The 10 Best Path Lights
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Illuminate your driveway, patio, front yard, porch, and other outdoor areas around your home with elegance, style, and energy efficiency using one of these sets of path lights. Available in both wired and solar-powered options, these products are wonderful for adding a decorative touch to your property and can also help keep your family safe. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best path light on Amazon.
Surprising Uses For Path Lights
The sentiment behind the movement has its merits, but it can pose a safety hazard to people who would otherwise like to have tall lights on their property at night.
Path lights can certainly create visual intrigue on a property, but they also offer many practical and safety benefits, too. If you spend a lot of time and money on growing beautiful path border plants, you do not want people stomping on them at night, all because they did not see them. There might also be sprinkler heads lining your pathway, and someone with a heavy foot could cause a lot of potential damage were they to step on them in the night.
If the land around your paths drops off suddenly, it can be hard for walkers to see that at night. Taking the smallest step off the path could cause someone to fall. This could prove problematic for you, since injuries caused by inadequate lighting are a major liability issue for property owners. You can use path lights to illuminate stairs, too, which can otherwise be very difficult to see at night.
If you live in a municipality that follows a dark sky ordinance, you may not be allowed to put up high and bright lights at night, since they create light pollution. The sentiment behind the movement has its merits, but it can pose a safety hazard to people who would otherwise like to have tall lights on their property at night. Fortunately, path lights shine down towards the ground and are shielded, so they are usually allowed even in places that are following a dark sky ordinance.
Burglars often target homes with a dark surrounding property. To them, this can indicate that a house is vacant. At the very least, if the property leading to one's home isn't illuminated, it is easy for burglars to navigate around the house, without neighbors or onlookers spotting them. Path lights can deter burglars from targeting your property. They also show that a certain amount of care and attention is put into the home, which could be an indicator of other deterrents like security systems.
How To Choose Your Path Lights
Americans waste an immense amount of energy each year on unused or unnecessary lighting. Fortunately, many path lights automatically shut off at dawn and will turn back on at dusk, so you will not spend money lighting your paths in broad daylight. Many path lights rely on solar power technology, too, and can offer additional savings. If you'd prefer to only use your path lights when absolutely necessary, look for ones with motion sensing technology. These will only turn on when they sense someone approaching, but will otherwise remain off. Weather-resistant materials are a smart choice, no matter what climate you live in, because your sprinklers will probably wet your path lights.
If your landscaping is your greatest pride and you do not want path lights taking away from it, look for a set made from highly reflective stainless steel. These will barely stand out against your garden. Just make sure that your stainless steel path lights have a zinc coating since this will protect against corrosion. Many also add to the ambiance and come in unique shapes, designed to look like crystal rocks and other natural materials.
If you decide to buy more traditional lights that must be electrically charged, look for an extra long extension cable so you are not limited on your placement options. Some are designed specifically to sit flush against the sides of buildings, steps in a staircase or anywhere else that stake lights would not fit.
Additional Tips For Enjoying Your Path Lighting
If you would like to create a nice warm glow around your home and garden, look for path lights that are around 12 to 14 inches tall. Because light spreads out the further it gets from its source, setting the bulbs higher above the ground will allow them to illuminate more of it. To get the most out of your lights, look for ones with a high lumen count. This way, you can use less of them, and spread them out further apart.
One form of a path light doesn't sit on the walking path at all but rather up in the trees, or some higher platform. These are called downlights and can create a pleasant moonlight effect. You can use path lights to draw guests' attention to your favorite parts of your property, like your rose garden or trellises, as well as to draw their gaze away from unsightly areas like trash cans and sheds under construction.
To avoid a harsh runway look, stagger lights on either side of the path. This will create a feeling of balance. Don't put your path lights right next to the walkway because this will only illuminate the ground beneath them. Instead, set them a few inches back from the walkway, so they also illuminate the surrounding area.
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