Exterior Task Lighting

Courtesty of OutdoorLighting Perspectives

Courtesty of OutdoorLighting Perspectives

Hi again!  This blog will continue discussing exterior lighting, focusing on the task lighting of our entries. In review, our yards need three layers of lighting:

1)      Ambient, low level general impression lighting

2)      Task lighting for where we perform tasks

3)      Accent lighting for areas of interest (the brightest area of lighting)

You may have a walk leading up to some steps at your entry. Perhaps a fixture with lights about eye level will be enough for both walkway and steps. The steps will need brighter lighting than the walk so no one trips on them. Therefore, put the light close to the steps, allowing the waning light from the fixture to glow down the walk. If you have a longer walk, you may need a lower, small auxiliary light further down the walk, being careful not to create monotony with too many of the same fixtures.

The steps consist of treads we walk on, and risers (at the back of the tread ) that take the treads to the next level. If we light the steps from below or with lighting that illuminates both tread and riser equally, we have a safety hazard. The user can be easily confused seeing both treads and risers as “one” plane because of the equal lighting on both, instead of 1 horizontal plane (tread) and one vertical plane (riser).But if we light the steps from above, the treads are lit and the risers are in shadow. This is a much safer method of lighting steps.

Now visualize the door. Consider putting a light right above the door or at the side of it. Having one light centered in a porch ceiling will give overall light, but you will be in your own shadow trying to unlock a door. If you have this situation, consider adding task lighting over the door or at it’s side.

Next blog, let’s discuss discuss designing for happiness.

See you then!—Sharon Breay