The Best Lighting For Your Patio

Planning your patio or considering an upgrade? Shed some light on it! From paving stones or brick to furniture layout and which plants you use for ground coverage, don't let lighting slip your mind. 

Depending on the size of your patio space, you can't expect to light the area with a single wall sconce and a 40 watt bulb. With the ability add dimension and enhance the features of your space, light the way for visitors, and also act as an additional security measure, there are many types of lighting to choose from. What's right for you? Let's have a look at a few of the more common styles popular today.

Flood Lights
If your main concern is the safety and security of your family, consider installing flood lights which will cast light across a wide area, and have been known to discourage intruders as well as light your yard for outdoor activities. 

When installing flood lights, mount them at least 9 feet high so they cannot be easily accessed and tampered with. Mounting them high also assures a wide field of light. You can also hook floods up to motion sensors, set to turn on when they sense motion, as an added security measure overnight. 

Similar in design to flood lights, spotlights are most commonly used when you want to highlight a special feature or improve safety. Unlike floodlights, however, they concentrate a beam of light on a much smaller area, best used on doors, windows, or other features like fountains, columns or plants. 

Wall Mounted or Hanging Lighting
Wall lanterns and sconces can enhance curb appeal and landscaping while providing a source of indirect up lighting or down lighting. They're best when placed above an outdoor seating area, patio doors, or around exterior windows. 

Pendants or hanging lights are another beautiful add an interesting design element and task lighting. 

Landscape Lighting
Dramatic and yet subtle, landscape lighting adds interest to your outdoor space by artfully illuminating plants, trees, shrubs and flowers. Small spots and well lights are common for landscape lighting, as they can be placed out of the way as to not compete with the plants for attention. Landscape lights can also be used to highlight architectural features like columns. 

Deck, Step & Path Lights
Use deck and step lights when you want to illuminate walkways, sidewalks, driveways and pool edges without obstructing your landscaping. Installed low to the ground, path lighting adds another level of safety and security to dark back yards. Opt for a light that is covered on top so that light can spread evenly along the ground rather than create a glare. 

A Note About Lighting
Most people opt for two kinds of lighting for outdoor use: standard voltage or low voltage. 

Standard voltage lights work best as an under-eave porch or post light to add strong illumination and to repel intruders or to guide your way up your path. They can be too glaring for your evening entertaining, however. Low voltage lights provide a more subtle, mellow glow that is softer but suitable for most evening activities. 

For patios, consider a combination of the two, or installing a dimmer switch so that you can soften standard-voltage lighting when you want to entertain.