Front yard lighting ideas – 10 ways to illuminate your garden
These front yard lighting ideas will offer everyone a warm welcome and create curb appeal
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Front yard lighting ideas are a key consideration when designing the approach to your house.
Both aesthetic and practical factors need to be taken into account, including the positioning and power sources of each light, and you’ll also need to factor in external lighting from any streetlights or neighboring properties as these affect a home's light levels come the evening.
These outdoor lighting ideas will provide a warm welcome to guests, help make a home more secure, and look good to boot.
Front yard lighting ideas
Front yard landscaping ideas must include lighting for both aesthetics and safety. Just as with backyard lighting ideas, be sure to check the safety rating of each of the lighting fixtures you intend to select when installing garden lighting. Those designed for ‘wet’ conditions are necessary, although on a covered porch, a ‘damp’ rating could be sufficient.
1. Add pretty porch lighting
There is a plethora of front porch lighting ideas that are sure to create a warm welcome for you, your family and visiting guests. In fact, there are so many different sizes and styles that it can be hard to narrow down.
'When it comes to selecting front yard lighting ideas for a porch, I consider a few things,' explains designer Mimi Meacham of Marian Louise Designs (opens in new tab). 'The first is the amount of light needed. Is it a big or small space? Tall or short ceiling? Are there other light fixtures around? Second, I think about the style of the house, whether it a traditional home or modern or somewhere in between. I will typically use the style of the home to guide the light fixture choice. Finally, I decide between a flush mount, sconce or pendant. This depends on the amount of space you have as well as the look you are trying to achieve.'
2. Consider materials
Consider the materials used for front yard lighting, which will influence the look as well as outdoor lighting cost.
'Most people want lights that look like they've been part of the property for years,' explains Charlie Bowles from Original BTC (opens in new tab). 'Natural materials with interesting patinas such as weathered bronze, copper and brass are the best choices as they are low maintenance, age well and weather beautifully.'
3. Illuminate flower borders
Solar garden lighting ideas can be the ideal way to show off plants after dusk falls. 'If you have landscaping or a garden out front that you are particularly proud of, make sure it’s visible night and day with landscape accent lights hidden among your plantings, or add stylish lampposts as interesting as your foliage,' recommends Mark Feldman, chief home officer of Riverbend Home (opens in new tab).
4. Ensure garden steps can be seen
Keep garden steps safer to use after dark as part of front yard lighting ideas.
'If you are lucky enough to have walls at the side of your steps you have the perfect place to put your lights,’ explains Philip Milner, technical manager at Lighting For Gardens (opens in new tab). T‘hey could be recessed into the walls to give you an uncluttered look, or if that isn’t practical, there are surface-mount lights available that don’t stick out too far. Some of the lights have built in eyelids to reduce glare.'
5. Add lighting alongside a path
If your home is accessed via any sort of front yard walkway, then it is important to add lighting. Illuminating the path not only helps visitors find their way and reduces the potential for accidents, but it will also prevent them from accidentally trampling your lawn or flower bed ideas.
6. Consider easy-to-add solar lighting
Unlike wired front yard lighting ideas, solar lights require very little effort to install. Simply position and place the attached panel in the sunlight.
'Solar lighting is great for bringing a warm glow and sparkle to your garden and you don't need to think about plugging it in. The majority are on timers, too, so you don't have to remember to turn them on or off as they come on automatically at dusk and switch off six hours later,' says Thalia Shaw, founder of Sparkle Lighting (opens in new tab).
'You do need to have a bit of patience with solar lighting and make sure your lights have prime conditions to make sure they work including a clean solar panel at all times and plenty of direct sunlight with no shadows. They also sometimes need turning off for a while to give them plenty of opportunity to recharge.'
7. Add a decorative touch with festoon lights
Opt for outdoor string lighting ideas for the prettiest of illumination in the front yard. Festoon lighting looks beautiful draped over a rose arch, hedge or fence. Alternatively, opt for a freestanding design like these shepherd hook festoon lights to line a path.
8. Don't forget to install security lighting
Think garden security lighting as part of front yard lighting ideas to keep your property more secure. You can opt for floodlights, spotlights or wall-mounted lamps, and consider motion-activated lighting that will be triggered as necessary but won’t leave the exterior of your home constantly illuminated.
'Lighting is an effective and cost-efficient way to deter would-be burglars,' says Mark Feldman. ‘Use security floodlights to “flood” an area with bright light. Lanterns let people know you are home, whether positioned at the end of the driveway, near pathways, or beside the door.
'Ensure that all entries to your home are illuminated: wall lights on either side of a door, or ceiling lights on covered entryways provide perfect lighting to welcome people who you want at your door, and discourage those who you don’t.'
9. Flank your driveway with light
Drivers will appreciate the additional guidance of front yard lighting ideas as they approach your home, and it is a good idea to factor it into your driveway design before you start building rather than trying to install it later on.
'Exterior lighting for walkways, driveways and steps is far easier and more effective if you plan it in at the construction stage,’ says Piero De Marchis, director of Detail Lighting (opens in new tab).
‘This not only gives you more options which are likely to be less intrusive, but it enables you to custom install cabling before anything is built. There’s nothing worse than having to channel through a perfectly set driveway or dig up the perfect lawn.’
10. Light up a living wall
Climbing plants and living wall ideas are a beautiful way to add character and personality to the exterior of your home and they offer a great opportunity to incorporate decorative lighting into your front yard.
'If you have a climber with strong branches or if you have a trellis, you can attach the lights to the branches or panels using garden twine, wire or zip ties,’ says Thalia Shaw. ‘You won't be able to see the cable as they come in dark or light brown. Green leaves and sparkly fairy lights are just the perfect combination.’
How do I illuminate my front yard?
Adding solar lights is one of the easiest ways to illuminate your front yard. Add solar stakes to your borders and alongside a path or drive to provide pretty yet practical illumination. For a more significant addition, install motion activated security lighting to provide additional safety to your home – it will also prove useful when coming home at night.
'Advances have made external lighting much easier to retrofit, cheaper to run and more resistant to the elements and condensation,’ says Piero De Marchis. ‘Retro-fitting LED lighting is of course possible and there are plenty of ways to do this. Discreet exterior in-ground path lights and spike lights are great lighting solutions that create interest and depth.'
Does outdoor lighting increase home value?
Outdoor lighting can increase home value. ‘Well-thought out and properly installed front yard lighting can increase a property’s value by 20 per cent or more,’ says Ben Fisher, luxury real estate specialist at The Fisher Group. ‘It not only accentuates the architectural structure but also strengthens the security of your house.’
'Well-thought out front yard lighting makes a home look more warm and welcoming,’ he adds.
Outdoor lighting could also make a home easier to sell. 'Front yard lighting definitely adds a perceived value to your home, making it more desirable to buyers,’ says Bob Scott, founder of Sell Land (opens in new tab). ‘The most common reason why is that it enhances the aesthetic and outdoor features of your home. With front yard lighting, you can choose to accentuate the best features in the area such as the garden, walkways, and door design. This increases your curb appeal and can invite more buyers in.'
Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.
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