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5 essential tips for planning your home’s security illumination

Afraid of the dark? Want to stop pesky neighbours pinching feijoas off the tree? Thinking about adding another layer of security to your property?

Whatever your illumination needs, there’s a good chance that security lighting can solve them. In addition to creating a pretty ambiance, outdoor lighting is a key component in any security setup and can deter would-be thieves from snooping around your home. This is particularly important over the holiday season when a weekend trip away can leave blacked out homes vulnerable to break-ins.

Thankfully, security lighting can be used to light up the shadows and put any dodgy lurkers in the spotlight - all it requires is a bit of planning. We’ve rounded up five great tips to protect your home using security illumination:

1. Positioning

The most important factor to consider when installing security lights is their positioning. Essentially, you want to ensure your lights are strategically located so that they provide maximum illumination while minimising blind spots.

Exactly how you’ll accomplish this will depend on the layout of your property, but generally speaking your security lights should be positioned to cast light on high-traffic areas (such as the front door, driveway and entranceway) as well as the more obscure parts of the property (including the backyard, backdoor and any side paths you might have).

There could be a fair bit of space to illuminate and a lot of angles to contend with, so it’s usually a better idea to opt for a bunch of smaller security lights that you can position as needed rather than just one or two floodlights.

2. More positioning

When it comes to the positioning of individual security lights, you want to try and find the vertical sweet spot. Install your lights too low and they become low hanging fruit for thieves to pluck or tamper with. Install your lights too high and they’ll struggle to produce sufficient illumination due to the way light is naturally diffused.

Ideally, you should aim to use your property’s existing features to install security lights so that they’re out of reach of roaming hands but still produce a good amount of light. Pointing security lights at the ground is usually most effective because the light bounces off the ground and illuminates a larger surface area without generating too much light pollution.

3. Lighting types

Take a walk around your local hardware store and you’ll find a confusing smorgasbord of security lights, each with their own specific role. Here are some of the most common options you’ll come across:

  • Floodlights: These heavy hitters should be your go-to when it comes to illuminating big spaces. Use floodlights to bathe your driveway, backyard and entranceway in light.
  • Surface mounted lights: These can be used to fill in any dark spots in the perimeter of your home. Fitted directly onto walls or into overhangs, entranceway ceilings and the underside of carports, surface mounted lights are a good way to round out your security lighting plan.
  • Landscape lights: Not only can these lights complement your primary security lights, they’re also great for accentuating certain features in your backyard. Install landscape lights along garden paths, decks and outdoor staircases.
  • Uplights: As noted, downlights are almost always the best choice for your main security lights, but in some situations uplights can be used as supplementary illumination. Install them at the base of trees and hedges to reduce shadows in your backyard.

4. Lighting controls

For most of us, our indoor lights are binary in function - that is, they’re either on or they’re off. Security light controls are typically a bit more complex and offer all sorts of potential for protecting your home.

  • Motion detectors: Motion sensitive lights are used to make your security lighting system more dynamic and surprise anyone who might be wandering around your property.
  • Photocells: By making use of light sensors, photocells are able to recognise when it’s dark and automatically trigger the corresponding light. Photocells are commonly integrated into landscape lighting and post-mounted lights. Try to avoid placing them where they could be affected by artificial light sources.
  • Time switches: These are used to turn lights on and off at specific times, regardless of whether you’re at home or not. While you can use time switches to simply turn your lights on at night and off again during the day, don’t be afraid of tweaking the settings to a sporadic schedule that more closely simulates human activity. If you want to take things to the next level, do note that time switches can also be used with TVs, stereos and other electronics to really create the appearance that someone is home.

5. Reduce shadows

It might seem like a bit of a paradox, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the more security lights you have, the greater the risk of creating shadows in your backyard.


Well, shadows are caused by light sources. Relying on a couple of powerful lights tends to create shadowy patches of darkness that may pose a security threat. Reduce the risk of casting shadows by installing your lights at high vantage points (remember point #2!) and from various angles so that the light overlaps and produces greater illumination.

Looking for a more cost-effective way to power your security lights? Have a chat with the friendly team here at Pulse Energy and find out how much you could be saving on your power bill.


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