How to Light Your Front Yard

How to light your front yard - LightsOnline Blog

There are several reasons why your front yard will benefit from a little extra oomph this year. The front yard is the first impression people have of where you live and your decorating style — and, like it or not, that first look is a lasting one.

Second, with new construction and remodeling at an all-time-high, there is a lot of movement among consumers who are either buying a home for the first time, renovating to increase the value of their existing home, or trading up to a new residence. In all cases, the appearance of your front yard and entrance are important when it comes to aesthetics.

Some homeowners are interested in upgrading the lighting in their front yard for safety purposes, and others might have a home where the largest portion of the property – or the most ideal view – is at the entrance of the home with generous front porch for relaxing or entertaining.

Act Like a Stranger

How to Light Your Front Yard - LightsOnline Blog

Where do you start? First, view your entrance from the street in daytime. Literally, drive around the block and pull up to your home, park across the street, and approach the home like a guest or stranger would. What do you see? If there is a fence, does it look dingy or old? Are there broken rails or boards? Does the gate close firmly? Do you have neglected flowerbeds or shrubs near the entrance that need shaping? Do any of the lighting fixtures have broken or missing panes of glass or a chipped finish? These are the most obvious areas that need attention.

Now do the same exercise at night. Is there enough light for a guest to navigate safely to the front door? Is the path leading from the street or driveway to the door or porch adequately lit to show any changes in elevation or obstructions (like a fallen branch or chipped sidewalk) that might cause someone to stumble?  There are several concerns at the front door. There should be enough light for a guest to feel “seen” without bright glare that could temporarily affect their vision. At the same time, the lighting should illuminate the doorway for the homeowner to safely see who is at the door before opening it.

Lighting ideas: Savoy House Durham, Maxim Carriage House, Hinkley Porter, Trade Winds Stoddard

Using Light to Highlight

How to Light Your Front Yard - LightsOnline Blog

After safety concerns are met, many homeowners want to increase the warm, welcoming look of their front yards in the evening by drawing attention to specific features such as garden beds, trees, or seating areas. Having multiple areas of warm light creates visual balance and sets a relaxing vibe.   

According to landscape architects and lighting designers, the most common mistake homeowners make when handling the outdoor lighting themselves is under-lighting the space, leaving too many shadows. While the light level does not have to be bright, there should be enough illumination to cover the outdoor living area evenly. You can do this by having lanterns flanking the front door or – depending on the height of the roof – a hanging pendant. For long porches with seating areas, outdoor-rated ceiling fans with a light kit will provide the added benefit of a breeze on hot summer nights.

Outdoor ceiling fan ideas: Savoy House Hyannis, Quorum Galveston, Hunter Cedar Key, Craftmade Mobi

If there isn’t a porch, but you’d like to bring attention to the front of your home overall, try the “wall washing” technique of softly illuminating the entire façade of the home. There are wall-wash fixtures designed specifically for this purpose, just as there are versions for uplighting trees.

Wall washing ideas: WAC Inground LED, Hinkley Well Light, Kichler Landscape Accent 6-Pack, Kichler Landscape Downlight

For the most comfortable and relaxing environment, pay attention to the color temperature of the bulbs in the fixtures. You’ll want a “warm white” color to achieve a soft glow versus the cool, “blue” light that is often too harsh and unflattering for aesthetic purposes.

LightsOnline has all of the lighting you need to make your front yard look spectacular — in stock and within your budget.

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