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5 ways to use pathway lights to lead the way

Oct 4, 2019
Garden Smart Tips

Garden hoses strewn across a walkway, puddles from an afternoon rain shower, or a toy that never made its way back to the toy box: many people can recognize these as the common tripping hazards in the backyard, especially when the sun goes down.

You can avoid these obstacles in a dark front or backyard by using smart outdoor lights in ways that make it easier to see where you're going, control your lights, and add beauty to your outdoor space (no matter how many things you've got lying around!).

1. Combine ambient with task lighting

If the path to your door or through your yard is lined with bushes or trees, you can create a dreamy, diffused glow by placing spot lights at unique angles. Install each spot light directly at the base of the bush or tree, aiming them up to illuminate the plant and cast subtle, leafy shadows. You get the best of both words: ambient and pathway lighting.

Philips Hue Lily spot light mounted onto a wall

Bright idea: Instead of using standard white path lights, boost that wow factor by using Philips Hue Lily spot lights along the walkway. With 16 million colors, you can set just the right shade — bright neon during a party or a soft glow during a romantic dinner — while still illuminating the path.

2. Use outdoor motion lights

Make outdoor lighting effortless with a motion sensor, which uses your movement to turn on the lights. Place an outdoor motion sensor within range of the most-frequented spots in your yard — outside the back door, for example — to turn on your outdoor pathway lighting automatically.

If you want to really customize your outdoor lights and how they function, use a smart sensor. The Philips Hue Outdoor sensor allows you to set different behaviors for different times of day: have your sensor turn on dimmed lights during the early evening hours but bright once the sun is down, for example. You can even set the Outdoor sensor to trigger indoor lights.

Bright idea: For more dramatic motion-activated pathway lighting, install multiple outdoor sensors at different points of the yard and pair them with a separate group of lights. As someone advances down the path, the lights will reveal a different part of the yard.

3. Turn traditional pathway lights modern

Bollard lights are a traditional choice for pathway lighting — these tall, slender light fixtures make a statement when placed along a path. If you like the traditional design but you prefer modern smart lighting for your outdoor lights, there is a solution: a smart outdoor bollard such as the Philips Hue Calla.

Calla bollard placed in between plants

Like other white and color ambiance lights, the Calla bollard features 16 million colors and the ability to be controlled with an app or your voice. Though it's smarter than your average light fixture, it still has that traditional look.

4. Create light design with outdoor strip lighting

Wind them down the path and around the seating area. Bend them along your flowerbeds or shape them to your staircase. However you use outdoor strip lighting, the effect is striking. Outdoor LED strips — especially smart strip lights such as thePhilips Hue Outdoor lightstrip — create a uniform, diffused glow along your path that provides a far different outdoor lighting experience.

Outdoor lightstrip placed in front of plants

There is no interruption of light with an LED strip when used to light a pathway outside. Using a series of LED strips, you can create a colorful outdoor space.

5. Highlight the end points of the path

You've spent all this time setting up beautiful outdoor pathway lighting only to forget one thing: the destination. No one wants to walk a path that leads nowhere, so make sure that each path's destination is illuminated just as well as the path itself.

You can use the same fixtures along the path (Calla bollards beautifully encircle seating areas, while carefully place Lily spot lights allow you to highlight the best parts of the space) or mix it up with a new type of fixture. Whatever you choose, make sure that is complements the path lighting — your destination should be as beautiful as the journey you took.