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Better Outdoor Lighting: Walkway Lighting Ideas and Tips

walkway lighting ideas

You’re walking up to your front door after a long day, ready to relax. But you trip on a crack in the sidewalk, then fumble around blindly trying to fit your key in the lock. Suddenly you’re feeling frustrated and far from relaxed. Maybe it’s time to make coming home a better experience with these walkway lighting ideas.

Basic Tips for Good Walkway Lighting

Okay, let’s talk about walkways around your home for a moment. They are the unsung, overlooked heroes of outdoor spaces. They move you safely from driveway to door, from front porch to back deck, from pool to fire pit. They direct visitors to the best parts of your garden and favorite outdoor spaces… and keep them away from those scraggly bushes and that pile of logs.

Without good lighting, however, those hard-working walkways can only do half their job. So let’s start with some basic walkway lighting tips. 

  • Match the walkway lights to the walkway. This seems so obvious that it’s stupid, but think about it. A walkway can be a simple path or an elaborately landscaped and edged one. So, choose fixtures that make sense for the walkway. Taller, elaborate fixtures that fit in along a brick pathway by formal landscaping will look ridiculous on a simple stepping stone path down to the fire pit. 
  • Use the right amount of fixtures. Yes, we hear the very next question: what’s the right amount? Well, it’s simple. The right amount is enough to provide adequate light along the entire walkway. You may need to put fixtures closer together than you anticipate, or stagger them on alternating sides of the walkway. If you have other light sources nearby, such as landscape spotlights or wall lights, you may not need as many fixtures on the walkway.
  • Skip the cheap solar kits for lighting your walkways. They sound great, they really do. And going solar would be fabulous. But these lights just don’t quite live up to our expectations. They produce a very weak light, and they rarely last more than a season. If you need extra lighting for a party or event, they’ll do the trick. But don’t depend on them for your long-term walkway lighting. 

A Few of Our Favorite Walkway Lighting Ideas

Evenly spaced fixtures on both sides of the walkway

Choose your favorite walkway fixtures and install them along both sides of the pathway with equal spacing. So, you might have a pair of fixtures every 18 inches or so. This is a good idea for walkways that are wider and need a bigger wash of light to cover the entire path.

Evenly spaced and staggered on both sides

A slight alternative of the above: instead of putting fixtures directly across from each other, stagger them. This idea will require fewer fixtures and create an alternating pattern on the pathway. 

Make the fixtures a focal point

Most of the time, walkway lights are meant to blend in or to bring attention to the path itself or the nearby landscaping. You can be as different as you want to be and go for walkway lighting fixtures that demand to be noticed. Taller, ornate fixtures, placed close to the path, should do the trick. Clear landscaping and keep the grass trimmed so they’re not overwhelmed by foliage. 

Intersperse fixtures in landscaping along the pathway

For more of a cozy cottage feel, shift your walkway lights back a bit. Instead of placing them right by the walkway, push them back a little into the landscaping that edges the pathway. Intersperse them among the flowers and bushes for a gentle, meandering feel. You’ll still want to use enough fixtures to create adequate light, of course. 

Use tall walkway lights among shrubs   

This walkway lighting idea is rather self-explanatory. Use taller walkway lights. Put them among shrubs. You can do this along walkways and pathways and sidewalks and so on. You can also put walkway lights through landscaped beds and areas where you need a little more light, but don’t want to make a big deal about it. Classy. 

Use wash lights (also called step lights) on walls alongside a path

Get ready for some walkway drama. Wash lights are mounted on walls or walkway railing, and they provide a horizontal wash of light along the surface. Pair these, strategically placed on landscaping walls or rails that run alongside paths, for lighting that feels immersive yet gentle. You didn’t know lighting could feel that way, did you? 

Use spotlights to highlight landscaping alongside a path 

If you’ve done the work (or spent the money) to have beautiful landscaping around your house and yard, you should show it off. Otherwise, you’re cheating your guests and yourself out of a visual delight. Place spotlights to light up that gorgeous seasonal bed. Highlight the hostas. Show off your favorite trees. Be smart with the spotlights, of course. They should never be aimed at the walkway unless you want to blind yourself (or your guests). 

Create a magical effect with bistro lights or string lights over the path

Bistro lights are just magical. If you put them over your patio, suddenly it feels like you’re eating in a Parisian cafe. If you string them around your fire pit, the s’mores taste better and the kids argue less. If you hang them around the pool, you’ll start to feel like a mermaid. Why not bring the same magic to your walkway? Use nearby trees, or install poles, and hang bistro lights across the walkways you love the most. Everyone else will love them, too. 

How to Handle Walkway Lighting Ideas

Now what? Well, you can take any of these walkway lighting ideas and get right to it. Or, if you want some help, get in touch. We’re friendly folks who know all there is to know about walkway lights, and we’d love to bring your best ideas into reality. Let’s schedule a consultation and get your walkways lit. 

— 1 Comment —

  • Eli Richardson It really helped when you talked about the importance of using the right lighting fixtures for your home! Recently, my wife and I decided to invest in our house's exterior look! We loved the idea of adding lots of lights to our backyard and walkway, so we'll be sure to look into it! Thanks for the advice on how to make our home's curb appeal improve with lighting solutions!
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