Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Best Exterior Lighting

Exterior task lighting primarily provides safe night time access, around front door, garden paths and pool areas.The old large-sourced ambient lighting, (like multiple high wattage filament globes or spotlights) should be avoided.

There are now many other more energy efficient and effective choices. Small 12V 10 watt halogen fixtures over or near the front door or along a path or staircase, will light enough of the traffic area to allow safe passage. The new extreme low wattage LED lights will do the same thing even more efficiently.

Path lighting is best mounted on a wall or post, well below eye level, so that the source at no point blinds the traveller. Any close light source at night has a tendency to blind because the eye’s pupil has adjusted wide open to very low levels.

When this task lighting is augmented with some feature lighting, (accenting particular plants, water features, stone walls), the path to the house becomes a passage of discovery.

Unlike interior rooms, the garden generally does not have a ceiling, so most fixtures would be mounted in the ground, providing up-lighting for plants and walls. While exterior feature lighting can be very attractive, one must be energy conscious and selective when deciding what to light. Not the entire garden needs to, or should be, lit up.

Also consider how the exteriors lights impact on the neighbours. Some people (possible rightly) think that excess garden lighting is light pollution. Infrared sensors that turn lights on when needed are a worthwhile consideration.

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