Your Guide to Buying Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

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Lighting up the outside of your home, garden, and yard can provide a number of benefits. Homeowners use outdoor lighting as additional security for their home, and also as decorative accents for their garden and architecture. When buying lighting fixtures for their property, homeowners should look at the wide range of options available, from lamp posts to spot lights. Consider using multiple kinds of lighting fixtures around a property to fulfill all of your needs. Different areas of the property will work better with specific kinds of lights. For instance, deck lighting is perfect for lighting stairs leading up to a raised deck. Lanterns can be used to illuminate the perimeter of the deck or porch. Homeowners will find any number of uses for lighting fixtures once they start looking at the options. The important thing to remember is the type of fixture to be used and its location on the property. Outdoor lighting fixtures can be purchased in local hardware stores, on lighting fixture websites, and at online auction sites like eBay.

Types of Fixtures

Homeowners have several types of fixtures to choose from in their outdoor lighting needs. These fixtures can be small or large, easy to install or require an electrician, and all illuminate the house and yard in some way.

Lamp Posts

The lamp post has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans when they were filled with lamp oil. Later lamp posts were gas light from lines running under city streets. Modern lamp posts use electricity and light bulbs to illuminate the night. Homeowners can get their own lamp posts to mark the beginning of a driveway or front walkway. This type of fixture requires a professional electrician to install the lamp post. However, homeowners should be able to replace light bulbs in their posts on their own. A solar powered lamp post is also a good option for homeowners who don’t want to run new wiring.

Lanterns

Early lanterns were also used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, but they were candle and oil lanterns. Modern lanterns use electricity and light bulbs. These fixtures are similar to lamp posts, but are hung from chains or affixed to the sides of walls. Homeowners can install just one lantern or install several lanterns in a series along a patio or walkway. Lanterns can be tied into the home’s electrical wiring by a professional, or homeowners can buy lanterns that will plug into an outside wall outlet. There are also solar power lanterns that, if placed properly to get the sun’s light, will provide light after dark.

Path Lights

Other smaller lights that light up pathways and driveways are path lights. These smaller versions of lamp posts are basically light globes attached to a single post that is set into the ground. A series of these posts can be inserted along pathways to provide light for people to see their way when walking up to a house at night. Path lights are usually wired together on a single electrical line that is buried into the ground. Solar path lights are also very popular for homeowners who don’t want to go through the effort of bringing in an electrician for wired path lights. Each solar light has a small solar panel on the top of it that is connected to a rechargeable battery. During the day, the solar panel recharges the battery and at night the battery powers the light. There is a light sensor in the top of the light to automatically switch the light on after the sun goes down.

Flood Lights

Homeowners looking to improve security around their home will want to look into flood lights. These lights are attached to the roofline of the home and on posts around the perimeter of the lawn. They are usually wide angled lamps with a specially shaped halogen bulb inside the fixture, or two standard light bulbs. Floodlights provide very bright light intended to illuminate a wide area. As security lights, most flood lights are only meant to be on for a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. These lights can also be attached to motion sensors.

Spotlights

The spotlight is similar to a flood light, but provides much less intense light and not as widely spread. Spot lights are also designed to be left on for several hours, up to the entire night. These lights can be used to provide illumination on a pathway, doors, and even architectural elements. Many older skyscrapers have spotlights to light up interesting features on the buildings at night. Spot lights do need to be tied into the building’s electrical system.

Deck Lights

Homeowners with outside stairs or decks that they plan on using at night may want to install deck lights. These light fixtures are recessed into the fronts of steps or sides of the wall beside each step to provide enough light to see by. These light fixtures are wired into the home’s electrical system through the back of the fixture, so the wire is hidden from view. Usually, an electrician is required to install these lights on a deck or patio.

Porch Lights

Homeowners can also go with the standard porch light that is affixed to the exterior of the home next to the front door or on a porch. The porch light can be switched on and off from inside the house. It provides light for people walking up to the house and allows people inside the home to see who is at the front door. Porch lights use standard incandescent or fluorescent bulbs that are easy to replace. Electricians are needed to install the fixture for the porch light and run the wiring to a switch inside the home. Porch lights can be left on for hours at a time.

Lighting Locations

The many different kinds of outdoor light fixtures can be used in different locations around the property. Some light fixtures have multiple purposes, such as providing homeowners with both security and illumination. A basic chart can help homeowners decide which light fixtures they need to use and where to place them around the property.

Use

Location

Fixtures

Spot lighting

Walkway, patio, pool, garden, deck

Porch lights, deck lights, lamp posts, spot lights

Security lighting

Porch, backyard, garage

Flood lights, spot lights, porch lights

Decorative lighting

Front door, patio, pool, architecture, garden

Spot lights, lamp posts, lanterns

The above categories for how to use light fixtures around a home are only suggestions. Homeowners can be as creative with their lighting as they please in order to create the look they want.

Powering Outdoor Light Fixtures

Outdoor light fixtures will require power to light up the bulbs placed inside of them. These fixtures are usually connected to the home’s electrical supply. The wires that provide power to the fixtures are hidden underground, behind walls and stairs, or tucked into lamp posts, chains, and cables to hang lights in series. Homeowners should always hire a professional electrician to install new lighting around their home. It’s also a good idea to call the local utility companies for information about the placement of power and gas lines on the property. Solar power lighting is also a good option for those who want to avoid the extra cost and time of installing light fixtures. Solar lights provide their own power from small panels that are attached to the fixture and charge up rechargeable batteries. Plus, these lights can be installed by the homeowner without assistance from an electrician.

Buying Outdoor Lighting Fixtures on eBay

You can buy outdoor lighting fixtures on eBay by clicking on the Home, Outdoors & Decorcategory, then clicking on the Home & Garden category, and then clicking on the Yard, Garden & Outdoor Living category. From here, you will want to click on the "Outdoor Lighting" subcategory in the navigation menu. This will sort the listings automatically to display only those that feature outdoor lights.

Know the Seller

When buying lighting fixtures on eBay or any type of electrical item, it’s a good idea to get to know the seller before bidding. Every seller that has previously sold items on eBay will have customer feedback in the form of comments and a star rating. This system allows you to check up on a seller’s history and see if previous customers that purchased similar products were satisfied. To get to a seller’s feedback history, click on the seller’s name in any listing. This will open up another page with previous customer comments and ratings.

Conclusion

Homeowners can choose from any number of types of lighting fixtures to light up their properties. Best of all, these fixtures can be used in combination to create an overall lighting scheme. These fixtures can also be used for multiple purposes around the yard and patio. Spot lighting not only illuminates architectural and garden features, it can also be used to provide light for walking and sitting out on the patio. Lanterns provide a decorative accent, but also provide enough light to see by when outside or walking up to the house. The security-minded homeowner can use a porch light for added safety at the front door and also to see who comes calling. Additional safety precautions can be taken in the form of floodlights for the back yard and side yards around a house. When putting in any type of lighting fixtures, homeowners should call on the assistance of an electrician. Outdoor lighting fixtures can be found on eBay.

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