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How to Light Your Outdoor Space

Oct. 14, 2020

Highlighting the best ways - and the best outdoor lighting fixtures - to help make the most of your entertaining outdoor spaces, while also keeping safety and security in mind.

Wanting a gorgeous outdoor space is a given, a space that invites you to sit for a while, to have another glass of wine, and linger in the warm, flower-scented air of the evening.

Being able to enhance a lovely outdoor design is, of course, just one reason why we light outdoor spaces. Take for example, our Zen Garden Lighting project.

This project required a relatively small fixture that would emit an appropriate amount of light for a moderately-sized interior/exterior area. We also needed a fixture that would complement the bold wooden structures surrounding the garden's breathtaking statue of the Buddha. Ultimately we chose Centerlight's VS.6332 luminaire base for this linear fixture.

To illuminate this exterior living space, Centerlight developed a special LED tape called DreamLED shell series. This LED tape is covered in a silicon casing so that it is flexible, durable, and can withstand any changes in temperature or weather conditions.

All of the lighting fixtures used in this project offer an array of RGB colors that can be changed with a button's push using Centerlight's remote. The colorful lights bathe the garden and adjacent poker room in a beautiful ambient light that effortlessly enhances the area's spectacular atmosphere.

Aesthetics are relatively self-evident; you want a space that is nice, enjoyable, and well designed.

What to Light>

- Entertainment Spaces: This is lighting for entertainment and for gathering, and is the most immediately rewarding when done right. Well-lit patios, decks, bars, and balconies can transform any outdoor space and let you enjoy it more fully. Dining tables, lounging areas, and fire pits also fall into this area.

- Security Spaces: These are spaces where you want to ensure that nobody will mess with your home. Front and back doors, side yards, and driveways are areas to consider lighting.

- Safety Spaces: These are areas that have the potential to injure or harm. Look for edges between surfaces, like the edge of a patio and lawn, spaces where heights change, such as stairs, decks, and the like.

How to Light It

Think about how your space is to be used and plan the outdoor lighting around that. Plotting out your lighting - and remembering the importance of light layering - is critical to getting the right effect and creating spaces for different uses. Keeping in mind that with Centerlight's Custom linear lights series, you have no limitations on length, so you can even wrap around and or highlight small areas of the space.

Lighting your Entertainment Space

Your entertainment space is most likely the densest and most decorative of your outdoor spaces. It is also where the most exciting new developments in lighting design are happening.

The key here is getting enough lighting without overdoing it. You do not need the same level of light outside that you have indoors. Too much lighting can be detrimental to the enjoyment of your outdoor space. When you move from a light space to a dark one, your eyes dilate to allow more light in. Bright lights or glare will reverse this, making it harder to see in a nighttime environment. So, when creating your lighting plan for an outdoor space, glare is your nemesis.

Glare is defined as a bright or dazzling light. It is easily defined as any exposed light source that would cause you to squint for our purposes.

The trick to getting a well-lit outdoor patio is directing the light just where you need it. When it comes to ambient lighting, overhead lighting is a great option, be it outdoor pendants or even string lights.

For covered spaces, you can go with pendants such as Centerlight's RTS Linear light series or the more popular choice Centerlight's XTR Linear Lights series with the emergency option, flush-mount ceiling fixtures or even recessed lighting such as the ones we offer in Centerlight's custom linear lights series.

To complete your light layering in an outdoor entertainment space, remember accent lighting. This is more than just aesthetics. Low-level accent lights are perfect for defining areas and highlighting spots where a misstep may happen. Take a look at our outdoor kitchen project

Small deck and step lights are perfect for highlighting stairs such as centerlight's DRAGON series. This is also where you can expand off the patio and into landscape lighting, if needed. Spot and flood lights can create visual wow and expand your entertaining space into the whole yard.

Make sure you select fixtures rated for the outdoors and, of course, put them on a dimmer so you can control the light output.