With the moon rising and the temps falling, summer nights can be the best part of the day. Don't let darkness drive you inside; use these four tips to switch to outdoor lighting:
1. Less is better. Use less than maximum wattage light bulbs. Strive for a soft evenly lighted area. Light a 30-ft. walk with three to five low wattage fixtures and the house front with two low wattage fixtures.
2. Good lighting simulates full moonlight, not high noon. A full moon shines 1/2 foot-candle of light on the ground — not much, but plenty to see by.
3. Choose one item to highlight with focused lights: gables, stone walls, flowering trees, ornamental gardens, house numbers. Use a powerful flashlight to simulate effects before buying fixtures. Play with placement and note where light and shadows fall. A fixture shining on an object nearby casts larger shadows. Up-cast shadows do not occur in nature, so they look both unusual and dramatic.
4. Reflected light works well to cover large areas with soft light. Bounce light off walls, trees or shrubs.
Something else to reflect on: Outdoor lighting will increases curb appeal, makes walkways safer and discourages prowlers.