How to Light, Residential

How to Light: What are the things to avoid when specifying step lights?

This question was answered by Bill Plageman, VP of marketing at Amerlux.

The step light should be the simplest thing, and one of the most useful lighting tools for the exterior landscape. But there certainly are things you need to know.

1. Avoid glare and avoidable spill light.

Step lights, by their nature, are designed to light downwards, so avoid those fixtures that squirt their light in all directions. They can become a source of light pollution.

2. Plan your placement carefully.

Don’t just look at the intended location of a fixture by standing right in front of it. Take a few steps back, and then see what happens when you look at it from each side. And might it create a light nuisance for overlooking rooms and patios?

3. Don’t just buy cheap.

Step lights are usually built into stonework, backing onto backfill or earth. Make sure that the fixture you’ve selected is sufficiently robust to put up with sodden ground.

4. There will always be water around.

Make sure that the fixture is properly sealed against water ingress and that the electrical connections are protected and absolutely sound.

5. Consider the broader environment.

If your fixtures are going near the sea, then you will also want to make sure that the fixture is appropriate for the salt that is in the air.

6.Make it elegant.

This is more to do with the quality of installation. You may choose the best-looking fixture, but if the contractor makes a hash of the install, then you’re left with an ugly lighting solution, which is never a good thing.

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