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4 Essentials for Patio-Area Lighting

Landscape Lighting — Lights in Patio in Pelham, AL
The patio is often the hub of your outdoor lifestyle. Therefore, you likely want to take an informed approach to planning the lighting for this area. As with all other lighting plans, you'll have layers of lighting. Below are some essentials to keep in mind while formulating your patio lighting plan.

1. Know Your Patio's Purpose

Homeowners use their patios in many different ways. Some use it as an entertainment space, while others prefer to lounge. Cooking, playing with children, and soaking in a hot tub are all activities you might expect to engage in on your patio.

While you may enjoy all of those activities at one time or another, you probably lean more toward certain types of activities. Take some time to evaluate what your outdoor lifestyle really looks like. For instance, you may envision hosting neighborhood barbecues, but you might be more likely to send your children outside to enjoy the sun on a regular basis.

Knowing your outdoor habits will help you map out your lighting plan. If you dine alfresco in warm evenings, you'll probably emphasize a different style of lighting than if you enjoy reading on the patio. That said, you can always designate task spaces to facilitate numerous styles of outdoor living.

2. Light Up the Food Preparation Area

If you plan to do any outdoor cooking, you'll need to set up task lighting. Your approach to illuminating this food preparation area doesn't have to be quite as involved as in your home kitchen but is close to the same considerations.

Firstly, make sure the grill is well-illuminated. You don't want to have to struggle to see what you're doing while operating the grill as that can be dangerous. If you plan on other food preparations taking place indoors, the spotlight on the grill is enough. Otherwise, install pendant lights to illuminate countertops.

When approaching this task lighting plan, adhere to a couple design basics. For one, ensure the lighting doesn't overwhelm other areas of illumination. You want to create a sense of balance, not put the cook on display. Secondly, install dimmers. That way, when you're done cooking, you can utilize the existing fixtures for ambient lighting.

3. Delineate the Patio Perimeter

Delineating your patio's perimeter is essential for safety concerns. Likewise, you might not want guests or family members to step off the patio flooring onto your landscaping. So, you'll probably want to include lighting the perimeter in your illumination plan.

If you have rails around your patio, a good option is to illuminate these. For example, you can install post caps with LED lights.

If you don't have rails, look for ways to illuminate areas around the patio. For instance, you could install grazing or another style of landscape lighting for a garden bed bordering the patio. If you have a nearby tree, consider outfitting it with a downlight to create a moonlight effect.

4. Illuminate Steps and Paths

Another important safety concern is illuminating areas to and from the patio. You likely don't want to step off your well-lit patio into total darkness.

Firstly, any steps leading away from the patio must have adequate illumination. Nearby landscape lighting might be sufficient, depending on how bright it is. However, consider illuminating the steps themselves. You can even install LED tubes in the steps themselves. Or, if you have railings for the steps, consider the post caps or other lighting for this structure.

You have different approaches for illuminating the path. Again, nearby landscape lighting may be sufficient. Conversely, consider installing garden lights along the path. Space them out, though, so they don't turn your pathway into a ribbon of light.

Illuminate the important areas and plan for ambient light to best facilitate enjoying your patio at night. Contact Supreme Electric for help designing and implementing your patio illumination plan.