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Checklist When Buying Outdoor Lighting

Picking good outdoor lighting can be a real challenge. It’s hard to know exactly what to look for. I recently walked several neighborhoods in Nashville with an expert outdoor lighting designer discussing lighting design for that home. Outdoor lighting design is an art but here are a couple key objectives to consider when selecting outdoor lighting for your home:

  • Width
  • Height
  • Depth
  • Texture


One of the first things to consider in your outdoor lighting design is how to elongate the width of your home. This has two key benefits. From an aesthetic perspective, outdoor lighting makes your home sing at night. So you want to show it off from end to end. But, even more importantly, you want to make sure to have light at the far ends of your home’s facade on both sides. Intruders are much less likely to hide or move in illuminated areas than in darkened areas.


The next thing to consider is showing the full height of your home. Good outdoor lighting reaches the peaks of your roof line to really show off your home at night. After all, outdoor lighting is an investment in aesthetics as well as in safety and security. Your home’s facade may have multiple peaks in the form of dormers, or a multi-tiered facade. Make sure your lighting illuminates each of those peaks. Sometimes this can be done with one light or sometimes you may need an extra light or a light elevated off the ground to accomplish this lighting objective. Take a look at how each of the 3 peaks of this home are illuminated giving height to this home.


Porches and balconies serve a functional purpose but they also add dramatically to the facade of your home by giving it depth. Dormers and other architectural features do the same. Your outdoor lighting design should cast light from different areas so as to allow these features to be pronounced and therefore to make your home look even better at night. See how the unique architectural features of this home, illuminated, give great depth and warmth to this evening illumination.


Textured walls are all the rage now. On the outside of your home, the subtle textures of the brick on your chimney or small architectural details of your home’s facades, when illuminated, really make your home pop at night. Illuminating these details gives warmth to your outdoor illumination and invites guests to feel at home.

Extend your architectural lighting to include your landscape lighting

Take a look at how the landscape lighting and architectural lighting on this home come together. The landscaping extends forward from the home giving the perfect opportunity to show it off at night while adding to the lighting depth.

Take a test drive

Ask for a night-time demo. This way you can see what you’ll be getting, why it’s designed that way, and even work with the lighting designer to fine tune and tweak your lighting design for the best overall presentation. When they come out, tell them about your safety concerns, how you use your yard at night and what you would like better illuminated for your outdoor living and outdoor needs at night. Reputable companies will look forward to this, welcome it, and be willing to invest their time before you make your investment.