With the availability and variety of outdoor spotlights available, homeowners have a ton of options available to them as to how they set up their outdoor lighting. Unfortunately, they also face a lot of pitfalls, too. That’s because if the consumer sets up lighting in a haphazard manner, they can end up just polluting their outdoor environment with light instead of creating a nice outdoor ambiance.

To help our readers design a nice lighting environment, we’ve come up with the following tips and tricks that will help them avoid light pollution and actually pull the entire environment together. Now that we’ve said that, let’s get started with this guide and start things off with some lighting basics.

Some Basic Rules For Lighting

Since there is such a variety of different types of outdoor lighting, we’re going to start off with the basic lighting categories and then work from there. First, we’ll talk about lighting according to function, and then we’ll turn our attention to the different types of bulbs available for outdoor spotlights and other types of outdoor lighting.

Lighting Based On Function

Let’s examine outdoor lighting based on function. As a general rule, outdoor lighting comes in one of three different styles.

Large Space Lighting

These lights are designed to light up large areas of the outdoor space. These types of lights are your porch lights or a large walkway light that might sit in the front of your yard. Another example would be dusk to dawn lights that are mounted on a utility pole.

Accent Lighting

Accent light is designed to draw attention to a particular object or area. This is the category that most floodlights or outdoor spotlights fall into.

Task Lighting

These types of lighting are only designed for a specific purpose. The most common example of task light is the lights used to light a path, but there are certainly other examples available.

The Different Types Of Lightbulbs

Another thing worth thinking about when designing the layout of your outdoor lighting is the different varieties of lightbulbs available. We’ll start off with incandescent bulbs since most people are familiar with them and then work our way through other types of lighting.

Incandescent Bulbs

These are the bulbs that have been around the longest and are still around today—although in a much more limited capacity than they used to be. Incandescent bulbs use more power than LED lights, but they do emit a pleasing light.

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs have also been around for quite a while, so most people should be familiar with them. These bulbs generally last longer than incandescent bulbs and they also consume less energy. And they do it while still emitting a pleasant light.

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are not as efficient as fluorescent but they’re certainly more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. They also have a longer life than incandescent bulbs and consume less power.

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs can cost more than other types of lighting, but they have an amazing life span and they use very little power. That’s why they’re increasingly becoming the lightbulb of choice for many people.

Ideas For Placing Outdoor Lighting

Now that we’ve gone through the basic types of outdoor lighting and have also gone through the different bulb types, it’s now time to turn our attention to placing that lighting properly. Below are some ideas that will help spark everyone’s imagination as to where to place their outdoor lighting.

Architectural Features

If your home has architectural features that you would like to highlight, then you can do so by using outdoor spotlights. When you use the wide area of these spotlights at a close-up distance, then you basically created a wall wash of light. This can create interesting patterns of light and shadow that highlights the architectural features quite well.


Outdoor lighting can also be used to light up outdoor paths. This can make the paths not only safer to use at night, but also makes the home more hospital to the guest.


Entry lights provide the home with a little bit of security at night. It’s always a good idea to have your home’s doors well lit so that potential intruders can break into the home using darkness as a way to disguise their actions.

Decks & Patios

All sorts of different types of lighting can be used on decks and patios. Outdoor spotlights can be used to light a particular feature on the patio or deck, or general lights can be used to light the whole area. It all depends on what the homeowner is trying to do and whether they’re lighting for general use or for effect.

Let’s Talk About Light Pollution

Now that we’ve talked about where the lights can be deployed, it’s time to turn our attention to how the lights shouldn’t be used. Too many people use their lights in a careless fashion and that can cause unwanted light to seep into the home through windows, temporarily blind people on the street, or waste energy. Therefore, it’s important for the consumer to consider the following tips before they decided to deploy their lights to ensure that they don’t pollute their outdoor areas with poorly-placed lighting.

Use Low-Wattage Bulbs

One of the first things that people can do to avoid light pollution is to use low-wattage bulbs. Low-watt bulbs provide plenty of illumination without blinding people that look at it, so whenever possible, use low-wattage bulbs for your outdoor lighting.

Position The Lights Properly

Another thing a person can do when they’re installing lights is to think about how they’re positioned. This is important and prevents the homeowner from shining lights through windows or out towards the street.

Keep The Bulbs Shielded

Any light that you purchase should come with a shield to cover a bare bulb. Be sure to use the bulb’s shielding to make for a more pleasant light distribution. Bare bulbs never look for outdoor lighting, so avoid it whenever possible to achieve the best outdoor lighting ambiance.