Exploring Outdoor Lighting: Types and Applications of Exterior Light Fixtures

Exploring Outdoor Lighting: Types and Applications of Exterior Light Fixtures

Have you been stranded at night outdoors or on the street, with the outdoor lights not working? It can be a scary experience, and the instinct is to remove your cell phone and turn on your phone torchlight. It makes you think about your safety, and how we can sometimes take outdoor lighting for granted.

It can also be a daunting task to select outdoor lights for a house, with so many different lights available. You may need information to narrow down outdoor lighting ideas. We help you list down all the outdoor light types and explain the application of exterior light fixtures, and which type of light to select for which purpose.

Exploring Outdoor Lights

  1. Spotlights: A small powerful light that is used to focus on a certain perimeter of the outdoor area.
  2. Flood Lights: High-intensity lights that provide broad lighting to general outdoor areas.
  3. Up/DownLights: Uplights are installed at a low level or a ground level and shine their light upwards. Downlights are installed at higher points and shine their light downward.
  4. Inground Uplights: These are special types of underground lights that can be installed in wood, pavement, gravel or earth, with light that shines upwards from the ground above.
  5. Barn Lights and Gooseneck Lights: These are barn-style lights hung from the ceiling or attached to a wall. Many of these fixtures have a curved arm that resembles a goose’s neck and hence are also called Gooseneck lights.
  6. Wall Sconces: These are decorative lights used outdoors to flank objects such as entryways and corridors.
  7. Troffer Lights: Troffer lights are ceiling lights mounted within the ceiling and are also called recessed lighting.
  8. Wash Lights: A wash light is used to highlight a specific outdoor area. They are similar to Spotlights but softer and warmer.
  9. Step Lights: They are light beams installed along staircases and corridors and typically placed on the riser of the step.
  10. Path Lights, Garden Lights, Landscape Lights: These are used for lighting up private gardens and landscapes, and allow one to tread at night safely and conveniently.
  11. Bollard Lights: Bollard Lights can be used to light up pathways and driveways.
  12. String Lights: These are decorative lights on wire or string and are used for aesthetic appeal.
  13. Outdoor Wall Lights and Lanterns: These are lights installed on the wall for illumination, and are used as recessed lighting.
  14. Hanging Lights: They are used to illuminate an outdoor area, while also improving the aesthetic style of the area.
  15. Post Lights and Pole Lights: They are mounted on top of posts or poles and are typically used for illuminating walkways, driveways, and outdoor areas.
  16. In-Ground Well Lights: They are mounted inside the ground and used to light up large plants, trees, sculptures and buildings.
  17. Underwater Lights and Fountain Lights: These are waterproof outdoor lights installed inside the pool or fountain area. They are used to give an artsy effect to water bodies at night, while also keeping them illuminated.
  18. Weatherproof Pendant Lights: They are waterproof outdoor lights used for overall lighting of general areas outdoors, and work in all weathers.
  19. Motion Sensor Lights: When an object or person enters the sensor’s field of view, the sensor makes the lights turn on. This gives security as well as convenience with power efficiency.

Usage of Outdoor Lights

Type of Light Function Type of Lights Applications
Ambient Lighting General-purpose lighting which generates enough brightness without glare and allows proper visibility outside.
  • Floodlights
  • Outdoor Wall Lights and Lanterns
  • Wash Lights
  • Path Lights, Garden Lights, Landscape Lights
  • Weatherproof Pendant lights
  • Illuminate the entire outdoor area based on the light’s coverage.
  • Makes it easy to sit, walk and move around outdoors.
  • Helps identify obstructions and be safe outdoors.
Task Lighting Lights used for performing specific tasks outdoors. From front-porch lights to car garage lights, task lights can find multiple applications outside.
  • Floodlights
  • Step Lights
  • Post Lights and Pole Lights
  • Bollard Lights
  • Inground Uplights
  • Hanging Lights
  • Path Lights, Garden Lights, Landscape Lights
  • In-Ground Well Lights
  • Troffer Lights
  • Wash Lights
  • Helps highlight the door and the visitor outside.
  • Illuminates the outdoor seating area and promotes conversations.
  • Easier Barbecues.
  • Helps move around the Outdoor area.
  • Illuminates the car garage area to make it easy to park and drive out.
  • These lights can be used as garden outdoor lights for spending some time in greenery.
  • Find your path always, and never get lost.
Accent Lighting Accent lights help you flaunt focal points in outdoor spaces and highlight special features of your outdoor areas like architecture, fountains or garden elements.
  • Spotlights
  • Up/Downlights
  • Barn Lights and Gooseneck Lights
  • Wall Sconces
  • Troffer Lights
  • Underwater Lights and Fountain Lights
  • Highlight the best elements of your walls.
  • Highlight the statues and sculptures in your outdoor area.
  • Highlight the important elements of your garden.
  • Highlight your fountains and swimming pools.
Security Lighting Security Lighting helps you deter and detect intrusions or other criminal activity occurring outside.
  • Floodlights
  • Spotlights
  • Motion Sensor Lights
  • Create a psychological deterrent to criminals and potential intruders.
  • Turn On lights in case of movement or activity via Motion Sensors.
  • Monitor the entry points and vulnerable areas.
  • Blind your intruders in case of a potential intrusion with powerful floodlights.
Decorative Lighting Decorative lights help you bring oomph and character to your outdoor spaces.
  • String Lights
  • Wall Sconces
  • Barn Lights and Gooseneck Lights
  • Underwater Lights and Fountain Lights
  • Weatherproof Pendant Lights
  • Illuminate pathways with fancy outdoor lights.
  • Highlight garden areas and beautiful trees.
  • Create positive vibes for your outdoor party.


So now we’ve seen the different types of outdoor lights and the uses of outdoor lighting with the application of exterior light fixtures. Outdoor light fixtures are meant to be for the long run, and not meant to be frequently replaced. So we recommend buying outdoor light fixtures from reputed manufacturers with a focus on durability. There are LED outdoor lights and solar outdoor lights as well to choose from. Hope that this article gives you all the options to select from and helps you make better buying decisions.
Do not live in the dark outside. Let your outdoor lights flash their smile, and let the good times roll.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) :


Q1. What are the most energy-efficient outdoor lights?
LED lights and solar-powered fixtures are the most energy-efficient options for outdoor lighting. They consume less power and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

Q2. How can I improve the security of my home with outdoor lighting?
To improve home security with outdoor lighting, install motion sensor lights around entry points, use bright floodlights to cover large areas, and ensure all dark corners are well-lit to deter intruders.

Q3. What are some creative ways to use outdoor lighting in my garden?
Creative ways to use outdoor lighting in your garden include installing string lights for a festive atmosphere, using spotlights to highlight trees and sculptures, and placing path lights along walkways for both beauty and safety.

Q4. How do I choose the right outdoor lighting fixtures for my home?
When choosing outdoor lighting fixtures, consider the purpose (e.g., security, ambiance), the style that complements your home’s architecture, the level of illumination needed, and the energy efficiency of the fixtures.

Q5. What maintenance is required for outdoor lighting fixtures?
Maintenance for outdoor lighting fixtures includes regular cleaning to remove dirt and debris, seasonal adjustments to ensure optimal performance, and timely replacement of bulbs. For solar-powered lights, ensure the solar panels are free of obstructions and dirt for efficient charging.


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