush, green backyard.

Get outdoor-rated items to make sure your outdoor lighting lasts as long as possible. 

It can easy to go to the store and grab any extension cord for your outdoor patio. But ensuring all your items, from fixtures to lightbulbs and extension cords are outdoor-rated will protect a mishap as well as make sure those items last as long as possible. Even if you’re putting lighting in areas that you think never get wet, you should still ensure a fixture is rated to be in damp locations or say “outdoor” on it. It may still get damp or endure cold and hot temperatures and it needs to be able to withstand it all.

If you’re having trouble finding a standard lightbulb for outdoor use, check the fine print on appliance lightbulbs. If It can survive in an oven or freezer, it will likely survive outdoors!

Don’t Overload a Fixture

Most outdoor home lighting fixtures, whether indoor or outdoor, will have a sticker that says the Maximum Wattage. Whatever the sticker says (60W, 100w, etc.), please respect that. The sticker is there to keep you from plugging in a lightbulb that will overheat the wiring. If you overhead the wiring in the fixture, you’ll damage the insulation on the wires and that isn’t good!

Tree branch with tree leaves hanging down in a backyard in Tennessee.

If there are tree leaves in the way of your lighting, be sure to trim them regularly!

Watch Out for Flammable Materials

When you’re picking good areas for your outdoor home lighting, make sure you watch out for flammable materials. Many lightbulbs generate heat and can ignite some materials and burn easily. Dry plant leaves, tree leaves, and hay will likely catch on fire if you place a light fixture near them. Either clean up the area around where you want the light fixture to go (and keep it clear of debris year-round) or pick a different spot that you won’t have to worry about.

Make Sure to Consider the Long Term

While it’ll be nice to enjoy your beautifully lit yard this summer, your outdoor home lighting will need to handle all types of weather and seasons. When installing your lighting, be sure you have a good idea of what changes your yard goes through, what effect the lighting will have each season, and what plants grow rapidly. Your lighting becomes a part of your yard, so make sure to treat it as such.

Give Your Yard Lighting a Makeover

If you’re looking to spruce up your yard lighting while ensuring it’s done safely and with the utmost care, hire Speck Family Electric to take care of the job for you! Our team of electricians will take the time to make sure it’s done properly. We service those in Sparta, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Crossville, Gallatin, Lebanon, McMinnville, Mount Juliet, Murfreesboro, and Smithville.