Decorative Driveway Lighting

Driveway lighting solves this problem by accenting the edges of your driveway with lights which turn on at night. The key to a beautiful home is in the presentation. The first thing people see when they pull up to your home is the driveway. No matter how stylish your driveway is, it all fades into the darkness when night approaches. Driveway lighting solves this problem by accenting the edges of your driveway with lights which turn on at night. These lights vary in intensity and purposes. Low-intensity driveway lights are meant decorative purposes and to define the driveway so people can see. Higher intensity driveway lighting provides more ample light which can be used for things like playing basketball out in the driveway. Both wired and solar light modules are available. Driveway lights come in standard colors as well as more bright and exotic ones, and some even change colors. Let's take a look at what to consider in the design process, as well as some specific types of driveway lights.

Design Approach To Driveway Lighting

Driveway lights can come in a variety of sizes. Compact, low-profile ones as shown in the photograph hug the ground at the border. Larger ones such as pole lights are more prominent and don't need to be used in as large of numbers to cover the same area. A 6 foot tall pole light at your driveway entrance is often all that's needed to light the way. After all, your car's headlights should do the job. A large driveway light such as this can greatly help visitors and emergency personnel find your home at night. A longer driveway may need more lights placed along the edge for more complete coverage.

For most driveways, a few low voltage shaded driveway lights should be enough to define the limits of the driveway. Lining the sides of the driveway uniformly can often lead to what's called the "airport runway" look. To avoid this, try using shielded lights and stagger them along the length. Shielded is simply a term for light mounts that have a partial cover over the light source, hiding the source of the light. Since these lights will be running every night, it I recommend lower voltage lights for wired systems, as well as solar powered lights to save on energy costs.

Low Profile Driveway Lighting

Low profile driveway lights are quite popular because of their sleek design. These lights sit very low to the ground and often have a light bulb on two sides. Some models are completely embedded into the ground, offering no protrusions to trip on or drive over.

Solar Powered

Solar driveway lights are the easiest lights to install. If you want to skip complicated installation and get your lights installed in a single day, solar driveway lights are the way to go. As shown in the picture, these light mounts are compact and sleek. The mounts are semi-permanently secured to the concrete/brick with two screws. In low traffic areas such as decorative gravel beds, the mounts may be placed loosely onto the ground. A solar panel on the top collects energy during the day. When night approaches, the lights turn on automatically. No other driveway lighting solution is this intuitive and easy to install as solar driveway lights.

Pole Driveway Lights

Pole lights sits prominently at driveway entrances, generally matching the decor and style of the home. Pole lights need a solid base, usually a hole of poured concrete. They get their power from your home's power grid and usually need to be wired up by an electrician. However, the extra effort is often worth it, as these lights exhibit a classy and professional feel. Often only one or two lights at the drive way entrance are needed. Different bulbs can be changed if you want to brighten or decrease the lighting intensity. Pole lights can either be switched on manually at night or hooked into a light sensor. Home owners with pole driveway lights also enjoy the creative option of installing colored bulbs during the holiday seasons.

Rope Light Border

Another quick & easy way to light a driveway is with rope lights. Rope lights are long plastic tubes with a series of LED or incandescent bulbs inside. Some ropes can be hooked together to extend their length. Concrete driveways have the advantage of having depressions between slabs where the rope lights can fit in nicely. LED rope lights are energy efficient and come in a wide variety of colors. To add light sensing functionality, the ropes can be hooked into a light sensor electrical station which sits in the yard.

Related Guides

An alternative or supplement to driveway illumination is walkway lighting. These lights border walkways, paths and stairs so you can see where you're going.

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