Designing the landscape around your San Diego area home can involve a lot of moving pieces. You have to think about plant type and placement, seasonal changes, and your exterior home appearance. One factor you may have overlooked though is your driveway lighting.
Driveway lighting can transform the experience of your home at night. Here are some driveway lighting ideas that will improve the look and safety of your home’s exterior.
Why Have Driveway Lighting
There are several reasons that you should install lights along your driveway. For one thing, if you have a long driveway, especially a winding one, having lighting can keep you and your guests from running off the edge of the driveway and onto the lawn at night. Lights can also provide greater security since it will make it harder for anyone to sneak up to your house unseen.
If you welcome guests regularly, having driveway lights can make it easier for them to find your house, as well as providing a more impressive entrance. You can also illuminate good areas for them to park, so you don’t wind up blocked in while they’re visiting. Enhance the landscaping on your property with lighting so that even at night, you’re surrounded by beauty.
Uplighting vs. Downlighting
One decision you will need to make regarding your driveway lighting is uplighting versus downlighting. Uplighting can illuminate your driveway area while also helping to highlight interesting architectural or landscape features. If you have any trees, landscaping, or other features you want to show off, this can be a great option.
If you have a lot of trees on your property and you want to create a more directionless glow on your driveway, you may want to look into downlighting. Rather than having lights positioned on the ground, this method places lights in trees. The lights shine down on your driveway, creating a lovely moonlit glow to light your way home.
One great driveway lighting option, especially if you have a long driveway, is to set posts or pillars at the end. This does a couple of things. For one, they add a sense of decorum to the entrance to your home. They also serve as a good marker for guiding guests into your driveway.
What kinds of posts or pillars you choose for this job depends on the style of the rest of your house. If you have a more ornate home, brick pillars could be appropriate for the setting. If you have a modern home, you may want to pick a simple black metal lamppost for the end of your driveway.
This option is for those who want a subtle glow illuminating their driveway rather than lights that serve as a design feature. If this is the case, you can get recessed lighting that sits very low to your driveway and throws out a wide beam of light. These can even blend in with your landscaping to provide low-profile lighting.
If you want to use recessed lighting in your driveway, you need to let your contractor know that when you’re building it. In many cases, these lights will need to be built into the concrete itself, and that’s very hard to do after the fact. You can also talk to your landscaping crew about ways to hide recessed lighting along the edges of your driveway.
Motion Sensor Lights
If you don’t necessarily want lights on at your house all the time, motion sensor lights can be a great option. This is a good choice if you don’t have guests very often, or you live out in the country. You don’t have to pay for electricity to power lights all the time, and don’t have to worry about someone sneaking up to your house without your knowledge.
It could also be a good idea to talk to a lighting contractor or security expert about where and how to place your motion sensor lights. Many people choose to place motion-activated lights right next to their house, so they’ll know if someone unexpected comes up the driveway. If you have a long driveway, you may also want to place lights that activate when you drive within a certain distance of them.
Lights Mounted on the House
If your driveway is short, placing lights along the entire length of the driveway might be unnecessary. You should be able to get away with just placing lights on your house that illuminate your entire driveway. If this is the case, the question is less what style of lighting you want, and more how much illumination you want.
If you don’t need very much illumination on your driveway, think about getting soft sconce lights to place on either side of your garage. If you want a lot of illumination, you can buy high-powered floodlights that will show up every ant that walks by. You can also get motion-activated lights if you prefer, but if you live on a busy street, your lights may constantly turn on and off.
If you want to have a lot of lighting without your electricity bill going through the roof, solar lights are a good option. This is also a more eco-friendly option than traditional electricity, unless you have solar panels on your house. However, there are some extra features you need to look for to make sure your solar lights work as well as you need them to.
Solar lights generally don’t come with a very large battery, so they may turn off after a certain time, especially on cloudy days. Look for lights that have a longer run time to ensure you always have the illumination you need. You can also look for lights that use solar power as their primary source and revert to electricity as a backup power source.
Find More Driveway Lighting Ideas
Picking your driveway lighting design can change your experience of coming home every evening. These driveway lighting ideas can give you some inspiration for how you want to craft your illumination to best suit your home.
If you’d like to get some driveway lighting ideas, come see us at Lighting Distinctions. We are your LED lighting experts, providing landscape and interior lighting. Request a free consultation today and bring a new light to your home.