Driveways are the first thing people see when they pull up to your home. At night, seeing a driveway can be difficult especially if there are no street lights nearby. To better define the boundaries of your driveway and beautify your yard, driveway lights can be used.
These lights are specifically designed to line the borders of a driveway, whether it be a concrete, asphalt or brick surface.
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There are several different kinds of these lights, including:
- Pole mounts
- Above ground flush
Each has its own unique look and feel, along with varying levels of installation difficulty.
Solar driveway lights are often the easiest to install as users only need to put them into place, no complicated wiring needed.
This guide covers the different types of driveway light mounts on the market.
#1. Pole Mounted Driveway Lights
Pole mounted driveway lights are perhaps the most decorative of the selections because they are the most visible. These lights stick into the ground on each side of the driveway and project their light outward and downward for maximum visibility.
Homeowners can use pole lights to express their creativity by selecting mounts that fit the design scheme of their home.
Whether you choose a sleek stainless steel modern mount or an earthy rustic mount, pole lights offer maximum flexibility in design and color. Solar powered driveway mounts have a solar panel on the top to capture energy during the day.
They activate automatically at dusk and remain on for several hours at a time. To assemble, simply attach the light pod and plastic stake to the shaft and place into the ground at the desired location.
Users that choose low voltage wired solution will need to dig a small trench along the driveway sides to hide the wires. In addition, the wires will need to connect to a central power transformer.
These transformers can be connected to a timer or light sensor for automatic use.
#2. In-Ground Driveway Mounts
For homeowners looking for a more sleek and refined look, in-ground driveway mounts may be the best solution. These mounts install in the ground completely flush.
Users often install them within the brick pattern lining the edges of their driveway. They can also be installed in concrete or asphalt driveways during the initial pour.
There are several advantages to these driveway lighting systems, the first being that there is no tripping hazard. In-ground driveway lights are flush with the ground and are strong enough to be stepped on without breaking.
Once installed, they become a permanent part of your yard. Because in-ground models only have one surface exposed to the sun, they cannot be equipped with a solar panel and are instead powered by a low voltage system.
#3. Above Ground Flush
If you still desire the sleek look but don’t want to dig up brick or pour concrete, an above-ground flush driveway mount is the best solution. These mounts attach firmly to just about any surface, usually with two anodized screws.
They protrude out of the ground but only slightly. These mounts do come in solar-powered models and can be installed quickly. The typical flush mount has an LED bulb on two opposite sides so users can see the boundaries of their driveway when coming and leaving the home.
The easiest installation method would be to either set the lights onto the ground or use double-sided tape.
However, I suggest properly drilling holes into the ground and using the appropriate screws to secure the onto the ground. This way, the mounts will not slide around or risk being stolen.
#4. Driveway Marker
On the purely functional side lies the driveway markers. A driveway marker is different from your typical driveway light in that they are designed more for function than decoration.
The typical driveway marker set usually comes with two in a box. One light gets placed on each side of the driveway at the entrance.
They consist of a tall pole, usually white in color, that has a bright orange, yellow or red LED bulb at the top. Some models flash to increase visibility. Solar models are available.
Driveway-style Light Fixtures can Make a Great Impression at Night
When coupled with other light sources like outdoor pole lights and wall mounts, homeowners can achieve the look of their dreams. Check out All Types Of Lighting for more information on outdoor illumination.
Why install driveway lights?
Driveway lighting accents 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, 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 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 driveway 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.
Homeowners 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.
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.