Lighting the outside of your home is not difficult, but if you stroll around your neighborhood after dark, you'll see how easy it is to make mistakes. On any given night you're sure to find front doors hidden in the shadows, walks that are unsafe in the darkness and decks and patios that are of no use once the sun goes down. Or you may spot the home of an overlighter: The driveway looks like a landing strip and the yard is so bright the place resembles a maximum-security prison.
We'll help you avoid those mistakes by giving tips on where to put the lights and what types to use. You probably already have lighting in many areas, but it is useful to take a walk around your house at night with a flashlight to identify spots that need light and to experiment with beam angles. You will quickly discover that a surprisingly few watts, carefully directed, can make an area safer and more usable after dark and create a certain amount of drama as well.
"You don't have to light objects directly in order to get enough light in an area," explains Alicia Kapheim, lighting application manager at Philips Lighting Company, based in Somerset, New Jersey. "By using reflected light as part of your scheme you can achieve a nice balance of esthetics and security."