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Choosing Ideal Patio Lighting

Updated on August 11, 2010

Choosing the best lighting for an outdoor setting can be frustrating on a good day given the abundance of factors that go into the cost decision. The key to properly installing a set of patio lighting is to figure out the ideal scope for backyard lighting -- the overall area and quality of light -- and then set a price to avoid going over your personal budget. A set of patio light fixtures can be found at any major home improvement stores, often with educational workshops detailing how to install and maintain the models, but it is a good idea to educate yourself about the various designs and price ranges before going to a store to check out live models.


You do not necessarily need professional help to install a set of lights, but determining the exact specifications of bulbs and hook ups may require an electrician's assistance. Nearly every home in the United States has both a main electrical fixture, so that the lighting can be controlled from an interior switch, as well as exterior sockets for portable set up. This gives a lot of flexibility to customers, and some find that a set of mobile lights works better than taking the time and money to rig up a lighting set to their home's electrical connection.


Lighting is no different from any other appliance in or around your home -- it must be maintained in order to keep it from failing. Lights are not drastically high service, and may not require anything more than simply changing burnt out bulbs, but there are some steps that every customer should take to ensure safety and continual working capacity. If any tree branches are directly in line with the light set, you must trim the branches back to avoid overheating and possible combustion. Likewise, the area directly underneath the lights must be cleared of any flammable furniture, debris, plants, or other materials in case of an electrical overload. Overloads can result in sparks and melting, which in turn threatens the very house itself! For lights that are hooked up via extension cords, use surge protectors to keep them from overpowering during storms or power fluctuations.

Patio Lighting Considerations


A set of lighting can be very cheap or very expensive, depending on which lighting models or designer styles you are interested in purchasing. A simple set of six-watt bulbs for exterior lamps only costs a few dollars, while a complete outdoor chandelier system can easily cost upwards of a thousand dollars. Outdoor lights have to be strengthened against the elements and animals, so they may cost slightly more than their interior cousins, but the price difference is not substantial. Patio lighting from Home Depot, for example, has prices ranging from fifty to four hundred dollars. When choosing a design, your personal finances must be the major priority, lest your purchase exceed your capability. Don't forget to look into outdoor patio umbrella lights as well - they can be inexpensive to purchase and very easy to maintain.


Like any other type of lighting, General Electric fixtures are the most popular and prevalent on the home improvement market. GE light fixtures include everything from a simple ten-watt bulb to an outdoor floodlight that can practically turn night into day. Customers are mostly pleased with GE products, claiming that the vast range of capability and specifications are ideal for complex projects or different backyard environments. Those who are critical of the brand claim that their bulbs burn out too quickly and suck up too much power; low intensity lights are available and require less energy, but also have less light quality as well. For any brand and any purchase, decide whether the power of light is more or less important than the price tag.


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