Outdoor Lighting Mistakes

Outdoor lighting can transform your garden into a magical nighttime oasis, but it’s not as simple as just adding a few fixtures here and there. A well-lit garden requires careful planning and execution to balance beauty with practicality. This blog post will guide you through common outdoor lighting mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them, ensuring your garden shines in its best light.

Overdoing It With Lights

One of the most common outdoor lighting mistakes is overdoing it. While it might be tempting to light up every tree, shrub, and pathway, too much lighting can make your garden look like a brightly lit parking lot rather than a serene outdoor space.

Instead, focus on highlighting key features in your garden – a beautiful tree, an interesting piece of sculpture, or a water feature. Create layers of light by using a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting. For instance, use ambient lights for general illumination, task lights for pathways or cooking areas, and accent lights to highlight special features.

Ignoring Glare

Another common mistake is ignoring glare. Glare occurs when a light source is too bright or not properly shielded, causing discomfort to the viewer. It can be particularly problematic in outdoor settings where people want to enjoy the night sky.

To avoid this, choose fixtures with shields, grates, or louvers that direct the light downward and prevent it from shining directly into people’s eyes. For example, instead of using a bright light to illuminate a patio, consider several smaller, shielded lights around the perimeter.

Neglecting Function

While aesthetics are important, don’t neglect the functional aspect of outdoor lighting. Safety and security should be top priorities. This means ensuring all paths, steps, and entrances are well-lit to prevent accidents and deter potential intruders.

For instance, use bollard lights or low-level path lights to guide people along walkways and steps. Similarly, use motion sensor lights near entrances and dark corners to enhance security.

Using the Wrong Type of Light

Using the wrong type of light can lead to poor lighting effects and increased energy consumption. Many homeowners make the mistake of not using LED bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs.

LEDs also offer a range of color temperatures, allowing you to create different moods in your garden. For example, warm white LEDs can create a cozy, inviting atmosphere, while cool white LEDs can create a crisp, modern vibe.

Lack of Variety

Using only one type of fixture or placing too many fixtures along a sidewalk is another common mistake. This can create a monotonous “runway” effect and does not take advantage of the full potential of outdoor lighting.

Instead, mix and match different types of fixtures to create interest and variety. For example, combine path lights, spotlights, and wall lights to create a layered lighting effect. Also, consider using dimmers or timers to change the lighting ambiance throughout the night.

Forgetting About Balance

Balance is key in outdoor lighting design. However, many homeowners make the mistake of leaving out sections of their yards or over-lighting certain areas. This can create an uneven look and draw attention to less attractive parts of your garden.

To achieve balance, evenly distribute lights throughout your garden and use a similar level of brightness for each area. For instance, if you have a seating area with decorative lights, ensure other areas, such as walkways or flower beds, are also adequately lit.

Neglecting Security Aspects

An often overlooked aspect of outdoor lighting is its role in security. Effective outdoor lighting not only enhances the beauty of your property but also contributes to its safety. Poorly lit outdoor areas can provide hiding spots for potential intruders, making your home a more attractive target.

For instance, it’s important to have adequate lighting near entrance points, such as doors and windows. Motion sensor lights can be particularly effective in these areas, as they illuminate when movement is detected, potentially deterring any unwanted visitors.

Moreover, ensure that pathways and steps are well-lit to prevent accidents during nighttime. However, avoid overly bright lights that can create harsh shadows and lead to glare, which can actually hinder visibility.

In conclusion, while planning your outdoor lighting, remember to balance aesthetics with safety. A well-lit exterior not only looks inviting but can also contribute to your home’s overall security.


Avoiding these common outdoor lighting mistakes can help you illuminate your garden like a pro. Remember, the goal is to strike the perfect balance between beauty and practicality. By focusing on key features, managing glare, considering function, choosing the right type of light, mixing fixtures, and maintaining balance, you can create an outdoor space that is safe, functional, and absolutely stunning at night. With careful planning and execution with Blingle, your garden can become your own private nighttime oasis.

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