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What is Pathway Lighting?

Pathway Lighting for your Maryland, DC, or Northern Virginia Home

Make a Pathway to Heaven

Led Zeppelin may have a stairway to heaven, but you can have your own pathway to heaven! Just install path lights around your home. Pathway lighting is an important feature because it serves multiple functions. Path lights increase safety for people and plants, highlight certain features of your yard, and increase curb appeal. Find the style that works for you amongst the many different types of outdoor lights

Finding the right style fixture can be hard, but there are many to choose from! Style can vary depending on location, so you'll want to choose the right look for the area. You don't want to throw off the feng shui of your yard. Path lights can be used around flower beds and ponds, but don't let them shine directly downwards on plants.

Highlight these key features of your yard at night and keep people from wandering into them. Proper placement ensures the best results, so read on to learn about it.

See pathway lights around the McAuliffe home in Alexandria >>

Pathway lighting along natural area

All About Pathway Lighting

Let's go over the proper placement and the different types of pathway lights and see which is best for your home:

Proper Path Placement with Lighting

Don't let it look like an airplane runway! The most common error with path light placement is it’s overdone. Typical, homeowners and professionals alike place pathway lights 5-8’ apart on average, depending on what bulb you’re using. LED's or halogens, each has a different effect. You may have to move them around to find out which is best for your area. 

Finding the right balance is important for effect when installing outdoor lights. This is especially true if you have multiple light types. Too close together and there's too much light. Too far apart and people can’t see where they're stepping. If safety is the main concern place them closer together, 0therwise, make sure the lights don’t overlap. Path lighting doesn’t have to be in a straight line. Staggering lights is another strategy people use for placement. It gives a more natural look instead of the runway situation mentioned earlier. Now let's take a look at some different types of pathway lights.

solar powered light in grass

Types of Pathway Lights

Here we'll go over 4 different types of lights you can use to illuminate your paths. This way you can see which ones could work best for your home and personal tastes. Let's start with garden lights.

Garden Lights

These pathway lights are best for also lighting up natural areas around the path. They are usually 18-24" tall and shine light onto the pathway and the plants around it. The bulb being higher up means there is less of a chance it will hurt the plants it's illuminating. If this isn't the style for you, read on to learn about bollard lights.

Silver Spring garden pathway light fixture

Bollard Lights

A literal pillar of light, bollard fixtures give a 360-degree spread of light. The path and the whole area around the fixture can be lit, but these lights work best at the beginning and/or end of a path. Since they are brighter than other lights, they make good focal points for showing people the right direction to walk. But be careful of glare! To avoid this, use low-wattage bulbs or have bollards with a solid top. This prevents light from shining directly upwards. You can have path lights that shine upwards and not blind guests, read on to learn about them.

You can learn about bollard lights here >>

Large bollard fixtures along path

Flush Lights

Not like a royal flush, but they can be just as good when lighting a path. People call them flush lights because they are flush, or even, with the ground. In other words, they are in-ground lights. People can even step on them (don't worry they shouldn't break). They softly illuminate up and out, without blinding anyone. If brightness is what you're looking for, look at using downlights.

Look at some flush pathway lights >>

Recessed outdoor deck lighting

Downlights

Kind of like spotlighting, downlights can brighten up any area, including pathways. Downlights, especially for paths, are usually higher up to provide a wide area of light. They target a certain area with little glare. The farther away from the path the greater the area of illumination.

Downlighting used as moon light, pendant light, and grazing light to brighten a back patio

The Premier Path Lighting

Will you do it? You can not only brighten up your home but make it safer for guests as well by installing lights along your paths. These lights can be solar or wired. Show people where to walk and protect the beautiful natural areas on your property. If you have a water feature you can light up a path around it. You can also light up the water feature itself.

Read about lighting up water features >>

Want to Make a Light Path Around a Pond or Pool?

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Pool & Pond Lighting>>