How to Size Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting can mean the difference between a well-lit, functional outdoor space and an uninviting area that feels neglected. However, in order to achieve the former, it’s important to understand how to properly size outdoor lighting. From determining the right brightness levels to deciding on proper placement, there are a few key factors to consider. In this guide, we’ll explore how to size outdoor lighting to create an outdoor space that’s both stylish and functional.

How to Size Outdoor Lighting

Can You Size Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor lighting is an important aspect of both property aesthetics and safety. By adding outdoor lighting, you can create an inviting atmosphere for guests, highlight landscaping features, and improve visibility during nighttime activities. However, it’s important to get the sizing right to avoid visually overwhelming or underwhelming effects. The size of outdoor lighting fixtures will depend on the height of your ceiling or the area you are trying to illuminate.

Larger or taller spaces may require bigger light fixtures, whereas smaller spaces may need smaller ones. It’s important to strike a balance that complements the space and serves its intended purpose. Overall, correctly sizing outdoor lighting can transform an outdoor space and create a warm and welcoming environment for you and your guests.

Why Should You Size Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor lighting not only enhances the look of your home but also provides safety and security for your family and guests. However, choosing the right size for your outdoor lighting is just as important as selecting the right style. One key reason for sizing your outdoor lighting properly is to ensure it provides enough light to prevent accidents, such as tripping on stairs or walking into a low-hanging branch.

important as selecting the right style

Another important factor is that proper sizing can help reduce energy consumption and increase the lifespan of your bulbs. By taking the time to properly size your outdoor lighting, you can enjoy a beautiful and safe outdoor space for years to come.

How to Size Outdoor Lighting: A Guide to Sizing

1. Consider the Purpose of Your Lighting

When sizing outdoor lighting, it’s important to first consider the purpose of the lights. Do you want to create an ambiance for entertaining guests? Do you need to increase visibility for safety reasons? Are you simply looking to highlight landscaping or architectural features? Understanding the goal of your lighting can help determine how much brightness is required and what type of lights to use.

2. Evaluate the Size of the Space

After determining the function of your lighting, take some measurements of the space you’re working with. Especially for larger outdoor areas, it’s important to consider the scale of the space when selecting lights. In general, smaller spaces can typically be lit with fewer, brighter lights, while larger spaces require more lights with lower brightness levels.

3. Determine Proper Placement

Once you’ve established how many lights you’ll need, it’s crucial to decide where to put them. Depending on your goals, the placement of lights can differ. For example, if you want to highlight landscaping, you might consider placing lights at ground level. If you’re looking to increase visibility, consider mounting lights higher up. Additionally, consider any outdoor elements affecting placement, such as trees, walkways, or stairs.

consider placing lights at ground level

4. Choose the Right Brightness Levels

The right brightness level for outdoor lighting depends heavily on the purpose of your lights. For example, if you want to improve visibility, you’ll want to choose higher brightness levels. However, for entertaining or ambiance purposes, lower brightness levels may be preferred. In general, consider using multiple brightness levels throughout your outdoor space to create a layered, customized lighting experience.

5. Invest in Energy-Efficient Lights

Finally, when sizing outdoor lighting, it’s important to choose energy-efficient lights. Not only does this help reduce energy costs and your carbon footprint, but it also ensures a longer lifespan for your lights. LED lights, in particular, are a popular choice for outdoor lighting due to their energy efficiency and extended lifespan. While they may be more expensive upfront, the long-term cost savings make them a worthwhile investment.

6. Consider Weather Conditions

In addition to energy efficiency, choosing lights that can withstand various weather conditions is important. Outdoor lighting is constantly exposed to rain, snow, wind, and extreme temperatures, so selecting lights that are durable and rated for outdoor use is crucial. Look for lights with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating to ensure they suit your climate and location.

Outdoor lighting is constantly exposed

7. Regular Maintenance

To keep your outdoor lighting functioning properly, regular maintenance is necessary. This includes cleaning debris from light fixtures, replacing burnt-out bulbs, and checking for damaged wiring or connections. It’s also important to regularly adjust your lights’ placement and brightness levels as needed to ensure they continue to meet your outdoor lighting goals.

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to size outdoor lighting effectively. By following these tips, you can create a beautifully lit outdoor space that meets your specific needs and enhances the overall look and feel of your property.  So go ahead, get creative, and have fun with it!

5 Considerations Things When You Need to Size Outdoor Lighting

1. Location

When selecting outdoor lighting, location is key. It is important to consider the type of area you are lighting and the purpose of the lighting. For example, if you are looking to light a walkway or garden path, you will need different types of lights than if you are looking to light an outdoor patio or deck. Additionally, it is important to consider the available space when selecting your lights, as some fixtures may be too large for certain areas.

2. Weather Resistance

Another important factor to consider when selecting outdoor lighting is weather resistance. You want to make sure that your lights can withstand whatever kind of weather conditions they may encounter in your area, whether it be rain, snow, wind, or extreme temperatures. Look for fixtures that have been rated for wet locations and/or high temperatures so that they can stand up to the elements.

3. Light Output

Light output is also an important consideration when selecting outdoor lighting. You want to ensure that your lights are bright enough for their intended purpose without being too bright and causing glare or blinding those who pass by them at night. Additionally, you should ensure that your lights are energy efficient so that they don’t use more electricity than necessary and cost more in monthly utility bills.

4. Style

The style of your outdoor lighting should also be taken into consideration when making a selection. You want to make sure that the style of the fixture complements the overall look and feel of your home’s exterior design scheme while still providing adequate illumination for its intended purpose. Consider both modern and classic styles when choosing a fixture to find one that best suits your needs and tastes.

5. Cost

Finally, cost is always an important factor when making any purchase decision, and this applies to outdoor lighting as well. Make sure to compare prices between different manufacturers to get the most value for your money while still ensuring quality construction and materials from a reputable brand-name manufacturer.

the right
size fixture

Benefits of Size Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting can make a big difference in the appearance and safety of your home’s exterior. Choosing the right size fixture for your outdoor lighting can have even more benefits. Larger fixtures can provide more light, illuminating larger areas of your yard and improving visibility at night. Not only does this enhance the overall look of your property, but it can also deter potential intruders. Furthermore, larger fixtures tend to make a statement and can add a touch of elegance to your outdoor space. Regarding outdoor lighting, size may matter more than you think.

Some Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Size Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is a great way to accentuate the beauty of your home and yard, but it’s important to avoid some common mistakes when sizing your fixtures. One common mistake is choosing too small fixtures to adequately light up your outdoor space. Another mistake is overlooking the color temperature of the light bulbs you choose, which can affect the overall vibe of your lighting. Lastly, people often forget to consider the placement of their fixtures in relation to their power source, leading to unappealing and potentially dangerous arrangements. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that your outdoor lighting is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.


When it comes to sizing outdoor lighting, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. By understanding the function of your lighting, evaluating the size of your outdoor space, determining proper placement, choosing the right brightness levels, and investing in energy-efficient lights, you can create the perfect outdoor lighting solution for your home. From safety to style, proper outdoor lighting is an investment that can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your outdoor space. Thanks for reading our post about how to size outdoor lighting.

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