Driveway and Garage


A 7- to 8-foot-tall post lantern at a driveway entrance is a useful landmark to help visitors and emergency vehicles find your home after dark. It isn't necessary, though, to light up the entire length of the approach — the headlights of your car will take care of that. For most driveways, a few low, shaded low-voltage spreadlights will suffice to define the limits of the pavement. A tactic that's good for wooded driveways is to mount downlights in the trees, making sure the light is focused on the edge of the roadbed, not into the driver's eyes. When illuminating a long, straight drive, "minimize the airport-runway look by staggering shielded path lights that provide a hidden, rather than noticeable, light source," says Stefano Caposecco, a certified lighting consultant and technical director of Sea Gull Lighting in Riverside, New Jersey. Position the lights about a foot from the edge of the drive, along one or both sides. "If you're playing basketball, working on the car or doing something else in the driveway, then you need more light," says Russ Leslie, professor of architecture and associate director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. You can accomplish this with wall-mounted incandescent floodlights with 20 to 100W bulbs or compact fluorescents, which provide less punch but are more economical to keep lit. To save even more on energy costs, use a motion sensor — many fixtures come with one built in — that will turn the lights on only when someone enters the designated space. In order to keep unnecessary activation caused by roaming household pets and wildlife to a minimum, look for a model that features pulse-count technology.
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