Outdoor living is a rising trend spanning the globe.
People are taking the first chance they get to escape their home prison, and with spring upon us, who can blame them really?
Well, the issue is, outdoor space isn’t complete without a proper lighting system. This is easily one of the most overlooked design aspects. A mistake that becomes painfully obvious after dark.
Why let anything spoil the fun? You can extend outdoor pastime into the evening and beyond.
Task lighting is integral to this mission. It represents a secondary lighting source designed for specific spots. It livens up your outdoor sanctuary and enables activities like cooking.
In other words, it’s an investment well worth making. You have a chance to embrace the outdoor lifestyle at its finest.
When the Sun Goes Down
Lighting elevates aesthetics and improves functionality.
It allows us to take the comfort and personality of the home interior, to the outside. You most likely have various underutilized spaces that could support different kinds of activities.
When it comes to lighting them, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Creating multiple light layers is important, just like in the interior realm.
You will need to use a combination of task, accent, landscape, and general lighting. Your key objective is to recognize which type should go where. This is easier said than done, so take your time.
The basic rule for task lighting is, it’s more of necessity more than a nice-to-have. It sheds light on high-activity areas, where functionality is a top priority. Therefore, do yourself a favor and identify those key spots.
Moving on, note there are two basic solutions for deploying task lighting. You can either mount it on objects such as railings, or you can opt for portable lights.
You might need to work with an electrician to put these solutions into action. After all, electrical lines and external outlets are required for a fully-functioning setup.
Working out a Plan
Task lighting is ideal for grilling spots and outdoor kitchens.
However, you need focused lighting to prepare food. It prevents meat from being undercooked, and guests from tripping and falling.
Likewise, task lights can ensure pleasant dining. Of course, they have to be positioned at an optimal height above the table to do that. Not too low to obstruct the view or too high to cast a weak light.
The second major advantage of task lighting is safety.
People employ it to illuminate stairs, pathways, and other areas with high foot traffic. Here, multiple smaller sources are usually better than just one. This is a nice trick to sharp lighting contrasts, which are a common trip hazard.
As for places like patios, you’re better off going for general and accent lighting. Softer and decorative fixtures work like a charm here. That being said, task lights can complement general overhead lighting.
Think in terms of using a floor lamp to give a seating area a bit more light.
What’s more, it’s definitely possible to blend visual appeal and functionality. The best proof comes in the form of pendants. They are a rather decorative element, yet they also provide task lighting over bars and counter areas.
Similarly, you should be able to find beautiful chandeliers. They are a combination of an accent and task lighting. Hence, they can double as design centerpieces.
Weighing Your Task Lighting Options
There is a growing selection of outdoor lighting products, and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Some are small enough to sit on an outdoor kitchen shelf. Others are powerful and bulky, a possible overkill.
Navigating all these options can be overwhelming. So, let’s narrow the choice down.
First of all, it’s best to stick to bulbs with warm, yellow light. Task lighting is not an area where you want to experiment with colors. Brightness needs to be a concern of yours as well.
Secondly, ENERGY STAR certified fixtures are a safe bet. They employ LED technology, and consume way less electricity than conventional incandescent bulbs. They also last much longer and contain no toxic waste.
These selling points make them a real no-brainer. Keeping this in mind, go on and explore the product selection.
We are personally fans of LED pool lights. They can easily be implemented to the pool floor, around the edges, and the stairs. You also have floating and solar-powered options available.
On the other hand, sconces are a common wall-mounted option. They have a softer glow for a nice ambiance. At the same time, they offer enough light for outdoor work surfaces.
You probably want to avoid spotlights and floodlights, except for places like garages. They are big light polluters and an annoyance to neighbors.
For Good Measure
The next step is to confirm the bulbs are fit to serve as outdoor lighting.
Not every model is built to withstand harsh outdoor weather conditions. You need to look for a damp-rated or wet-rated label on the package. In the US, they are assigned by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Wet rating is necessary for all bulbs directly exposed to elements. Damp rated fixtures are suited for protected areas, such as ones under a roof.
Notice some bulbs also work with dimmers. You can use this feature to adjust the intensity according to wants and needs. In addition, there are fixtures you can equip with motion detectors or daylight sensors.
That’s the way to automate the system and save even more energy.
All in all, you have more design flexibility and freedom than indoors, so you should let your personality shine through your lighting design.
While at it, take into account the architectural style of your property. Feel free to take a look from inside your home and replicate it outside. Just bear in mind you don’t have to illuminate everything.
Leave things you don’t want to see in the dark.
Turn your space into a neighborhood party spot or tranquil personal sanctuary.
Let There Be Light
Mother Nature is generous, but we cannot always count on its free blessings.
This means artificial fittings will make or break your outdoor oasis during nighttime. They beautify it, while also improving safety and utility. The only problem is lighting design is no walk in the park.
To figure out the right solutions, do your due diligence. Come up with a lighting plan to tie your outdoor space together.
Focus on how you want to use the space. Designate work areas, which are an ideal stage for task lighting to deliver its magic touch. Hire pros to do what you lack skills for.
If you have any questions, contact us right away. The great outdoors beckons and it’s high time you spring into action.