Twilight comes earlier this time of year, and homes throughout your neighborhood probably come to life near dark with illuminated paths. You can have your own lighted walkway with traditional Malibu lights, which are very simple to install. Or you can do something unexpected — something different that will set your home apart from others in the neighborhood.
Lights make walkways safer, and they can also be an attractive feature that highlights your home year-round. Here are 4 slightly different ideas to get your creativity going and if you're going to do it yourself, check out these tips for designing your homes outdoor lighting at ConductiveElectric.com.
Embedded Walkway Lighting – Strips or Stars
Embedded lights are a professional job, which usually requires installing the lights at the time the sidewalk is poured. You can go with a single, embedded light strip down the center or consider two with one on each side of the walkway. So when you're ready to add a walkway to the front of your home (few new houses include landscaping), talk with your contractor about installing one or more embedded light strips.
Another take on embedded lighting is a starry look, which is accomplished with small, individual lights set at the time the sidewalk is poured. Using individual lights, you can choose as much or as little lighting as you want.
You can also create artistic designs with individual lights. Create spirals, bars, stars, or anything else you like. You could even set your house number in the sidewalk near the street, so the pizza delivery person will never get lost again.
Let Lanterns Light the Way
If embedded lights seem a bit too modern for your taste, take walkway lighting the opposite direction. With lanterns placed at irregular intervals, your sidewalk has the illumination it needs without a too-perfect, cookie cutter look. During the holidays, you can replace the lanterns with luminarias. (Read: Luminarias, a Treasured Holiday Tradition)
Lanterns such as these can house electric lighting, the same as typical off-the-shelf walkway lights. Alternatively, if you don’t want the investment of new wiring, simply place battery-operated or solar tea lights inside each lantern. With solar tea lights, you’ll need lanterns with a glass top so they can collect sunlight during the day. A plus is that solar lights turn on automatically as soon as twilight arrives.
Walkway Lighted from Above
Not every sidewalk needs lights embedded in or situated along the sides of the path. If you’re thinking about something truly unexpected, look up!
There are no rules that state a sidewalk has to be lit from below. Using string solar lights, you can create an arbor effect over the sidewalk. You’ll need supports for stringing the lights. Or if you have taller vegetation, rely on that to hold the lights from above.
Subtle, Indirect Lighted Walkway
If none of these suit your fancy, perhaps visible light fixtures are the real issue. But you don’t need a lantern, a torch, or even a light strip to have a beautifully illuminated path to your home; not if you have plenty of landscaping. (Read: Outdoor Home Decor with Creative Lighting)
Lights tucked invisibly in and around vegetation add a soft glow to the walkway as they highlight your trees, shrubs, and any other landscaping feature that you like. Nearly any object that’s near the walkway is a candidate for tucked-in lights. And if they’re solar, you don’t need new wiring.
A lighted walkway might not be at the top of your home-improvement list, but considering the dramatic effect, maybe it should be. You can go all-in with a new sidewalk and embedded lights, or take a super easy DIY route with a few beautiful lanterns and solar-powered tea lights.
If you’re not sure about the right placement for walkway lights, take a photo standing at the end of the walk facing your home. You might get ideas from a still-shot photo that wont' be obvious otherwise. This photo trick works for any job around your home, by the way.
Are you in the market for a lighted walkway, but not sure where to begin? Let us know what stumps you. The great thing about a community is that we can solve home improvement problems together!