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Custom backyard lights can give you the curb appeal your home deserves and the safety you need. From lining your driveway with pathway lights to installing sconces to flank your front door, the options are endless.

A mix of functional lighting and decorative pieces goes a long way in both the front and backyard. It’s a way to get creative and transform your outdoor living space into a true extension of your interior. That said, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Here are some tips.

Dos and Don’ts of Outdoor Hardscape Lighting

Do figure out your style

Would you like your front or backyard lights to mimic the style of your indoor lighting? Are you looking to accentuate your architectural exterior in a unique way, or do you prefer a minimalist approach. From modern to Cape Cod to art deco, lighting comes in many styles and it’s up to you to decide what you like best.

Do balance aesthetics with security

Start by analyzing your outdoor hardscape lighting needs. Walk around your home at night with a flashlight. Notice dark areas that should be lit for safety or to highlighted for aesthetics. Consider the types of light that would best suit your needs – ambient for general lighting, task lighting for cooking food and accent lighting to add drama to architectural or landscape features.

Don’t forget specific areas that could benefit from lighting

Whether it’s the steps, the patio or driveway, identify which areas would benefit from lighting. Then consider the best way to make the lighting choices cohesive. For instance, the combined use of outdoor wall lighting over the front door with a line of outdoor sconces on the fence is a nice way to balance security and beauty.

Do explore options in fixtures

Exterior lighting fixtures are always a great option. Pendants, ceiling fixtures and wall sconces are standard, but other categories are gaining popularity, such as bollards vertical posts that increase visibility along architectural paths and uplights to highlight water features or plantings.

Don’t limit the possibilities

Every landscape benefits from the standard outdoor hardscape lighting, but take the opportunity to get creative. You can build a functional outdoor living room on any budget and design enhanced lighting schemes around it. This will greatly increase the value of your home and give your family years of enjoyment.

When you’re ready to start planning your outdoor lighting strategy, be sure to partner with an expert landscaping company with expertise in exterior lighting. They can analyze your property and determine what would work best.