Home Safety: Outdoor Path Lighting Ideas


Outdoor Landscape Lighting Walkways, Paths, and Stairs for Safety

If you have ever walked your property at night, you know how difficult it is when you can't see where you are going or what's in front of you. Perhaps, you worry guests unfamiliar with your home might trip and fall.

Adding light to walking path is a great way to increase nighttime safety on your property. It will guide you, your family members, and guests while preventing trips and falls. With the proper illumination techniques, you can take comfort in knowing everyone can find their way around your property safely.

Here are several/few functional path lighting ideas that won't distract from the beauty of your home:

You will want to focus on properly lighting walking paths and steps to increase nighttime safety on your property.

Consider the following outdoor path lighting ideas to elegantly illuminate your walkways and improve safety: 

Properly lighting walking paths and steps on you property will improve the nighttime safety and avoid trip hazards on you property /// You will want to focus on properly lighting walking paths and steps to increase nighttime safety on your property. There are many options to illuminate a walkway and a designer can help you determine the best options based on your needs. Here are some of our favorite ways to light walkways. 

Downlighting Walkways 

Downlighting is one of our favorite ways to light walkways and steps. This unique technique directs light down from up above, maybe a nearby tree or structure, to create unique shadowing effects in the evening.

Down lighting is one of our favorite path lighting techniques. This type of lighting does require a few prerequisites in order for it to work properly. Established trees, for instance, will make down lighting a magical experience.

A down light is a fixture that is mounted high up in an established tree, or off the architecture of a home's soffit. The light is then aimed down onto the path below. A soft wash of light is cast over the path, creating a dreamy moonlight effect. If there are a few branches to obscure a small portion of the light, even better! The dappling of the leaves' shadows on the ground help to make the effect feel more natural. 

While down lighting can require finesse, its definitely one of our favorite methods for lighting pathways.

Down Lighting Walkways, Paths, and Steps 

Traditional Path Lights:

Another option involves using path lights. These fixtures are approximately 14”-18” or taller and can be strategically placed along walking areas. Sometimes we use a combination of path lights and downlighting to make sure the area is evenly illuminated.

Path Lighting for Walkways, Paths, and Steps


The traditional path light is one of the most versatile fixtures. This fixture is made up of a post with a top hat. Housed inside the top hat, there is a light bulb that emits light downward onto the path. The idea is that the top hat blocks glare from the light source so we can experience the light's effect without directly seeing the source. 

Traditional path lights come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. whether you have a more traditional home, or something more contemporary, there is a path light that can complement your home's aesthetics.

Path Lighting Omaha NE McKay Landscape Lighting LE21

Low Voltage vs. Solar

You'll find there is a big difference between solar powered path lights, and low voltage powered path lights. Solar path lights emit very little light, and tend to simply mark the the outline of a path, rather than reveal the path. They also break easily and are built from hard plastics.

Path lights powered by a low voltage landscape lighting system are actually wired into your home's power, and cast a light that will reveal the path.  Its important to be selective about fixture options. You'll want something robust  and engineered to stand the test of time.

At the end of the day, a quality landscape lighting fixture will give you much better results.

Bollard Lights:

Bollard lights are solid, sturdy, and stately. They provide a soft light and create the most extraordinary shadows. Bollards are most commonly used to light driveways but are a great option to light paths, walkways, gardens, patios and more. Learn more and see more ideas here»

Lighting Walkways and Paths with Bollards


In-Ground Path Lighting 

If your backyard has a pool, it's a good idea to light the walkway from the house to the pool and surrounding areas. This path often has elevation and surface changes. Without proper illumination, it can be dangerous at night. Downlights or path lights will help increase the visibility and safety around your pool into the evening hours. 

Lighting for Pool Safety


Outdoor Lighting Options for Steps:

There are several options for lighting outdoor stair or steps. Step lights or LED tape light can be mounted under the overhang of steps or railings. Illuminate deck stairs with these custom fixtures or wall lights can be installed flush to nearby hardscapes. 

Places with elevation changes pose the biggest hazard. Steps and stairways especially need to be lit for safety. One of our favorite ways to light a stair case is with a recessed tread light. A tread light is a fixture fixed back into the vertical face of a step that directs light down onto the horizontal surface below. 

Deck Stairs and Step Lighting

The louvers (the gaps that allow the light to shine through) keep the light from shining in your eyes. These lights are also great for lighting steps because they are low profile and blend into the step during the day time.

Deck-Stair-Lighting-Step-Lighting-McKay-Landscape-Lighting-Omaha,-NEPatio Stair Lighting Omaha Nebraska McKay Landscape Lighting L 06

When deciding how to light your outdoor areas, you'll want to consider how the position of the light might impact your surrounding areas. You don't want to overpower the space or momentarily blind someone walking up or down the stairs and unintentionally cause them to trip or fall. Effectively lighting your walkways, paths, stairs, and steps on your property help keep you, your friends, and family safe.

There are numerous ways to light a path or set of steps. For instance, many steps can be lit with any of these three path lighting approaches we touched on.

Keeping your walkways safe is important! No one wants to have someone fall or get hurt because they couldn't see where they were going.

If your thinking about lighting your paths or steps, try and think about it from different angles. Have fun with it! It your still not sure where to get started, consider meeting with your local landscape lighting designer. With years of experience, they'll be able to quickly help you find the best way to light your path. 

A landscape lighting professional can help you select which application will work best for you space given the situation. They'll know how to strategically light to accomplish security, safety, and beauty so that you can achieve your lighting goals for your home.

Looking to Enhance Your Property?

Our dedicated team at McKay Landscape Lighting works with you to create a custom landscape lighting design that's unique to your property. From design to installation to service, you can count on our team of experts to make sure you are happy with your lighting system for years to come. 

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