yard with lights in grass and around trees

When you move into a new house, or even if you’ve lived in the same home for years, your focus is usually on home renovations and landscaping, not exterior security lighting.

But according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, investing in security lighting is a smart move for two reasons: It prevents intrusion, and it increases safety.¹ Given that there are 2.5 million burglaries in the U.S. every year,² security lighting is one of the few ways that you can easily protect the safety of your family and your property.

While planning security lighting for your entire estate can seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. You can start with these basic guidelines:

Focus on your front and back entrances first.

Contrary to popular belief, 34% of burglars walk right through your front door, and 25% slip through your back door.³ Installing lights and cameras on both sides of each entrance, instead of only one over your door, gives you a clearer view of visitors through peepholes and cameras.

Next, tackle your garage.

Your garage provides easy access into your home, and it's another favorite entrance for intruders, so be sure to secure it with motion-detecting spotlights and cameras pointing to your valuables.³

Illuminate your gate or fence.

Adding lights with cameras to your main entrance gate lets you know immediately if anyone is on your property. Placing light fixtures on each gate post or pillar not only adds more security, it also adds to the architectural interest of your home.

Light up your drive.

When it comes to security, no part of your property should be left in the dark. Consider adding downlights that attach to your trees or your house, creating a moonlit effect, or installing well light fixtures drilled directly into the concrete.⁴ Both create an elegant, seamless look.

Leave no shadows.

Consider illuminating dark foliage by attaching lights to trees and under shrubs.⁵ The goal is to create a yard where there’s no place dark enough for an intruder to hide.

When purchasing lights, be sure to look for fixtures that are weatherproof and have long-lasting LED bulbs. Opt for motion-detecting lights because they’re more likely to scare away intruders.

Also, consider how bright you want your property to be while you’re sleeping and what kind of ambience you want to create. A fixture’s lumen value will reveal how bright it is. For instance, floodlights are ideal for expansive estates because they light up large areas with up to 3,500 lumens,⁶ but if you have a smaller property, this may be far too bright.

Because you’ll want to monitor your property remotely, look for lights with Wi-Fi connectivity that can be controlled from your smartphone. That way, you’ll have peace of mind and control over your family’s safety even when you’re miles away.

¹ “Security Lighting,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security, dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/SecurityLighting-HLT_0907-508.pdf (September 2007).
² “Burglary Statistics 2021 — How Safe Is Your Home?” Safe at Last, safeatlast.co/blog/burglary-statistics/#gref (2021).
3 “Best Places to Install Home Security Cameras,” Emily Ferron, https://www.cnet.com/home/security/6-places-every-home-should-have-security-cameras/ (April 16, 2021).
⁴ “Illuminating Your Driveway: Creating Safety and Visual Appeal,” Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, utahlights.com/blog/illuminating-your-driveway-creating-safety-and-visual-appeal (accessed June 17, 2021).
⁵ “How to Illuminate Your Yard with Landscape Lighting,” Sandra Petersen, hgtv.com/outdoors/landscaping-and-hardscaping/how-to-illuminate-your-yard-with-landscape-lighting (accessed June 17, 2021).