External Lighting – What to install, security, benefits, deterrent

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External Lighting

External lighting, as the name implies, refers to lighting installed on the exterior of a building and is just as important as internal lighting, whether it is a residential property or a commercial one.

It not only creates a welcoming exterior but also offers a sense of security by deterring criminals and keeping threats at bay, especially after the sun goes down.

While external lighting on its own may not be an adequate security measure, coupled with other security systems, such as an alarm system, it is enough to ward off potential intruders.

Read on to find out more about external lighting, its benefits, how it acts as a deterrent, and what to install to get the most out of it:


When it comes to illuminating the exterior of your property, many people don’t pay much attention to it and focus all their energy on the property’s interior.

While it is extremely important to light up the rooms and living areas of your house, you need to understand the importance of outdoor lighting as well. Here’s why:

Safety and peace of mind

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of external lighting is the fact that a well-illuminated area drastically reduces the chances of an intrusion or break-in.

Potential intruders thinking of sneaking into your property might be put off by a well-illuminated exterior since it would mean fewer places for them to hide in and an increased chance of getting caught.

Exterior lighting is also highly effective when used with security and surveillance systems since the chances of getting caught and recognised are increased tenfold, giving the property owners much better control in case something untoward takes place.

Other than acting as an effective deterrent, external lighting can simply provide property owners peace of mind and a sense of security. It can also make them more comfortable walking outside after sundown since a well-lit area minimises the risk of painful accidents caused due to tripping in the dark.

Boost curb appeal

Good lighting has the power to transform a mediocre-looking property into an attractive one and significantly increase its value and curb appeal.

Exterior lighting brightens the outdoor area and makes your property not only more welcoming but also helps highlight the best bits through carefully-placed fixtures perfect for drawing attention from the right kind of people, i.e., potential buyers.

External lighting that complements the overall look of your property can have a significant impact on its market value and price tag.


Simply installing exterior lighting isn’t enough. You need to make sure you install the right kind of lighting in the right places to make the most of it in terms of both aesthetics and security.

While there are several lighting options to choose from, LED lights are one of the best since they offer a whole new level of illumination and come with a wide range of benefits.

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are fast becoming common in all types of properties including homes, offices, and public properties, and have several advantages over fluorescent and incandescent lights.

Here are all the reasons why LED lights are the best when it comes to exterior lighting:

Energy efficiency

Coupled with interior lighting, a new exterior lighting setup can result in more energy consumption, which could lead to bigger bills.

Lighting can be a costly affair, especially if the bulbs you are using are not energy efficient, and is one of the main reasons why property owners overlook external lighting.

Luckily, outdoor LED options are extremely energy efficient and help cut down your energy consumption by 80% when compared to traditional halogen bulbs.

Greater lifespan

Although LED lights are more expensive than halogen and fluorescent bulbs, they should be considered an investment because of their great lifespan of around 20,000 hours, which translates to around 10 to 20 years!

Imagine not having to change your external lights for 10 to 20 years. Not only is that a hassle-free way of lighting up the exterior of your property but also saves you money in the long run.

They are highly durable and reliable and are made to withstand shocks as well as internal impacts, both qualities that are ideal for the outdoors.

In addition to that, LED lights are weather resistant and can withstand extreme temperatures. You don’t have to worry about the sun, rain, wind, or snow and having to bring down all the bulbs when the weather suddenly turns.

Environment friendly

LEDs are 100% recyclable and toxic-free, as opposed to fluorescent lighting that contains poisonous substances such as mercury.

Since LEDs use less energy, their use results in reduced power demand from the national grid, thus resulting in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. They also cut down on annual wastage since they don’t need to be replaced very often.

Variety of styles and colours

While traditional incandescent bulbs are available in a nice warm light, LED bulbs are available in a wide range of colour options ranging from cool whites to warm yellows, making it easy to set the mood for different areas and places around your property.

The colour is determined by the temperature of the bulb on the Kelvin Scale and the light is emitted at a constant colour temperature. You can choose the colour according to your preference and suitability by reading the details on the pack.

Ease of installation and replacement

With time and the increasing demand for LED bulbs, installing them has become incredibly easy, eliminating the need to change your existing fittings to switch to the more efficient lighting alternative.

Earlier, there were very limited LED options available, but now it is possible to easily replace every type of fitting on your residential, commercial, or industrial property with a LED equivalent without having to create a huge fuss about it.


External lighting is used for much more than just security. When installed in the right places, it can increase the curb appeal and market value of your property.

Some of the most common external lighting fixtures include outdoor wall lights, outdoor post lights, hanging lights, and ceiling-mounted lights. You may also opt for free-standing outdoor lamps and string lights.

Wall-mounted lights installed onto the exterior walls of your property are a common sight and are ideally placed in key areas close to where movement is likely to occur.

When used in homes, they can be placed on the front porch, in front of a garage, and along the perimeter wall to cover all areas and illuminate the exterior from every angle.

