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  • Lighting your driveway provides safety and an attractive setting at nightfall.
  • Fixtures mounted to a column are a great way to add lighting to a driveway.

Driveway Lighting Techniquesac

Driveway Lighting Technique (PDF)

Driveway lighting seems more important than it is. Since people use their headlights, more than one or two lights in the driveway area can be excessive. “You don’t typically want to highlight the driveway,” says Matt Barton of Copper Creek Landscaping, Inc. in Mead, WA. Gerry DuBreuil of Belknap Landscape Company, Inc. in Gilford, NH adds,“We’ll normally just use lighting at the entrance to the drive.”

Driveway lighting is important to help provide a safe and welcoming entrance to your home. A common mistake is over-lighting a driveway and ending up with a runway-like effect. Instead, just enough landscape lighting should be used to guide drivers safely along.

Fixtures should be placed along a driveway wherever there are close obstacles or changes of direction. Obstacles may include trees, walls, fences, boulders, or a hillside. Lights are also very important at the entrance to a driveway and the destination, which is typically the front door or garage. Properly illuminating a driveway's entrance provides a visual clue at night to drivers, while properly illuminating the destination makes parking and exiting a vehicle safer.

When lighting a driveway, the first thing you'll need to decide is if you want to use electrical or solar lights. Electrical lighting provides brighter illumination, is more durable and has many styles to choose from, while solar lighting is inexpensive and eco-friendly. If you choose fixtures powered by electricity then you'll need to have wiring run along your driveway by an electrician or outdoor lighting specialist.

There are many different fixture types and outdoor lighting effects that can be used to light a driveway. Install a decorative lamppost or two at the entrance to a driveway is the most popular choice. A similar option is to have an entry pier built out of brick or stone on both sides of the driveway and then top them with large outdoor lanterns. Entry piers can also serve double duty as a mailbox and address marker. If you have a long, curving driveway consider lining the edges with path lights. This will help visiting drivers see the route that lies ahead of them. In order to avoid the runway effect, path lights should be placed every ten to fifteen feet on alternating sides of the driveway. Additionally, you may choose to highlight features or plants along your driveway. Often a few up-lights in trees or shrubs that line the driveway provide the perfect amount of light. Finally, exterior wall lanterns can be installed next to your garage doors, this will help illuminate the parking area of your driveway.

Landscaping Network

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