Outdoor Lighting, PIR Sensors & The Top 5 Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

Outdoor Lighting PIR & The Top 5 Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

Having well-designed outside lighting brings out the best in your landscape and your home’s architecture.

Just like those LED outdoor lighting with PIR sensors designed to be placed on a table or a shelf outside your house and automatically switch itself on and off whenever somebody passes by and approaches your home or office.

Neat, isn’t it?

A well-lit exterior that works your outdoor ambience while offering a sense of security for both the home’s owners and visitors. 

That being said, many homeowners have yet to grasp the concept that outdoor lighting can sometimes do more harm than good to a house.

So what do you say we don’t make the following mistakes when planning your outdoor lighting installation, avoid a couple of the hazards in advance and have a far better chance of getting excellent outcomes?

The Top 5 Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

Outdoor Lighting PIR & The Top 5 Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

If you want to ensure that your outdoor lighting is both practical and safe for your family, not to mention if you want to use solar-powered ones to be kinder to the environment, you’d probably do well starting out with these 5 most common outdoor lighting mistakes in industry and the pro tips necessary on how to avoid them altogether.

Shall we?

1. Don’t leave your outdoor lights on all-day

I didn’t think this should be mentioned, but I was wrong.

Porch lights are a must-have for your home’s safety.

They keep an eye on your property at night, so you might think it’s a good idea to have one installed.

They have proved quite successful when used correctly and in conjunction with other security measures. Doing so will enhance your sense of well-being, whether at your own home or on a business trip.

When you’re home at night, the porch light should be left on, even if your inside lights are also on.

This will make sure criminals will be alerted to your presence.

Keep the entrance door illuminated by the porch light, and use a peephole or window that allows you to see who is coming.

Turn off the porch light if you’re going to be gone throughout the day since an illuminated patio makes your house a target for burglars.

You can either ask a neighbor to switch on and off the lights for you or buy a light timer. Maintaining the illusion that you’re at home is easy, thanks to preprogrammed settings.

Not to mention leaving your outdoor lighting on all day will not only drain your battery faster.

Plan your lighting.

If you don’t have a strategy for outdoor lighting, you’re liable to blow your budget and even a few circuit breakers.

Landscape lighting plans can be as simple or complex as you want them to be, and there are as many ways to design landscape lighting as there are landscape designers.

The good news is that most lighting companies offer free design consultation to help you choose the proper lighting for your property. 

Be that as it may, they all serve as a blueprint for the installation, complete with wiring diagrams and fixture specifications.

Allow for changes and alterations at any time during the installation process, as you may find that what looks great when installed on paper doesn’t translate into reality.

Once you’ve made your selections, take measurements of the property, including the distance from the house to the nearest fence line, garage or outbuilding.

Your lighting company will have the measurements in writing, with a blueprint showing where each fixture will be mounted and a rough property plan, so make sure you get a copy to keep.

Also, ensure that each fixture is securely fastened to a concrete pad or permanent structure.

Fluorescent fixtures should be installed between 1 and 2 feet away from other fixtures, according to the National Electrical Code.

Make a list of the spots you want to light up and stroll around your home.

Take a rough sketch of your home’s footprint on graph paper and note the size of windows, doors and garage access.

Your lighting company will have an idea of what will look best in terms of how the lights will be grouped and placed in your home.

They can then use this information to develop a custom lighting plan for you. Your lighting plan will include a detailed description of the fixtures you want and where they will be located.

Make sure to include all necessary landscape components.

Wiring and lighting fixtures should be placed in a logical order to meet your present and future outdoor lighting requirements. Don’t forget to describe components like electrical wire, low-voltage or LED lamps, and a transformer in your plan.

Sometimes Less IS More – Understanding The Right Amount of Lighting for Your Space

Outdoor illumination should be used sparingly because though proper lighting improves safety, it’s essential to keep in mind the needs of your neighbors and follow any municipal light pollution regulations.

Not to mention, a high power cost and a high carbon footprint result from overusing outdoor lights.

Consider the consequences of overusing floodlights.

Choose motion-sensor lights if you can, as they could help deter some wildlife from approaching your home. 

I suggest installing a motion sensor on the front door and leaving the interior lights off when no one is around. This way, you can leave the exterior lights on, but they will only come on when someone walks up to the door.

It’s also better for your neighbours because you won’t have bright lights shining into their homes at night. 

I should remind you that the night sky is now protected in many towns and cities.

You should look for manufacturers who provide dark sky fixtures, which are meant to reduce the amount of light emitted by the sky.

Don’t overdo it on the lighting; ensure it’s appropriately distributed across your home.

Selecting the Wrong Fixture Elements

Be mindful of the materials used and engineering and construction quality when selecting a fixture.

I mean, what’s the point of installing anything if it’s not going to last?

This is why the quality of your landscape lighting fixtures is also important.

The cost of materials and labour are two things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to install a landscape fixture.

Lighting fixtures for landscapes can be constructed from various materials; aluminium, stainless steel, copper, and brass are the most commonly utilized materials.

Ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals are the two types of metals commonly employed in the building of landscape fixtures.

Ferrous metals, which are prone to rust, should only be used on outdoor fixtures that will not be exposed to moisture. Whilst non-ferrous metals are less prone to rust than ferrous metals, they can be used for any fixture exposed to water.

In the end, you want a fixture that looks good, has longevity and is easy to maintain.

Aluminium, for example, is a ferrous metal and the use of cast aluminium in the construction of landscape fixtures makes sense, but it is not a high-quality material.

Though it helps that there is now a treatment that can make the metal more durable, that can help aluminium protected from corrosion by this method, it does raise the cost of the fixture.

Use The Right Strategy to Place Your Fixtures

During the day, your choice of elegantly antique copper outdoor fixtures makes quite a style statement for your home’s exterior.

Your landscape elements SHOULD take centre stage at night, rather than the lighting installations.

But to get an objective appraisal of your lighting, invite a friend or neighbour over after the sun has set to look at your setup and provide suggestions.

Consider the overall impression by asking yourself questions such as:

• How well does my lighting complement the rest of the landscape? 

• How will people find their way around the yard at night? 

• How will my landscape lighting affect wildlife?

 • How does it impact my property’s curb appeal?

• Does it add value to my home? 

Your answers will help you determine which outdoor lighting fixtures best suit your needs. You can easily upgrade your outdoor lighting in one or more of three ways:

1. Replace existing fixtures with better quality options.

2. Add additional fixtures.

3. Install more sophisticated lighting systems that will be more effective, longer-lasting and less expensive. 

Before making any significant changes to your landscaping lighting, consider the following factors; cost, effectiveness, maintenance, durability, safety and appearance.

These are some of the many benefits of using a landscape lighting contractor. You will get professional advice on lighting design and installation.

Another way to see from others’ perspectives is by having a passerby come and have a look at your property from the street.

Instead of the fixtures themselves, focus on a majestic palm, a calming water feature, or a beautiful flowery border instead of changing the camera angle or stake.

What You Should Know Before Installing Outdoor Lighting

If you are just getting into the outdoor lighting game, then you may want to know where you should begin your outdoor lighting setup journey.

As a matter of fact, many homeowners have been struggling with their outdoor lighting setups for some time now, and they really need the help of experts in the field.

Let’s say you’re not very handy, or maybe you aren’t very good with electricity.

It’s understandable if you aren’t confident about getting your outdoor lighting setup in order.

That all shouldn’t worry you.

I promise it’s easier than you think, and you don’t even have to be a pro to start.

There are many easy ways to get the job done, and this article has plenty of tips to get you started.

How PIR Sensors Work

You see them all the time: those little black boxes with the big red button, blinking in time to the beat of your favourite song.

Most people assume that when they push that button, the sensors inside will somehow sense the motion of their arm, hand, finger, foot, or head.

But how exactly does it work?

A PIR (passive infrared) sensor is designed to pick up motion and heat, which could be anything from a person walking into the room to a cat jumping up onto the couch.

They can be attached to doors, windows, and other areas of a home or office where you want to know if someone is moving around.

The sensors are widely used in security systems, child care, and medical settings and are inexpensive and easy to install.

They work as an alert to you of the presence of someone or something in your house and will shut off the light to save energy when nobody or nothing is detected.

The Pros and Cons of PIRs for Outdoor Lighting

Security lights with motion sensors are among the finest investments you can make in your home’s safety.

Outdoor lighting can help improve your building’s overall aesthetic and create a pleasant environment for employees, and for some businesses, a good percentage of their lighting costs comes from outdoor lighting fixtures. 

PIRs are a simple and cost-effective way to address many issues to upgrading an office building or a retail establishment.

But, outdoor lighting can also draw attention away from employees, create safety issues, and be disruptive to night sky viewing.

This is why it’s still crucial to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of having them to get the most out of them. 

The advantages can be broken down into two main points; the lights and the motion features.

A significant amount of money may be saved by switching to LED security lights because of their high output and low power consumption.

When being used in D2D modes, for example, LED light security systems are incredibly efficient, shutting off during the day and coming back on later in the evening.

The savings on electricity itself will be more than a reason to switch!

The installation and activation of LED security lights, especially those with several modes, is all that is required.

Maintaining them is unnecessary after they’ve been installed and turned on. You’ll save a lot of time and work and end up with a safer house, too!

Regarding security, outdoor motion sensors prevent animals and trespassers by emitting bright light when detecting motion.

Intruders and animals can be deterred by them at any time of day or night since they generate a bright light that makes your home safer at night.

The Cons of Using a Security Light

A security floodlight’s powerful, broad beam is designed to draw attention to the area where it is located.

They can be an inconvenience for your neighbours and are often unsightly, though it’s worth mentioning that they provide a degree of protection against crime in the neighbourhood.

That said, many homeowners have discovered that these lights also pose safety risks.

