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What Is Exterior Lighting & Why Is It So Important

Exterior lighting softens architecture and sets the scene for the journey through the home: it serves a range of different purposes and adds the moonlight sparkle and drama that a beautiful building deserves. It’s hard to overstate the importance of good exterior lighting choices, but first you need to know what exterior lighting is and the many things it can do for your space.


What Is Exterior Lighting?

Any lighting that is external to the home is considered ‘exterior lighting’. That includes facade lighting, security lighting, and garden lighting. While interior lights are designed to be on display, like decorative jewellry throughout the home, outdoor lights are usually designed to be hidden. They should be out of the way during the day, allowing the building to speak for itself, and help bring the space to life at night. Exterior lighting is used anywhere light is required outdoors: in gardens, on decks and patios, in pool or spa areas, along paths and by entry points, and in entertaining areas.

Some common types of exterior lights include: 



Most gardens won’t include all these different types of lighting, but should include at least a few different types, carefully chosen for the best outcome. 


What Purpose Does Exterior Lighting Serve?

There’s no single purpose for exterior lighting: there are a number of different things your outdoor lighting can do, depending on your priorities and the kinds of lighting you choose. 


Architectural Lighting

Exterior lighting is a subset of architectural lighting, and can be used to highlight the building design. The right choice of lighting can add some drama, help to soften any harsh surfaces of a build, and highlight features of the facade like columns, niches, corners, and other elements.

Safety And Security

Exterior lighting is one of the most important features for safety and security at home. Lighting provides safety by making sure any potential hazards are visible: this can prevent people tripping on their way to the front door or falling in a pond. Lighting provides security by making the home less attractive to thieves, vandals or intruders, who tend to work under cover of darkness. It can also be used to make it appear somebody is home, even if you’re not there.

Highlighting Natural Elements

Lighting can bring your landscaping to life by highlighting natural elements like trees, shrubs and even garden beds. This helps the character of your garden to shine even in the dark, which is great for entertaining or just for your own enjoyment of your home and garden.

Aesthetic And Atmosphere

Your choice of exterior lighting can completely change the aesthetic and atmosphere of your outdoor areas at night. A garden can seem like a completely different place at night compared with during the day, and lighting is part of what creates this atmosphere. Whether you’re hoping for a zen sanctuary or a party feel, your lighting can influence this.

You may be looking for outdoor lighting to achieve all these purposes, or one or two may be a priority. Another way to consider the ‘purposes’ of lighting is to think about what your goals are with the lighting you are putting in your outdoor spaces. You should always know your goals before you make any decisions or purchases.


What To Consider When Planning Your Exterior Lighting

If you’re ready to put together an exterior lighting plan for your home or business, there are a number of things you should consider first. Thinking about these things before you begin will set you up for success.

Start by considering your goals, intentions or purposes. Some of the points from the last section will help you narrow it down: Are you looking for very basic, practical lighting for safety and security, or are you hoping to create drama and draw the eye to certain features? Your approach will be different depending on your desired outcome.

In light of your purpose, you can begin to consider other important factors, including:


When you think through all these different things before you buy, you can make an informed decision and create a sophisticated lighting setup that will be both practical and beautiful. When executed well, exterior lighting can make your home complete, enhance your landscaping and help you use your garden and outdoor areas the way you intend them to be used.

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