Outdoor Lighting: Path Lights and Area Lights


Outdoor Lighting Path Lights and Area Lights

Path lighting should not be confused with airplane runway lights. The most common mistakes and least attractive way to install pathway or area lighting in Dallas is to use too many fixtures, fixtures that are too dim, improperly spacing your outdoor lighting fixtures, and installing them in flat grass covered areas where they stick out like sore thumbs and are hard to keep the mowers away from. You can find tons of DIY articles and videos online that will show you how to slap them in but unfortunately they fall short on design. If you are thinking about doing it yourself peruse the neighborhood first at night and see for your self what good and bad lighting looks like.

What not to do with your Outdoor lighting

Do not use too many lights–depending on the fixture and conditions you should be able to get away with spacing your light 5-15 feet apart. Take heed to make sure that any steps or elevation changes are properly illuminated and take priority over all your pathway lighting. In addition, any other tripping hazards such as uneven sidewalks should be illuminated or eliminated. Most local ordinances designate that anything under 4 inches to be a tripping hazard.

The difference between Area lights and Path lights

Area Lights--The biggest difference is that Area lights have their stems in the middle of their hats (hood or cover) allowing for a circular pattern on the ground that will illuminate both the path and the space around the stems.

Path Lights--have their stems at the end or edge of the fixture. Pathway lights throw light onto the pathway surface but not beyond.

Solar Lights have not come as far as I had hoped. The lights emitted have uneven light distribution and have weak output.

Doing it right

By off-setting your pathway fixtures you will illuminate more surface area. By properly spacing them you will give your path an elongated appearance. In this case less is more. Another issue is maintenance–not lighting maintenance but lawn maintenance. Weed whackers and mowers can wreak havoc on fixtures by nicking wires and off centering your outdoor lighting fixtures. A way to combat that problem is to install edging along the path and fill the area with either mulch, stone, or plant material. I like Giant Liriope myself, because it will mask the prominence of the fixtures.

If you are ready to install landscape lighting–pathway lights or otherwise please feel free to contact us to set up a nite-time lighting demo. See the lights in action for yourself.

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