There are many types of outdoor lighting fixtures, different types of lamps, lens and wattage output to consider. The most commonly used types of outdoor lighting are directional lighting, area lighting, niche lighting, well lighting, under water lighting, hanging lighting & wall washing.
Directional lighting includes up lighting and down lighting. Up lighting utilizes fixtures mounted on stems and placed in ground. Important considerations when using this type of outdoor lighting is the ability to maneuver and aim the fixture. This is not the case when installing down lighting. Down outdoor lighting fixtures are primarily mounted on a structure, a building, trellis or patio, and usually pointed down or sideways to illuminate where needed.
Area outdoor lighting and path lighting are generally used when you desire to illuminate a larger area and are customarily placed on a path or walkway. Both area lights and path lights are mounted on a stem and driven into the soil with a stake. Path lights are generally 24” tall or less and area lights are generally 24” –60” tall. Both path lights and area lights are typically aimed downward. Path lights are best used in open areas or when surrounding shrubs and plants are low. Area lighting works extremely well in areas with tall growth and where dark-sky ordinances are in effect.
Niche lighting refers to outside light fixtures that are typically designed for use on walls, in walls and/ or stairs and steps. Types of niche lights include surface mounted, recessed and sconce. Surface mounted lighting is mounted directly to the structure and pointing downwards. Recesses mounted outside light fixtures are mostly hidden within the surface they are mounted in. Recess lighting is categorized by a two-piece unit consisting of a faceplate and a box to hold the fixture. The third type of niche lighting is sconce or wall lighting. This outdoor lighting usually reflects soft light upwards, while the fixture is hidden by a half cone-like structure that can be plain or more decorative.
Well lights are placed below the ground surface and are often used to up light trees in lawn areas or areas of high traffic. Well Lights can be either directional or fixed location.
Under Water lights are waterproof outdoor lighting fixtures generally used in ponds and water features.
Hanging lights are often used over head or in trees and can be mounted with a stem or on a chain.
Wall washing is a technique that generally uses softer bulbs with a wide spread and are aimed directly at a wall or solid surface such as hedge rows and borders.