How To Position Flood Lights On Your House

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Outdoor lighting really adds glamor to your home’s facade if you design it right. But just as with lighting the inside of your home, exterior lighting is a bit complicated, and there are many ways you can go astray. When it comes to flood lights, for example, there are definite do’s and don’ts to consider when installing and positioning them.

When you position your flood lights you should have a combination of uplighting and down lights (moon lights) to achieve a balanced effect. Often using more bulbs but with lower wattage gives a more cohesive look than few stronger lights. For security, use flood lights near all your entrances, but do not point the lights towards the door or window, but rather from the entrance pointing slightly outward.

Lighting the outside of your home is a great way to show off your architecture and landscaping at night. In order to understand how to position your lights, you should know what effects different angles give off. This will help determine what light angles work best for you.

More Softer Lights Versus Fewer Stronger Lights

Just because they are called flood lights does not mean you need to light up your home like a Christmas tree. If you happen to live in a very lively area (picture Art Deco Miami), then by all means, go for the bright lights and palm tree shadows vibe. Otherwise, having more lights with softer bulbs provides for a softer light wash.

In order to achieve this effect, you will want to position lights at multiple angles. Having a few soft lights on the ground pointed up mixed with lights in trees or elsewhere pointing down is effective. Having lights in several locations coming from multiple angles will help you achieve a seamless and soft lighting on your home.

Use Down Lights To Mimic Moonlight

If you are looking for a more natural feel to your lights, you want some moonlighting. Moonlighting are lights that face downward, often placed from a tree. This helps mimic the natural effect a full moon would have on the home. Up lights are more noticeable because they defy nature, but this is what gives them the appealing dramatic feel.

Use The Right Bulbs And Fixtures

More lights, however, is not always the solution. While approaching the home from multiple angles is a great way to balance the soft lighting, it is not always feasible. You might be able to achieve the same effect with fewer lights if you purchase the right flood light bulbs and fixtures.

Remember that your home is three dimensional, with lots of angles to consider. This means some lights might need to be further away than others. These lights further away should have a more powerful wattage, but you don’t want them to be a bullet light. Bullet lights are like spotlights (think a hard driveway flood light). Instead, find bibs and pictures that create a softer wash across the house. This is particularly important for the further, higher wattage bulbs.

Adjust Lighting With Changing Landscape

When it comes to outdoor lighting, it’s important to remember that while your home might remain the same, the landscaping around it changes over time. If you have a new home, this is especially true, as you likely have short bushes and saplings that will explode in size.

If you have lots of growing plants around your home, make it a point to make sure your outdoor light positions are effective as time passes. You will most likely have to make tweaks and adjustments over the years. So keep that in mind during the initial installation (don’t make the lights impossible to move).

Placing Flood Lights For Security

While flood lights can really make your home pop and look wonderful at night, there are other reasons people install flood lights. Security and safety are some of the most common reasons people opt to install flood lights. Security flood lights are often separate switches or entirely motion sensor operated. These lights are harsh. Therefore, you likely don’t want them on all the time, as they are not enjoyable to look at. Here are some top tips on how and where to install and position your flood lights for security purposes.

Driveway Motion Sensor Light

One of the most common and effective security flood lights is a motion sensor driveway light. Having a light positioned to highlight your driveway is a great flood light for several reasons. For one, it helps you guide your car up the driveway at night instead of veering onto the grass. It also helps alert you whenever a car comes up the driveway.

Place Security Lights High Up Pointing Down

It is best practice to install all your security lights high up (near the roof of your home ideally). This ensures they are pointing downward. This is a great vantage point, and allows the light to shine unobstructed. It is also a great place to put a motion sensor. This location is also difficult to tamper with if for some reason there was an intruder.

Point Flood Lights At All Entrances

For security purposes, if you are going to install floodlights it is best to have them not only up the driveway, but at all entrance points, with sensors. This also includes any outdoor patios with furniture, decks, or pool areas. This is a good way of keeping tabs on your outdoor space. It ensures no intruders or animals are causing trouble.

Pro Tip: Never point flood lights directly at entrance points. Install them at the point of entry facing slightly outward.

Call In The Professionals

Lighting and security experts can be a wonderful resource for you when you are figuring out how to position your flood lights. While hiring a light expert to do a full outdoor light installation can be quite pricey, a walkthrough and estimates are not. Take the professional’s advice, and see what you can possibly do on your own, and consider professional help when needed.

Final Thoughts On How To Position Flood Lights On A Home

Flood lights are a great way to showcase your house at night. They are also a fantastic way to deter criminals and nocturnal animals. For a natural outdoor lighting look, combine uplighting and moonlighting (downward lights) to achieve a soft and balanced look. For security purposes, have motion sensor lights at all entrances, facing downwards and outwards.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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