We all know Outdoor lights can add beauty to your landscape. They can also increase your use of your outdoor living spaces, effectively adding to the liveable size of your home. But in addition to all that they are an important element of home safety, and perhaps in some ways you haven’t considered.
When most people think of outdoor lighting for safety, they think of making a home less of a target for burglars. And it’s true that a properly lit landscape combined with timers to mimic human interaction can be a burglary deterrent. So one aspect of lighting for safety is making sure that your outdoor spaces are properly lit, particularly near doors, low windows, sheds, and garages.
But the reality is most burglary is committed during daytime, when people are less likely to be home. So when we design outdoor lighting for safety, we’re thinking not only of burglary but of you own personal safety and that of your guests.
Here are 3 other kinds of safety that your outdoor lighting design should address:
1. Trips and Falls
When it comes to trip hazards such as steps, stairways, and stones, the key to eliminating the hazard is proper illumination. An effective lighting design should light trip hazards not just with the homeowner in mind, but visitors as well. Your steps and pathways should be lit well enough that BBQ party guests can safely enjoy themselves even after a glass or two of wine.
Your beautiful backyard lighting not only makes your outdoor living spaces more attractive and useful, it also helps protect your pets. The lighting design should let you quickly spot if any raccoons or other “critters” are in the yard before you let your pets out. Not only can outdoor lighting help deter nocturnal animals from damaging or nesting in your yard, it can also help protect your pets against an encounter with a wild or even rabid animal.
3. Emergency Services
Your outdoor lighting should also ensure that your street number is clearly visible. A distinct and well lit street number is convenient for receiving pizza deliveries, but can be vital for cutting valuable time if you had to call for emergency services. With larger properties, the trend for street numbers is often to position them down at the end of the driveway, perhaps on a rock or small post sign. Your lighting design should ensure a glare-free light clearly illuminates your street number, and is positioned such that any shadows it may cast do not make the number more difficult to read. (Here’s a rule of thumb: for concave numbers, such as those carved into a rock, position the light slightly askew to create inset shadows that accentuate the number; for attached or embossed numbers, angle the light more directly to minimize shadows which might obscure the shapes of the numbers.)