They can blind drivers on the road in front of your house, not to mention are dangerous to children who might step into the beam while playing or wandering outside. 

These happen not only in quiet neighbourhoods but can also be a problem in densely populated ones.

A security light’s usefulness is diminished if it is constantly illuminated by triggers that aren’t essential.

How to Find the Right Outdoor Lighting with PIR Sensors for You

We’ll start with some background.

Most people in the US turn on their lights as soon as they walk in the door at night, and many don’t bother to turn them off until after they leave.

All of us long for a house free of criminal activity and a secure shelter for our families. The ideal way to illuminate your home for safety might be challenging to determine.

Truth is, choosing the proper outdoor lighting always depends on your needs.

For example, do you need light to deter a prospective intruder, or do you need it to illuminate a path to a shed at the end of the garden?

Lighting up a patio, sidewalk, or even a tree or a pond may be accomplished using mood lighting, which uses coloured lights to provide a soft glow over the area.

Low-voltage lighting options, such as LEDs, consume a fraction of the current required to illuminate a typical bulb.

Distance may also play a role since a 500W halogen flood light may illuminate for a long distance.

Passive infrared (PIR) switching sensors are commonly used in conjunction with this type of halogen light to turn it on automatically when motion is detected.

Several PIR sensors allow for day/night settings, angle and timing delay or overrun settings so that the light may be turned off after a predetermined length to reduce bother and preserve energy.

Outdoor Lighting Design Tips

The outdoor lighting design process starts by understanding the lighting’s intended purpose. You’ll need to consider how many people will be using the outdoor lighting at any given time and what kind of activities those people will be engaged in if any.

The next thing to consider is the amount of light needed in some regions of the area to be lit, so you can create an appropriate illumination ratio for that particular space.

Here are some basic measures you can take to ensure that your outdoor lighting design matches the aesthetics of your home:

 • Choose a lighting system that fits your home’s style.

One of the easiest ways to avoid a bad outdoor lighting design is to make sure that you’re thinking about the lighting system you will install when you’re planning your landscaping.

For instance, if your front yard is set up to receive a lot of suns, you might be able to add some additional lighting in the backyard and use the sunlight coming into the house to illuminate your walkway and patio.

Or, perhaps you’re building an outdoor kitchen on the back of your home. Think about where the light will naturally come from and how you can direct the light to illuminate the space.

• Consider where the lights will be used.

The outdoors is the perfect place to showcase an exterior lighting design that incorporates a variety of light styles and fixtures to complement your home’s exterior architecture.

Plus, there are many ways to create a beautifully-designed exterior lighting installation, including adding downlight fixtures to illuminate pathways or landscape areas.

Many homeowners opt to add a row of pendant lights to a deck or patio area to create a dramatic focal point. Or, install a chandelier in a central location to provide ambient light throughout a room.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to choose fixtures designed specifically for outdoor lighting that best matches your home’s architectural aesthetics. 

• Take into account the materials used for your home’s exterior surfaces.

Lighting design is often overlooked in many homes. But if you’re looking to give your home a warm and welcoming feel, you must pay attention to the details, especially with the exterior. After all, it’s the first thing people will see when they come home, whether in your backyard or front porch.

• Create a look that’s consistent with the rest of the house.

There is no need to limit the design of your house to the confines of your own property. Even before you walk through the front door, your home’s exterior may set the tone for your own style.

A backyard, patio, or other outdoor areas should have lighting that mimics and enhances the natural surroundings.

It’s easy to get lost in this scene, which is full of vibrant hues, varying forms of the leaves, and different textures of the branches and earth.

Then consider the effect if everything had the same colour and style.

If it were all the same, isn’t it tedious? That’s why it’s crucial to design an outdoor area as diversified as the surrounding landscape.

• Make sure the lighting you choose is appropriate for your property.

A room’s ambience is greatly influenced by its lighting.

We think of light fixtures as just a finishing touch regarding house lighting design rather than an integral part of the overall design.

While lighting should not be the first item on your design to-do list, it should not be the last.

You can’t go wrong with chandeliers or even the tiniest of accent lights when it comes to creating the right atmosphere in a place.

Making the correct lighting design options for your house means doing your homework and knowing exactly what you want to achieve with each light fixture and bulb you choose.

Ready to Brighten Your Outdoor Space, Now are You?

It might be tough to figure out where to begin when lighting your home’s various rooms.

This area has many lighting options, including various hanging lights, wall sconces, chandeliers, and LEDs. And if you’ve ever visited a lighting store, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

There is much effort involved in finding the proper lighting for you and your surroundings.

When it comes to house lighting, there are several considerations to consider, such as selecting functional and aesthetically pleasing fixtures.

It will not work in a room with antique furniture and simple, contemporary ceiling light.

So we hope you’ve found this the right place if you want to learn more about your lighting options and how to choose the optimum lighting for each room in your home.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Joe Siregar

Hi! I'm a mini solar-powered globetrotter. Stressed, blessed, and coffee obsessed.