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Minka Lavery Outdoor

Outdoor Lighting Guide: How to Buy Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Good outdoor lighting fixtures can increase the safety and security of your home, make your house more beautiful, and make you want to spend time outside in the evening. But with so many choices, putting an outdoor lighting plan together can be difficult. We can help you find the perfect fixtures for this or any room in your house.

Sizing Outdoor Wall Lighting and Lanterns

Bigger outdoor lights aren't always better. Use these guidelines for wall lanterns next to your doors.
  • 1 Lantern: The lantern should be 1/3rd the height of the door, with the center of the bulb 66" above the threshold of the door.
  • 2 Lanterns: The lanterns should be 1/4th the height of the door, with the center of the bulbs 66" above the threshold of the door.
  • If you are in doubt between two different sizes, consider the larger size.
Don't be afraid to use outdoor wall sconces on the inside, if it fits the room style. All outdoor wall lighting is UL listed for use in exterior locations.
Lantern Height

Outdoor Chandeliers, Pendants, and Flush Mounts

  • Outdoor flush mount lights may be brighter than other outdoor lights.
  • They need a ceiling to mount to, such as under a porch or other overhang.
  • Consider dimmers for extra flexibility with your outdoor flush lighting.
  • The bottom of outdoor hanging lights should be 6" above the door. Outdoor pendants add a good source of lighting in front of entry areas.
  • Try to coordinate with the style of other exterior fixtures for the best effect. Also, coordinate with the finish of other fixtures as well.
Ceiling Mount

Security Lighting

  • Security lights outside your home can deter burglars and make it easier to identify thieves.
  • Install outdoor security lights out of arm's reach to keep thieves from disabling them.
  • High installations also allow you to focus light downward, preventing light pollution.
  • Lights protect you during recreational activities, to avoid tripping over unseen obstacles.
  • A small floodlight is sufficient lighting for a BBQ grill.
  • Use twin floodlights for an entertainment area.
  • Twin floodlights are good for mounting on corners.
  • There should be at least one light source directed from each side of the house.
  • Stronger beams of light are needed for larger areas, such as basketball courts.
  • Path lights or post mounts keep you on the walkway and enhance shrubs and flowers.
  • Well lit driveways can keep arriving or departing visitors "on course".


Post and Pier Mounts

  • Direct burial outdoor posts usually go between 1' and 2' below the surface.
  • Try to buy the mount and the outdoor post lights all at once from the same manufacturer.
  • Parts from different manufacturers may not be compatible.
  • Not just for "piers", pier mount lighting can go on top of roofs and walls too.
  • Outdoor Post Lights and Pier Mounts can create a classic look for your home.
Post Mount

Dark Sky and Energy Star Options for Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lights can project light upwards when it shouldn't. This is known as light pollution. It hinders astronomers and nocturnal creatures such as bats. The solution to this problem is a light fixture engineered to Dark Sky Lighting specifications. Dark Sky Lighting fixtures have the following attributes:
  • Dark Sky light fixtures are made to minimize or eliminate light that "leaks" upward, restoring the darkness for those who need it, while still providing light downward for you.
  • Dark Sky lighting greatly reduces your ability to visually see the light source eliminating the bright spot seen on non-dark sky lights.
  • Also note that that the average home can be responsible for twice as much greenhouse gas emissions than a car. Energy Star lights can save you money. You can save over $10 a year in energy costs for each light fixture that you replace with Energy Star Lighting.
  • Of course, you can get lights that are both Dark Sky and Energy Star Compliant.
  • Buying lights from the same collection can create a unified look for your house.
Dark Sky