Odds are good that you have some lighting in your yard, probably by the driveway and the front and back doors. This lighting is ample enough to let you walk up to your house at night without tripping over anything. That’s important, but outdoor lighting should take home security into consideration too.
You might need to increase the number of garden lights, floodlights, etc. that you have around your house in order to make your yard an inhospitable place for a burglar at night. You should place fixtures in strategic places to provide an even blanket of light at entrances and illuminate any dark zones around the house where someone could hide.
You don’t necessarily have to buy the brightest lights at the home and garden store in order to accomplish this. Bright lights can actually be a bad choice, since they can annoy the neighbors, blind visitors, and suck up a lot of electricity (who wants higher energy bills, right?). Instead consider lighting that provides the artificial equivalent of a full moon (about 40-60 watts) along paths, gardens, and walkways. This is usually enough light to deter a burglar. By your entrances, you’ll want something a little brighter, so use higher voltage fixtures there (if you don’t want them burning power all night, consider lights triggered by motion-sensors or body heat).
Here are some guidelines for lighting the important areas:
Garage door — Mount a floodlight above the door that is equipped with a motion detector. This will turn on anytime someone drives or walks up the driveway.
Entry doors — Consider lamps that make use of two bulbs. This way, you’ll never be in complete darkness if one bulb burns out. Also, two bulbs provide a broader spread of light.
Walkways and driveways — These paths should be well lit. For shorter walkways and driveways, a post light at the end is probably sufficient. For longer areas consider low-voltage ground lighting placed at intervals along the way.
Under windows — Since windows are potential access points for burglars, it’s a good idea to light them. You don’t want floodlights scorching into your bedroom all night though. Instead try uplights, or fixtures mounted on the ground that direct light up through trees and shrubs to illuminate windows. Stick with low-voltage lamps, so you’ll be able to see outside.
Under the deck — If you have a walkout basement or an egress window that opens to a spot under the deck, this should definitely be well lit. For a door, try a standard fixture with a motion sensor. A low-voltage well light is a good idea for a window.
We’ve talked about several ways to provide outdoor lighting and the reasons why it’s important to use some strategy in illuminating your property at night. Hopefully, you now have a better idea about the important of home security lighting and how and where to place it around your house.