What Are the Different Types of Outdoor Lighting That Exist Today?


Whether or not you’re getting ready to sell your home, it’s always beneficial to increase your property value.

Adding outdoor lighting to your property can do exactly that. From creating more usable space to enhancing beauty and safety, outdoor lighting is an affordable addition that will improve your property.

That being said, outdoor lighting isn’t a one-size-fits-all feature. There are many types of outdoor lighting to choose from depending on the effect you hope to achieve and the budget you hope to meet.

To help you get started on this simple and cost-effective home improvement project, we’re here to talk about the types of outdoor lighting. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Types of Outdoor Lighting Bulbs

First, let’s take a look at the different types of outdoor lighting bulbs. (Spoiler alert: LEDs are the best.)

HID (Okay)

HID lights are the oldest form of electrical lighting. As you can imagine, lighting technology has improved since HID lights were invented. HID lighting tends to require a “warm-up” period while using a high amount of energy and fading in power over the span of a few years. 

Fluorescent (Better)

Fluorescent lighting is preferable over HID lighting as it lasts longer, uses less energy, and puts off a steady glow. However, we still don’t consider fluorescent lighting the best option for your outdoor lighting fixtures. Fluorescent lighting contains a small amount of mercury, lowering its safety rating, and also tends to cost more per bulb than LED lighting.

LED (Best)

We always recommend LED lighting for your outdoor residential lighting needs. LED lighting produces a more appealing color, accentuating the features of your property rather than washing them out. Plus, LED lighting is affordable and uses 60% less energy than HID lighting while lasting two to five times longer than fluorescent lighting.

Types of Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Now that we’ve talked about why LED lights make the best landscape lighting, let’s take a look at the different types of outdoor lighting fixtures you can choose from. From spotlights to string lights, we’ve got the most popular and useful choices covered.


Spotlights are used to highlight specific features or areas around your property. Spotlights are some of the most versatile outdoor lighting choices because where you place them can change their use in a dramatic way.

People often use spotlights to illuminate walkways, porches, or patios. They may also use them to illuminate decorative features such as statues, topiary, or flags.


Floodlights, as the name suggests, are designed to flood your property with light. Of all the outdoor lighting fixtures on this list, floodlights are the brightest and most impactful.

If you enjoy using large areas of your yard after dark, such as the pool or basketball court, a floodlight will provide the most visibility. Many smart homeowners also use floodlights that are motion-sensitive to increase security around the property. 

Up or Down Lights

Up or down lights are actually spotlights being used in a specific manner. As you may have guessed, these spotlights are either pointing up at your property to illuminate from below or down at your property to illuminate from above.

Up or down lights are a go-to choice for homeowners looking to amplify the beauty of their property. Typically, you will see these lights installed in multiple places near the house, itself. Up and down lighting is a dramatic and timeless outdoor lighting option that looks great on any property of any size.

Step Lights

Do you have steps leading up to your door, patio, or deck? If so, step lights are a great low-cost and low-energy option to increase the safety of using your steps at night. Step lights can be installed on either the vertical or horizontal ledge of each step to prevent residents and visitors from tripping. 

Bollard or Walkway Lights

Bollard lights are a specific type of garden or walkway light that tends to provide the most light. Bollard lights are posts with lightbulbs fixed on the top edge, allowing the light to shine in every direction.

Bollard lights aren’t the only type of walkway or garden light. Walkway and garden lights tend to lead the way in both smart lighting and eco-friendly lighting. You can find walkway lights that are powered by solar, turn on and off from your smart device, and more.

String or “Fairy” Lights

If you’ve ever been to a beer garden or outdoor restaurant, you’ve probably seen string or “fairy” lights before. These lights don’t require a ton of hardware or installation. Instead, they require a wall or ledge and some hooks to hang them from. 

String and fairy lights won’t do much to amplify your visibility. They will, however, add quite a bit of charm to a patio, garden, or other lounging area.

Picking With a Purpose

Now that we’ve talked about the different types of outdoor lighting, let’s take one final look at something to consider: the purpose you’re hoping to fulfill. We’ll give our suggestions for the best types of outdoor lighting to use based on your specific needs.

Best Outdoor Lights for Increased Safety

Looking to increase security? Motion-sensitive floodlights are the best choice, followed by up and down lighting. 

If you’re also looking to increase general safety for residents and visitors, any addition of outdoor light is helpful. However, any lights that reveal a path (like stair and walkway lights) will do the trick.

Best Outdoor Lights for Improved Landscaping

Looking to shed light on your incredible landscaping? Spotlights and up and down lights are great choices. These strategically placed lighting options will cast a dramatic glow on your property’s best features.

Best Outdoor Lights for Boosted Ambiance

As we mentioned earlier, string and “fairy” lights are perfect for boosting the ambiance in your yard. String lights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You’ll even find seasonal and holiday options!

Which Outdoor Lights Will You Install?

There are tons of different types of outdoor lighting to choose from and all of them can boost your property value. We hope that our guide will make it easier to find the best outdoor lighting for your home.

Looking for more home and garden tips? Take a look around for cost-effective projects to beautify your property.