Outdoor Lighting Tips for Fall and Winter
The days are getting shorter and shorter, and the darkness is looming upon us. No, this is not the beginning of a neo-apocalyptic novel, just our sentiment on the approaching winter. Quite soon, a big portion of our daily activities will start happening before and after sunset. Getting up when it’s dark and coming home when it’s dark is definitely not the most exciting aspect of the winter. It’s not the safest one either—we have to rely heavily on outdoor lighting to get us from point A to point B. And while we still have some time to enjoy the shrinking daylight, it’s a good idea to make sure your outdoors are well-illuminated in all the right places.
Frame the paths and walkways with a row of outdoor lights. Focus on high-traffic areas, such as the path from your front door to the driveway. If you are using solar lights, make sure they are powerful enough to receive a good amount of sunlight from overcast winter skies. Many solar lights get dimmer in winter as they fail to collect enough charge, causing visibility issues. If you live in a forest area with many tall trees around you, it might be best to run low-voltage cables to ensure consistently stable lighting along your pathways.
Flipping through your key chain, trying to find the house key with frozen fingers—does this sound familiar? If so, you need to improve entrance lighting. If the lights on each side of the door aren’t enough, consider an overhead light. To save money, you can install motion-activated lights that will only be used when you actually need them.
Light up the Steps
Steps can be dangerous in winter when they are covered with ice or snow. Always have reliable lighting along the steps. Solar lights that are low to the ground can get snowed in and become useless when you most need them. Choose lights that are tall enough to accommodate an average snowfall and keep in mind that the bottom third of the base will be inserted into the ground.
Illuminate the Key Areas
We might not spend as much time outdoors in winter as we do in summer, but there are probably a few entertainment spots around your home. Maybe it’s a hillside that you turn into a slide when it snows, or maybe it’s a hot tub tucked away from the neighbors. Make sure you have adequate lighting both at the activity area and the entire way there from your front/back door.
Don’t Forget About the Driveway
Sure, when you pull in after a long work day, you can see the driveway just fine with the help of your car’s headlights. But what about walking to and from the car or taking the dog out at night? You are probably familiar with “black ice”— the phenomenon that occurs when ice forms a thin, clear layer over the asphalt. When there’s not enough light coming in, black ice is easy to overlook, which may lead to falls and injuries. If your garage light doesn’t do a good job of illuminating your driveway, consider additional lighting sources.
Not sure which outdoor lights to choose? Need help deciding between solar and wired? Visit our Maryland outdoor lighting showroom and take a look at the interactive displays we have.