Beacons of Welcome

We all want our homes to be welcoming—at least to our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. In winter that means shoveling snow from the sidewalks. In summer it includes eliminating the treachery of darkened paths and stairs. You don't need to light up your house like a crime scene, of course. But for safety reasons, it pays to install walkway lighting that will gently guide everyone to your front porch or your backyard picnic table.

These days, that's much easier to do than you might think. Contrary to conventional wisdom, you don't have to have a degree in electrical engineering or an offshore bank account to get started. There's a wide selection of inexpensive fixtures, and the installation process is nearly foolproof. Designed to operate in low-voltage systems, the lights are almost as safe to handle as a 9-volt battery.

On the following slides, you'll find everything you need to know to plan the ideal layout. Before long, you'll have guests gathering at your doorstep. The invited kind, that is. Burglars? They hate it when you see them coming.

Shown: "Light defines space," says Mike Gotowala, president of Preferred Properties Landscaping, in Connecticut, who designed the award-winning layout for this home. To achieve a nice warm glow, he recommends that path fixtures be installed about 14 inches high. Cast Lighting's CSA1CB Savannah path light, about $290;

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