We’ve all seen homes that are not lit up. Not only do they give a spooky vibe, but they can be a bit off-putting. That’s perfect for Halloween, but what about the rest of the 364 days? Not only does light add ambiance, it can be helpful as well as put residents at ease.
When you don’t see any gleaming outside, it might bring up more questions about your neighbor. You may think that the homeowners can’t be bothered enough to install proper lighting to show off their place or they don’t care. Either way, nothing delights a neighborhood like homes that you can see as you drive by, especially heading up to the front door.
Living in the day and time we’re in makes lighting up the driveway even more important due to conveniences of the modern era. For one, way too many house numbers are not easily seen from the road. When you’re a delivery driver, that can be a massive pain.
There are also cameras on the front door of many dwellings. A recent survey estimated that as many as 36% of homes in America have some sort of video surveillance of their properties. If there is no illumination, how can we see what’s on the camera? So, getting lights in the front can also be a point of safety.
Pulling up to a home with the perfect amount of lighting can be quite a dramatic entrance. It’s like a red carpet where the house is the main event. Perhaps this has gotten you thinking about how you can allow your guests, and yourself, to enjoy more of a statement. You’re in luck!
We’ve put together a list of driveway lights that will get your path popping!
How Do Driveway Lights Work?
Before we get to the list, let’s start with the types of power sources you will need to know.
When you see a bunch of lights on the ground or otherwise lighting up with no visible attachment to a power source, it might be a tad confusing. However, there are actually a variety of ways that the lights stay on.
Want a set of lights that basically take care of themselves? Solar lights need no additional power source and can be stabbed into the ground leading up the way to the driveway. These aren’t necessarily the brightest lights, but they are reliable. Because of the variety of design, you can find a look that fits the rest of the home aesthetic. Line up enough and there will be plenty of light.
For a little more brightness, an independent power source might be helpful. Without having to add any additional wiring or worrying about how much juice is left to keep the lights on from the sun, there are batteries. You can also find lights that are hybrid, meaning they have a solar panel as well as take batteries. That way, no matter what, you will keep the driveway visible while extending the life of the batteries.
Outdoor lighting is usually connected using a low voltage system. When installing the wire to light the way, you will want to keep as close to the driveway as possible. This way, you know where it’s at so there is less likely an opportunity for accidents. Since this involves electrical knowledge, such as inputting a transformer, it might be best to involve a professional, if this is your desired power source preference.
Okay, now, let’s start the light show!
1. Lantern Lights
The classic appearance of a lantern is the one most associated with lighting the way. So, what better way is there to light up the way home than by placing lantern lights alongside your driveway?
These lights are cylinders that can add a touch of light to the greenery leading up to your home or standout as solo acts. The best ones are solar powered, which makes them extremely low maintenance.
Lantern lights are on stakes, so the installation is simple as it goes in the ground that lines up to the driveway.
2. Paper Lanterns
The last lantern was the traditional lantern with a round top, light in the middle, and a bottom that goes into the dirt. Paper lanterns are basically tall rectangles of warm glow. In other words, you wouldn’t expect to stand over one and read a map. However, they feel welcoming and add character. Picture a brown paper lunch bag made of soft light.
Ideally, there would be quite a lot of lining the driveway for the desired effect. Paper lanterns probably look best when there’s more nature in the yard, as opposed to just short grass.
3. Box Lights
These are similar to the classic lantern but are square-shaped. The interior of the box is lit. Around the frame is either an entire box of light emanating from the center, like a paper lantern, or the light is in the shape of a design. You can expect to mostly find the box lights with designs, so they don’t necessarily have as much brightness as a lantern, but can add a touch of whimsy to your yard edge.
When you don’t really want any type of structure sitting on the yard, spotlights are the answer. When it comes to driveway lights, a spotlight might not be what you envision. Many think of the giant lights used in production theaters or for movie premieres. Those types sit on the ground and are pointed in a direction with a specific width.
When it comes to lining the pavement, however, spotlights refer to the kind of device that looks like a flat light blob. There is no box or design, just a flat round slab shooting light upwards. These can also come in handy if you have bushes, trees, flowers, or shrubs on the drive up to your home. They can illuminate what you’ve planted without being the talking point.
