So you’re designing a new custom Florida home — or compiling a wish list for one — and most of your attention is rightfully going to interior living spaces.
But don’t neglect the exterior of your new home. In Florida, outdoor living is year-round thanks the Sunshine State’s balmy climate, and if you’re not used to being outdoors every month, you’re in for a nice surprise.
Another important thing you shouldn’t overlook is outdoor lighting. Florida’s warm, temperate evenings are made for porch sitting, marshmallow roasting and basketball dunk contests. The kids might even want to camp in the back yard!
You’ll need appropriate activity and safety lighting to make it all happen. So here’s how to choose the hardworking outdoor lighting that’s right for you.
Safety is as important as proper illumination, so don’t skimp on it. In fact, you might want to address it first.
Floodlights are perhaps the best-known security lighting feature and for good reason. Their wide swaths are meant to repel anyone who shouldn’t be on your property after dark, and in most cases, to provide the backdrop for home security cameras.
Front-yard lamp posts are another classic option that never go out of style nor use. You’ll also want lighting above all exterior door and garage doors.
Your front door should be plainly visible to any neighbors across the street (without looking like a nightclub entrance), but you don’t want your home and grounds to look like an automobile dealership at night. Choose a minimum number of floodlights and exterior entrance lights that remain operational from dusk to dawn, and use motion sensors on the rest.
Yes, a raccoon might occasionally trigger a backyard floodlight, but that’s okay. Critters are better than burglars.
Lighting for outdoor living
How much brightness you need on porches, lanais, summer kitchens and patios, depends on how much activity takes place outside after dark.
You want enough clear, bright light to operate a gas grill, bar tend, or play poker on the outdoor dining table. Sometimes you’ll just want to sit and enjoy the crackling light of an outdoor firebox or fireplace. Pool lights always are lovely at night, along with being another safety component.
Freestanding, movable kerosene or candle lanterns lend a more atmospheric lighting, as do outdoor wall scones or lanterns.
Know those handy solar-powered lights you can stick in the ground? That’s the concept you’re after here. Grab a plastic set at your nearest big-box retailer or contract with a landscaping company to embed the hardier electrical version.
Path lighting also is important for safety, so consider using spotlights at the base of trees, exterior walls or your home’s foundation to guide people along sidewalks and across courtyards.
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