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What are Pathway Lights?

Article Details
  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 13 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Pathway lights can be an intriguing addition to outdoor landscaping while also serving the utilitarian purpose of illuminating walkways. With a little planning, they can provide a decorative and efficient way to light walkways without using glaring overhead lights. A variety of light styles are available, so there's sure to be an option suitable to most every decor.

Sold individually and in sets, pathway lights can be used to illuminate one or both sides of a walkway. They can also be used to provide a stunning focal point in a garden or flowerbed. In some instances, a single light, strategically placed, can provide dramatic landscape impact.

Depending on the purpose for installing pathway lights, an appropriate number of lights should be selected per the manufacturer's instructions. If the lights are purely decorative, their spacing, frequency, and height are strictly a matter of aesthetics. If the lights are crucial for safety, a homeowner should be sure to select lights which offer the best illumination for the project. The homeowner may also want to consider purchasing more lights and installing them at close intervals.

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Although they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, there are several decisions to make when considering adding pathway lights to a home, garden, or business. Some pathway lights have sensors which can automatically turn the lights on when the sunlight decreases to a certain point. They will also automatically shut the lights off in the morning. This is a fail-safe option for ensuring walkways will be lit even if no one is at home to manually turn on the lights. It can also help cut costs, because the lights will not be accidentally left on during the day.

Other choices to consider include the material of the pathway lights. They come in a wide variety of materials, including plastic, brass, copper, and stainless steel. Pathway lights also are available in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and intensity. Some lights are on tall posts, requiring a more solid foundation other than simply pressing them into the ground. Before installing pathway lights requiring a concrete base, they should be temporarily hooked up viewed them at night as well as during the day to be certain their placement creates the desired results.

Another consideration is the power source for pathway lights. While many use standard electricity and underground wiring, others are solar-powered. They use solar panels and rechargeable batteries. These are charged when the sun is shining during the day, and even recharge on cloudy days.

Pathway lights can enhance a night-time landscape and add an element of safety at the same time. The light can be directed downward, where it is needed, rather than skyward where it can annoy neighbors and walkers. By selecting the proper lights and positioning them correctly, a homeowner can create a dynamic landscaping effect that combines beauty with safety.

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