Bright Ideas

Lightbulb Moments – Security and Perimeter Lighting (Part 2)

Posted by Alafiya Shabbir on Aug 2, 2016 3:43:18 PM


The second part of the security lighting series gives some advice on what type of fixtures to install, where to put them, and what to watch out for when designing a security lighting layout.

Placement is Key

Where you choose to put your light fixtures is just as important as what fixtures you install. Understanding the way the light will affect your vision, how it will interact with other light fixtures and security cameras, and what might get neglected by the light source will help you properly place your light fixture. Placement considerations should include mounting height, installation angle, and the distance between fixtures; if your property is large or has a complex layout, it may be beneficial to seek professional help in planning and installing your lights.

What Truly Matters in Light

What you really want to consider when selecting lights is not necessarily the fixture’s wattage, but its lumen output. This is a measure of how much light a fixture emits, where wattage is just a measure of power consumption. For the best comparison metric, check a fixture’s efficiency – or lumen output per watt.

Lights & Where to Put Them

1. Garage Doors, Corners, Backyards

In areas like these, you want to make sure you cover as much horizontal area as possible, in multiple directions. Large backyards, long driveways, and blind spots around corners may need light in a number of different areas, which can be done with multiple fixtures, or with a fixture that can shine light in more than one direction. Balance your need for visibility with the number of outdoor connections you have by getting a multi-directional fixture, without compromising on light quality. You can improve the functionality of fixtures in these areas by adding a motion sensor or dimmer to the light.


multidirection.pngWhat to Install: Multi-Directional Floodlights

2. Perimeter and Entrances

These are the areas that are most susceptible to being breached, as they are the first point of contact for potential trespassers. Instead of using overhead lights on entrances, try mounting two fixtures on either side of the door. This improves visibility of visitors when seen through the peephole, as overhead fixtures can cast shadows on their face. Two semi-bright lights may end up being more useful than one, really bright, overhead fixture.


awwllll.pngWhat to Install: Wall-Mounted Luminaires

3. Walkways, Driveways, Trails, Large Lawns or Fields

Lights for these areas, unless also used for decoration, would benefit greatly from the addition of a motion sensor. Any movement in open areas will trigger the light, acting as a visual alert to the possibility of trespassers. These fixtures are also a great safety feature, especially in areas of uneven ground or by walkways with stairs.


bollard.pngWhat to Install: Landscape Lights, Stair Lights

4. Porches, Decks, Street-Level Windows

Security lighting can also be integrated as a design feature. Improve both the visibility and the visual appeal of outdoor areas by installing light features that highlight porches, decks, and windows. Recessed or ceiling lights with motion sensors or photocells (more on this in part 3) can both highlight features of your home or office, while deterring unwanted visitors from setting off the lights.


clb.pngWhat to Install: Ceiling Mounted or Recessed Lights


Proceed with Caution

A word to the wise – any kind of security lighting does not necessarily make your property more secure. If the brightness or installation angle is not properly considered, lighting may do more harm than good.

Excessive lighting in a certain area can worsen night vision. If there is disproportionate illumination on your property, activity in dimly lit areas can be harder to spot. Having a light directly in the line of vision can also create glare, impeding you or potential witnesses from being able to spot threats. In the same way, security cameras are also sensitive to light, so take into consideration where they are placed in relation to your fixtures. Having a cut-off feature on your fixture is a good way to combat the issues of excessive or misdirected lights.


Picking the right fixture for the right location will make a huge difference to the efficacy of your security lighting. While you may not need every type of lighting described above, consider combining multiple options, and playing with orientation and layout, to get the most comprehensive security lighting plan possible.

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Topics: Security Lighting, Lightbulb Moments