Depending on how you access your property, you will want adequate lighting near any pathways so that you can easily navigate the area at night.

Where you can position these lights depends partly on how they are meant to be mounted. Wall-mounted external lights must be mounted onto a flat, vertical surface, such as a wall or some kind of wooden post or fence.

Whatever you choose, you must make sure that the surface is strong enough to support the weight of the fixture.

Remember to cover all the critical areas and also consider the spread of the light, and whether it radiates light in all directions or just one. You may also make use of landscape lighting for decorative purposes to emphasise the natural features of landscaping elements on your property.


The number of external lights you will need depends on factors such as:

  • The size of your property
  • The portions of the property you want illuminated
  • The level of security required

The size of the property will play a crucial part in deciding the number of external lights since it will determine the total area that needs to be illuminated, along with the most used parts of the property.

Your focus should be to illuminate areas that are used on a regular basis and those that might be difficult to traverse in the dark, such as stairs or corners.

Keep in mind that light diminishes as it moves further from the light source and that it would require a lot of light fixtures to illuminate a large area.

Therefore, carefully position the lights and look to create hot spots, covering the main areas that will get the most use. These areas are likely going to be the front and back porch, the driveway, the garden, shed, garage, and any significant pathway that you would regularly walk on.

A small to medium-sized home would typically need:

  • At least 1 porch light
  • At least 1 garage light
  • At least 1 light in the backside of the house
  • A light at the side of the house
  • Sufficient lights in the garden, especially if there are no street lights
  • A few landscape or path lights to help highlight the main pathway to the house

Always make sure to check the light output that each bulb will produce and keep in mind the spread and shape of the light that is likely to emit from the fixture.

Also consider the proportions of the size of the building to the size of the fixture, making sure they are both compatible, and one isn’t too big or small for the other. You can always add additional fixtures if need be.

Lastly, keep in mind the security conditions and level of risk in the area. If your property is in a high-risk area, you will need to be more vigilant and focus on proper lighting as well as other security measures to deter potential criminals and intruders.


Motion-detection lights are a great option for property owners who do not wish to leave their external lights on permanently. They are also a great way to put focus on intruders trying to sneak in and break into your property.

Motion-detection lighting, or motion sensor lights, are a type of lighting activated by movement. They are regular lights that have a small detector inside them that detects movement, prompting the lights to turn on for a specified period. Commonly used or external lighting, motion sensor lights are also installed indoors.

External motion sensor lights are a great addition to your property and its security since they act as a deterrent to any potential intruders by illuminating weak spots on your property as soon as someone sets foot on them.

The best motion-detection lights are a good form of security in addition to being a convenience, especially for places such as staircases and garages.

When choosing the best motion sensor lights for external lighting, look out for certain things such as the type of sensor, the type of bulb, and the ease of installation.

They use different motion sensors, such as Passive Infrared (PIR) or microwave sensors, and you need to choose the best one according to your needs. Microwave sensors cover a huge range and are more efficient for security purposes, while PIR sensors are more common and affordable.

When it comes to bulbs, LEDs are downright the best option due to their durability and energy efficiency. While their upfront cost may be more than halogen or incandescent bulbs, they are cheaper to run in the long run and boast a much longer lifespan.

Lastly, if you do not want to spend time installing and wiring your external motion sensor lights, you can use solar panels to draw energy and light them up. Solar panels do not require complex installation, will save you money in the long term, and help generate clean and green energy.


Here are a few useful tips when installing external lighting on your property:

  • Try to match the external lighting with the overall style of your property.
  • Focus on lighting up the most important areas and then expand into the less essential ones.
  • Do not forget to light up the sides and back of the property.
  • Keep in mind the different spread and shape of light output since it may affect the number of light bulbs required and how well-illuminated the area will be.
  • To cover a large area, opt for a single bright light instead of multiple small, dim ones.
  • Refrain from using small lights to light up a large area, and vice versa.
  • Do not position the lights too close to each other to eliminate overlapping and shadows.


We, at Calder Electrical, provide a comprehensive solution for lighting all kinds of properties including residential, commercial, as well as industrial properties.

We understand the unique needs of external lighting and are here to provide you with the best ways to not only properly illuminate your property but also make it incredibly energy-efficient.

Our LED lighting services include:

We can survey your property and create a lighting design to see if we can not only reduce the number of light fittings but also make the area reach a lighting level suitable for use.

We can also incorporate motion detectors so that the lights in certain areas of the property are only switched on when someone enters them.

We can give you an energy calculation to show your current lighting costs and the estimated costs by upgrading to LED lighting so that you can see how much you will save, normally aiming for a 40% saving.

If you are undertaking a new installation, we can help you create a lighting design suitable for your property’s layout and intended usage. We provide professional LED installation services guaranteed to meet the current wiring regulations.

In addition to this, we also provide electrical testing and maintenance services undertaken by our NICEIC-certified electricians who make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and that all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to talk to our leading experts right away!

Photo by Philip Moore on Unsplash