When looking to light your outdoor spaces, first deciding on how you are going to use those spaces will dictate what lighting needs are required to properly illuminate the areas at night.

Back yard patio lighting is even more important today because people tend to use their backyards more often making them into California outdoor spaces. We recommend that you install lower lumen output fixtures for even lighting as apposed to one light fixture with a high lumen output as this will create an uncomfortable glary situation. The whole idea is to try and get the outside lumen temperature to equal at least 50% of the interior lumen temperature so as not to create an invisible light barrier between the exterior and interior. This will help to maintain the illusion of the interior space extending out to the exterior area thus helping create one large entertainment space that everyone will enjoy.

When deciding on lighting for the front of your home, try to find light fixtures that enhance the beauty of your home's design during the day yet do not hide the homes appeal at night by over illuminating and creating a harsh visual experience where the home's beauty and features are blocked out because the lighting is too glary. This is especially important if you are staging your home for resale. Potential new home buyers always return to the home at night to see what it looks like before buying. If your home is over lit and they cannot see the house behind the lights, they tend to move on to the next home not realizing that all that needed to be done was to tone down the lumen output of the front lighting. (Curb appeal)

Speaking about curb appeal, as we design interior lighting with layers, so should you try to install layers of lighting on the exterior of your home. You can accomplish this by adding landscape lighting to accent some features of your home's architecture, walkways, walls, ponds, water features, trees, planters, and other interesting exterior objects that you have a place in your outdoor areas. (see “HOW TO LIGHT YOUR EXTERIOR LANDSCAPE” in our Landscape lighting tips.)

Depending on the size of your home, pay attention to fixture sizing. Larger is better than smaller. Most people make the mistake of buying fixtures that are too small for the home. This simple mistake can really diminish the overall look that you were intending. It is always a good practice to take a life-size picture of the fixture and stick it to the exterior wall, stand back and view it from a distance for a couple of days prior to purchasing the lighting. This will save you time and money in the long term.