Guide to Outdoor Lighting Options for Your Custom Home

December 27, 2018

When thinking about lighting options for your custom home, it’s easy to get distracted by everything inside your home and forget about adding lighting to the outside of your home. Good outdoor lighting will likely combine multiple types and fixtures in order to improve the overall look of your home’s exterior as well as increase security and safety. Here are a few outdoor lighting options for your custom home to get you started:

Outdoor Lighting Options

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a great way to illuminate an area without having fixtures take up space. This can be a great way to add ambient light to outdoor areas, which is one of the summer outdoor decor ideas. Recessed lights, also referred to as can lights, are built into a ceiling and are hardwired into your home’s electrical.

You can use one or two to provide a spotlight or add several for more illumination. Outdoor recessed lighting is a great option to illuminate a front porch, patio, or pool area. It’s also one of the useful deck lighting ideas, especially for stairs.


Floodlights, also often used as security lights, are a great way to brightly illuminate a lot of space. This high-intensity outdoor lighting is typically used to flood large areas with light, which can increase safety and security.

They can be equipped with a motion sensor, a timer, a light sensor so they turn on when the sun goes down, a switch control to flip them on and off, or a combination of methods.

Ceiling Lights

Ceiling lights or pendant lights can be a great outdoor lighting option to provide illumination to a dark porch, patio, or other outdoor structure. Unlike recessed lighting, these lighting fixtures hang down and take up space, so you will need to make sure you leave allowances for height. You will also need to consider the swing radius of your doors and of the light to ensure the light fixture won’t be hit by the opening of a door, a wall, or by a person.

You can also use a ceiling light with a fan to add some built-in airflow when you need it. This can get a great option for gazebos, patios, and more. You just need to make sure the fan you choose is rated for outdoor use and that the ceiling is high enough to accommodate it without issue.

Wall Lights

Outdoor wall lights are a great way to add accent lighting and illumination without taking up a lot of space. These lights come in a variety of styles, are typically hardwired, and can be placed on almost any vertical surface. They can be a useful outdoor lighting option for outdoor stairways, walkways, porches, and more.

Post Lights

Post lights are mounted on their own poles, on posts, or on railings. This outdoor lighting option is flexible and versatile. They can be placed almost anywhere and can illuminate areas away from the house without being as intense as a floodlight.

The height of the post affects function and placement, which only adds to the options available with this type of outdoor lighting. For example, you can use a taller post to illuminate a driveway or a larger area and a shorter post for pathways or landscape lighting.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting refers to the strategic use of lighting fixtures to illuminate a home, particularly to accent the home’s facade or to highlight landscape features. Adequate landscape lighting is often a combination of various outdoor lighting options. Path, stake, or post lights are great walkway options for your custom home.

They can also be used to highlight aspects of a garden or interesting elements of your landscaping. Downlights, uplights, and spotlights can be used to highlight your custom home’s architecture or create incredible outdoor living spaces.

Deck lights can be used to add some illumination to a deck and can be added to deck stairs for safety. The right mixture of lighting options all depends on the look and feel you want for your landscape lighting.

Power Options for Outdoor Lighting

In addition to the type of lighting fixture, you can also consider different power options for your outdoor lighting. Some options will work better for certain types of lights than others and in different ideas for outdoor living spaces. If more than one good power option is available for a type of outdoor lighting, it’s worth the time to consider which will work best for you.

Solar Power

When you use solar-powered outdoor lighting, it draws energy from sunlight and stores it for use instead of drawing from your home’s electrical wiring. Solar power can be more expensive at first, but often ends up more than paying for itself over time.

Plus, you have more flexibility in regards to installation and placement with solar-powered outdoor lights simply because you don’t have to worry about wires and access to electricity. Solar power is a great option for outdoor lighting that stretches far away from the house, like path or stake lights along a walkway or in a garden.


Lights that are hardwired connect directly to your home’s electrical wiring. Because the outdoors need to be taken into account and wiring needs to be run to the outdoor lighting fixture, hardwired outdoor lighting requires some extra safety precautions during installation. In the case of recessed lights or other more permanent lighting fixtures for your porch, patio, or deck, hardwiring is more convenient and safer than relying on outlets.


Outdoor lights that need to be plugged in need to be placed near electrical outlets or a power source. This does limit your options in terms of installation and placement.

It also adds the additional safety concern of exposed cords that will need to be concealed, secured, or weatherproofed. Plugging lights into outdoor outlets can be a great option for temporary outdoor lighting, like holiday decorations.

Ignoring exterior lighting is one of the biggest landscaping mistakes to avoid because good lighting is essential for your home, inside and out. It’s also one of the backyard must-haves for your custom home. There are several outdoor lighting options available and a lot of details to think about when it comes to your custom home.

A custom home builder with an in-house design/build process can walk you through the process and manage all the details so you can stay excited about your dream home. Contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 to bring your dream home to life!