5. Ground Lights
Flat lights on the ground are very similar to spotlights but are in a different place. These are actually installed directly into the driveway itself. Instead of being what appears to be sort of a blob, they are flush with the cement. You will likely find them with a black ring around the light, which is used to drill the device into the ground.
These are especially great when you don’t have much of a yard or the shape of your driveway makes lights on the edge less useful when you’re getting out of the car at night. If you don’t have excellent night vision and need help to see as you’re getting out of the car, this provides it. Ground lights give you a tangible safety advantage.
6. Light Orbs
Small round lights are a playful way to add some glow to the driveway. If you space them out enough, they almost resemble a line of fairies coming to hang out with you. Balls of light are great for when you don’t need much luster and just want to add a touch of something. They usually come solar powered on stakes, which means you could also add some to the bushes for a more artsy take.
If you like the shape but need more light, they do come in bigger sizes and can resemble more of a globe or crystal ball.
7. Rope Lights
While your immediate thought might gear more towards holiday string lights, rope lights for the driveway have their own meaning. The proper setup for this option is to have several small poles leading up the driveway. You will string the lights through a hole at the top of the pole. This will continue up to the house where they will likely plug into an outdoor outlet.
When you take a step back, the lines on both sides of the driveway will look like the type to keep people back when there’s a celebrity walking by or when you’re waiting in line for a big event.
Of course, you can use various times of year to replace clear lights with colored lights for holidays. Rope lights offer festive flexibility. Because the bulbs are pretty small, they don’t give off an abundance of light, but there is more than enough to get you up to the door.
8. Industrial Overhead Lights
If your driveway is short and you don’t want to bother with the yard, industrial overhead lights take out the complication. For this light, the best placement would be on a garage door. This is a massive, hooded light that is hung where the light is facing down. Sort of like a spotlight from the sky calling you out. You can get a variety of shapes and sizes, but the idea is that there is so much brightness coming from it that you don’t need anything else.
These, of course, can be used in conjunction with smaller driveway lights. For example, when you have a longer driveway but could still use light by the house. These are electrical, so they do provide the brightest light.
9. Torch Lights
When you like the thought of industrial overhead lights but don’t necessarily want something that big, a subtle alternative would be torch lights. Like the overheads, torches go on the garage. Instead of shining a light downward, torches hold a light up. You can put them on either side of a garage or in between garage openings, when there are multiple doors. These are installed into the home, so they run off the electrical system.
If you could use more light, pair torch lights with lantern lights for a themed outdoor lighting experience.
10. Directional Lights
So these are probably a compromise between overhead industrial and torch lights. They face down like the overhead industrials but would be best used in multiples like torches. They don’t give off a ton of light, but when used together it can be quite luminescent. To be fair, if you stand underneath one, there’s plenty of radiance to read with. Use them by the garage doors or in a carport, attached to the house.
Directional lights are also great space savers. They are small rectangles that barely protrude. This way, they won’t conflict with anything else going on with the walls.
11. Walled Lights
Maybe you have less of a driveway and more of a long walkway up to the front door with short walls on either side. Finding patterned walls happens often with sloped drives or walkways that might take more effort to get up. These walls provide some stability for the walker as well as an opportunity for design.
A great way to add some literal brilliance to the path is walled lights. These are LED lights that are built into the walls and are used in multitudes up the walkway. The area will be so lit up that there is no danger of falling or not seeing that penny someone dropped earlier.
12. Pole Lighting
Depending on how long your driveway is or what kind of greenery situation you’ve got going on, you might not be as inclined to opt for lights that basically sit on the ground. For more vertical lighting, a pole light could be your perfect solution. These are built into the ground and would work best as part of your electrical system. The reason is, they give off more light and require more structure than a ground stake. Pole lights typically run between three to four feet tall.
13. Post Lighting
This might be especially fitting if your home is historical or you’re looking for a rustic touch. The posts are reminiscent of light poles of yesterday, with a massive light source at the top of a tall pole. Of course, with the accessibility of mass production, there are plenty of looks the light could take that would fit all types of homes, from older to futuristic.
Post lighting would be installed at the end of the driveway. They would need to be part of the electrical system due to the extreme amount of light that comes out of them. If you don’t want to have to add extra lights, these would go best on a short driveway. If you were to use this type of light on a longer driveway, you could space out several smaller lights that sit on the ground.