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The Security Benefits of Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is an essential part of an outdoor home security system. Aside from drawing attention to your home’s most defining features and illuminating steps and walkways for safer night-time navigation, it can take your home’s security up a notch, whether integrated with other security measures or as a standalone solution. Strategically-placed outdoor lights brighten up shadows, dark corners, and entry points that may hide would-be thieves, burglars, and other intruders lurking on your property. This “dusk-till-dawn” protection provides a strong sense of security at night, especially when you are away from home for an extended period or when you won’t get home until long after dark. If you’re wondering how you can use landscape lights to improve your home’s security without sacrificing the visual appeal of your yard, this article explains that and more.

6 Tips to Increase Your Home’s Security with Landscape Lighting

There’s nothing that screams, “Empty house!” than a dark home. If there’s little or no light in your yard, it’s an open invitation to all sorts of unwanted intruders. Luckily, landscape lighting is an excellent deterrent against these home invaders who thrive in darkness.

Here are six tips to improve your home’s security with landscape lighting:

1. Light up all exterior doorways and windows.

Doorways and windows are the main entry points for intruders to get into your home. Therefore, it’s always wise to illuminate these areas as best as possible to keep these uninvited guests at bay or potentially catch them in action. Typically, if a trespasser cannot enter through a doorway or window without you or your neighbors spotting them, they are less likely to target your home.

2. Cast lights on dark corners.

A dark corner is a perfect place for prowlers to hide and await an opportunity to harm a person or property or break into your home. By casting light strategically on dark corners, you can help deter property criminals and make your outdoor living spaces safer and more comfortable for you and your guests.

3. Use floodlights to illuminate large areas.

Floodlights are ideal for lighting up large poorly-lit areas, such as side yards, above garages, driveways, patios, walkways, and areas away from the main house, such as barns and shops. These lights deliver wide beams of bright illumination to make these exterior spaces safer and more secure at night while providing a nice aesthetic. Even better, some floodlights feature motion detectors that allow them to instantly shine a light on a person or object entering your yard. While floodlights are an easy way to illuminate a large area, they can also create too much illumination that could “blow out” your home’s exterior features and even affect your neighbors. With this in mind, consider working with a landscape lighting professional to avoid light pollution or ensure to follow the manufacturer’s guide carefully to learn how to adjust and dim the lights properly if you plan to install them yourself.

4. Adjust lighting to avoid shadows.

Corners aren’t the only dark areas providing cover for potential housebreakers in most yards. Shadows cast by trees, shrubs, walls, and fences, can also provide good hiding spots. However, landscape lighting can illuminate these dark areas and reduce the possibility of burglars, raiders, robbers, etc., entering your property.

5. Up light trees with solid branches.

Most thieves will go as far as a climbing tree to enter through an upper-story window, balcony, or rooftop to gain entry to your home. Strong trees provide an easy way for intruders to enter your home. Therefore, if you have climbable trees near possible entry points to your home, consider installing uplights to illuminate the branches to discourage entry via these points.

6. Include motion detector lights.

Some areas around your home might not require all-night lighting, including parking areas, doorways, gates providing access to your front or backyard, or side entrances. However, there should be adequate lighting in case someone approaches. Using motion-detecting lights allows you to illuminate these areas without having them lit all the time. Not only do motion-detecting lights save energy, but they can ward off criminals from your property by emitting a sudden burst of light at any sign of movement. Criminals usually like to remain discreet, so motion-activated lights could catch them in action and could be enough to cause them to flee your property. Plus, when no one is home for a few nights, motion-activated lights can tell your neighbors when someone or something is on your property.

Exploring the Different Types of Landscape Lights for Home Security

There’s a wide variety of landscape lights for home security purposes. Your lighting choice will depend on their brightness, where they’re going to be installed, and other factors. Here are a few popular options to consider:

  • Floodlights: Floodlights are designed to shine intense, wide-angle light on large, dark spaces in your yard, such as driveways, large gates and fences, trees and structures, dense hedges, tall fences, vast spaces, and other exterior features. They usually come with adjustable heads for precise illumination and are often motion-activated.
  • Spotlights: Spotlights focus a direct light on a specified area on your property. They are often used to light up signs, doors, and other hard-to-see areas at night.
  • Motion sensor outdoor lights: These lights are equipped with motion-sensing technology to detect movements outside your home. Once any movement is detected, they instantly shine a light on the person or object.
  • Path lights: Landscape path lights are ideal for illuminating frequently used paths and walkways. They are also suitable for lighting trees and other elements around your home.
  • Mounted lights: Usually, this type of landscape light is affixed to a wall, casting light upward or downward or diffusing a slow glow.
  • Up and down lights: Up lights and down lights are mounted lights typically installed below or at ground level, focusing light upward or downward, respectively. These lights do a remarkable job of highlighting focal points in your yard and contribute ambient light for safety and security.

Read: The Best Landscape Lighting Fixtures for Your Home

Features to Look for in Landscape Lights for Home Security

Not all landscape lights are made equal. Some have distinct features that make them more suitable for home security at night. Several of these features include:

  • Adjustable timing: Light timers are designed to switch the lights on and off at specific times. They usually work in floodlights, path lights, surface-mounted lights, and post-mounted lights.
  • Motion detection: Motion sensors activate the light fixture when movement is perceived, adding an element of surprise. These devices are compatible with floodlights, landscape path lights, and surface-mounted lights.
  • Photocells: Photocells turn on automatically when it’s dark, despite the time of day. You can pair them with time switches to turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn at a specific time. Light fixtures, such as landscape path lights, floodlights, roadway lights, surface-mounted lights, and post-mounted lights, integrate photocells. But make sure to place them where they are not affected by ambient lighting.
  • Dimmers: Light dimmers adjust the light level depending on the traffic in your yard, thereby conserving energy. This feature is compatible with lamps, flush mounts, and pendants.

Where to Install Outdoor Landscape Security Lights

Ideally, you should install outdoor security lights in all the potential high-risk areas in your yard. You can identify these areas by surveying your home’s perimeter and researching your neighborhood’s property crime history. A good rule of thumb is to install lights at all sides of your house. Imagine only illuminating your front yard, and later, your home gets burglarized from a rear-facing window. Yikes!

Here are the ideal places around your home to install landscape security lights:

Type of Lighting Ideal Location
Mounted lights Entrances, perimeter
Recessed lights Pathways, doors, backyards
Flood lights Driveways, backyards, entryways, corners, decks/patios, pool areas, recreational areas, loading areas, porches
Roadway and post lights Driveways, parking areas, curb
Path lights Deck, walkways, trails, stairs, paths
Up lights Trees

Landscape Security Lighting Installation Tips

When installing your landscape security lights, you want to ensure you follow proper protocols for a safe and successful installation. Below are a few tips to guide you:

  • Adjust the light fixtures to point down or toward your property and not the street or your neighbors’ house. Some towns and cities have “dark sky ordinances” to prevent light pollution, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.
  • Ensure the lights are installed where criminal elements can’t tamper with them. We recommended placing all lights at a minimum height of eight to 12 feet and a maximum height of about 20 feet. This range tends to make it difficult for criminals to tamper with the system, but it’s also a good range for your motion sensors to operate.
  • Test the light fixtures’ sensitivity to motion and adjust them accordingly.


Landscape lighting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home safe at night. As you compare and choose the best landscape security lights for your home, remember to consider critical factors and features. Browse our unique line of professional-grade landscape lighting fixtures for the best landscape lights to bring your home’s security to the next level.

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