The 3 Elements of a Great Outdoor Lighting Plan

Outdoor street lantern

Lighting is an important part of any landscaping or outdoor design project. But when you’re choosing outdoor commercial lighting fixtures, there are a few things to take into account to make sure the lighting is accomplishing all its goals, both functional and aesthetic. Here are the three things you’ll want to consider:

  1. Placement:

    One of the major concerns for all outdoor lighting is safety. Adequate lighting illuminates walkways and steps, preventing injuries, so it’s important that lights are spaced closely enough that there aren’t any dark spots and tripping hazards. But if you’re using fixtures that take up quite a bit of space on the sidewalk, you’ll also want to make sure they’re not in the way of good traffic flow. You should also consider using tighter groupings of lights to draw attention to certain areas and create natural gathering areas — this will differentiate between walkways and resting spots such as courtyards.

  2. Brightness:

    The brightness of outdoor fixtures is also something of a balancing act. You want to make sure that the light is bright enough to facilitate safe movement. It’s also worth considering that studies show brighter outdoor lighting can reduce crime. But on the other hand, lights that are too bright may feel harsh and ruin what is supposed to be a relaxing or romantic outdoor space. There also may be local ordinances governing the brightness of outdoor fixtures, to prevent your lighting from bothering any neighbors.

  3. Looks:

    On some level, this is about personal preference and the overall design aesthetic of the outdoor space. Do you want outdoor street lanterns that evoke an historic but simpler feel? More elaborate antique lamp posts reminiscent of the Victorian era? Vintage outdoor lighting fixtures that transport a street back in time 50 or 75 years? The good news is that no matter which specific style you choose, all decorative outdoor lighting fixtures create an ambiance of luxury and enjoyment, rather than utilitarianism. That’s important if you’re working on a project that needs to attract customers or buyers (such as a shopping area or a home development). But these extra touches aren’t purely decorative, either, since nicer fixtures are less likely to be carelessly damaged or purposefully vandalized than run-of-the-mill street lights.

What kind of outdoor street lanterns or lamp posts are you considering, and for what kind of project? Join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments.


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