Pick the Perfect Outdoor Lighting for Your Home, Patio, Landscape & Lawn

Outdoor lighting comes in many types and styles, making it simple to brighten up your home’s landscaping, set the mood on a patio, and keep your property safe.

New light fixtures and accents are also an economical way to improve the curb appeal of any property.

As electricians, installing outdoor lighting is a regular part of our job. There are thousands of options to choose from, but only a few will meet your goals and fit the style you prefer!

We put together this cheat sheet, so homeowners can narrow down the options and make the call to an electrician even easier.

Types of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor Sconces

Wall Lights (also called sconces) are often used to illuminate the sides of doorways, because they provide ample light. No one wants to fumble for their keys in the dark!

The right type of light fixture can also change the look and feel of your whole home.

Styles: Cylinder, Barn Light, Flush-Mount, Candle, Gooseneck, Lantern

Features: LED, Motion Sensor, Dark Sky Compliant, Energy Star, Dusk-to-Dawn

Common Finishes: Black, White, Bronze, Copper, Silver/Pewter, Gold

Exterior Ceiling-Mounted Lights & Fans

Ceiling Lights are installed directly into the underside of a porch or entryway overhang (often called the Soffit).

On patios, combining a ceiling fan feature with lights is a perfect way to keep air circulating while providing illumination.

When you’re looking at fans to purchase, remember to plan for a fixture that is 8 feet from the floor with at least 18 inches between the walls and the fan blades.

Can I Use Any Ceiling Fan Outside?

Ceiling fans including a moisture rating, so you know what is safe to use outside and inside. Outdoor fans use different materials that are resistant to sun and wind damage. They are also designed to protect electronic components from water, which is a safety/electrocution hazard.

Many fans on the market are indoor/outdoor and suitable for either environment.

Check the specs of your fan and look for these designations:

Dry Rated Ceiling Fans cannot be used outdoors, or in any environment with a lot of moisture.

Damp Rated Ceiling Fans are ideal for places that are sheltered from direct water, rain, or snow exposure. Look for a damp rated fan to install on a screened-in porch or covered patio.

Wet Rated Ceiling Fans are designed to handle locations exposed to rain, ice, and snow. Because of their moisture resistance, they can be installed on all types of patios, decks, verandas, lanais, gazebos, or pergolas.

Styles: Flush Mount, Semi-Flush Mount, LED, Smart Device, Lighted Ceiling Fan, Soffit Lighting, Recessed, Canopy

Common Finishes: Black, Bronze, White, Nickel, Copper, Silver

Landscape Lighting

Outdoor landscape lighting brings focus to specific design elements in your lawn and garden, and also lights walkways around the home.

The right combination of landscape lights enhances the beauty of your home, while also making your overall property safer.

Landscape Lighting Trends

Smart Tech systems allow homeowners to turn on, dim, or turn off different sections of your yard as needed. Being able to control your home’s exterior lighting via a phone, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home is also an additional layer of security when you are away.

LED Lights are a very popular choice for modern homes. LED’s are more economical on your electric bill, last longer, are more durable, and are highly customizable in color.

Types: Path Lights, Deck Lights, Bollards, Spot & Flood Lights, In-Ground Well Lighting, Step Lights, Accent, Hardscape, Post Caps, Uplights

Features: LED Landscape Lighting, Solar, Low Voltage, Smart Lighting

Lighted Lamp Posts

Post lights provide an ambient glow, so they are often placed along pathways, driveways, or the edges of patios.

These types of lights work very well for homes that do not have overhead or street illumination, and where low-to-the-ground options are a tripping hazard. Your guests will appreciate being able to see their way along a driveway or across a lawn safely!

Some posts lights include both the fixture at the top and the post itself. Others are just Post Caps, and would be appropriate on existing pillars of homes.

A licensed electrician is able to run power to the fixture itself, and follow all the proper safety precautions for installing freestanding post lighting.

Types: Single Post, Multi-Path, Hanging, Pier Mount

Shapes: Lantern, Rectangle, Cylinder, Acord, Onion, Globe

Feature: LED, Solar, Dark Sky Compliant, Dusk-to-Dawn

Common Finishes: Bronze, Black, White, Copper, Silver

Hanging Lights

Hanging Lights are not just for the dining and living rooms anymore. In North Texas, it makes sense to turn our patios into additional entertainment spaces and outdoor kitchens.

Outdoor-safe chandeliers, pendant lamps, and hanging lights are an easy way to add style and safety to any porch.

Can I Use Any Indoor Hanging Light On a Veranda?

Much like the ceiling fans we discussed above, all hanging lights have to be able to withstand the moisture of the surroundings.

In the United States, most lighting has been tested and rated by an independent product safety certification organization called Underwriters Laboratories. Products are given a UL Listing that tells you if the fixture is suitable for dry, damp, or wet conditions.

See Underwriters Laboratories Lighting Certification Section Here

Types: Hanging, Pendant, Chandelier, Candle

Feature: LED, Smart Tech, Fan

Common Finishes: Bronze, Black, White, Copper, Silver, Weather-Resistant Wood, Natural Materials

Security Lighting

While often the least exciting part of any outdoor lighting design plan, security lighting is important. The good news is not all security lights are unattractive industrial-looking fixtures slapped up on a wall.

There are so many stylish options in motion sensor lights, flood lights, spot lights, LED-security lights, and wall pack lights.

The main difference between a regular wall sconce and security lighting is the presence of a motion sensor. Motion sensor lighting helps to reduce criminal activity and make the space safer for homeowners and visitors as well.

When looking for back deck, front porch, and above garage door fixtures, search out styles that are attractive and include motion sensor capabilities.

Styles: Cylinder, Barn Light, Flush-Mount, Candle, Gooseneck, Lantern, Spot Light, Flood Light, Wall Pack

Features: LED, Motion Sensor, Dark Sky Compliant, Energy Star, Dusk-to-Dawn

Common Finishes: Black, White, Bronze, Copper, Silver/Pewter, Gold

*Any product links are for example purposes only. JSR Electrical does not receive compensation or promotional consideration from these linked products.

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