Driveway Lights – Lighting Your Way Home
Author: Glenn Harper
Published: January 7, 2015
Lighting your driveway with pretty lights does more than just make it look attractive when the sun goes down; it adds an extra layer of safety and security to your home.
If you’re returning home late at night, driveway lights can guide you and your car safely into position without scraping paintwork or damaging fences, garden furniture, or walls. During winter, the added visibility makes it easier to see children playing or spot any toys that may have been left scattered.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing lights for your driveway. The style of lighting you want and the type of installation required is fundamental.
Installing your driveway lights
Solar driveway lights
Solar lights don’t require an electrical supply, since they draw all their energy from the sun. Being untethered, they can also be positioned freely. Exposure to direct sunlight helps solar lights to recharge quickly, but most are designed to run efficiently during overcast spells of weather.
Low voltage lighting
One of the chief advantages of low voltage outdoor lighting (including solar) is that it can be safely installed without electrical expertise. This is a good option for anyone willing or able to partake in a little DIY.
Regular electrical current
You can run electricity from your house out to the driveway, but you’ll need a qualified electrician to carry out the installation. Outdoor mains cables have to be buried in a deep trench (deeper in unpaved areas) to avoid potentially fatal accidents.
Choosing the perfect driveway lighting
When it comes to lighting a driveway, most people tend to opt for ground lights. They’re a popular choice because they give the driveway a modern look, are unobtrusive and relatively easy to install. Ground lights are generally sold individually and come in a range of colours and shapes, so you can get creative and add character to your driveway.
Many ground lights can withstand the weight of cars driving over them. This will always be specified by Lighting Direct, so you can be sure of buying the right product. The drive-over Adelpha Ground Light has a recessed design that allows a perfectly flush, discreet installation. It can be fitted with a low-energy or standard lightbulb and uses a tough polycarbonate diffuser to reduce glare.
Ground lights that cannot withstand a car’s weight still have potential as driveway lights. Install them along the perimeter of your drive and park well within them. Lighting-Direct offer the stylish Searchlight Messina Lights in square, large square and rectangular formats. These dust-tight, submersible fittings use LEDs for extremely low energy consumption and long life.
As mentioned, low voltage lights are safe to install without electrical expertise. The Techmar plug and play Aureus LED Ground Light, for instance, hooks up to a separately available transformer via watertight cable connections. It does not require the deep burial of cables that is necessary with 240V lights.
Driveway post lights
Post lights are useful for marking out your driveway perimeter, making it easy to manoeuvre your car in and out of position when light is low. They never become covered in snow or leaf debris like ground-installed lighting, but they inevitably take up more space than recessed lights and are better suited to open spaces rather than tightly walled boundaries.
You can space post lights out along your driveway as you see fit (you might want to do this asymmetrically with a long drive—avoiding the runway effect), and even blend them into your rockery or garden features.
Whether you’re seeking traditional or contemporary lighting for your driveway, suitable products exist. The Durham Solar LED light post provides a modern lighting solution, with a stainless steel body and two bright LEDs to guide you and your vehicle to a safe standstill. As a solar powered fitting, the Durham delivers up to 10 hours of light from a full charge. A dusk-to-dawn sensor switches the light on automatically overnight, and a manual override switch lets you preserve the charge and LED longevity if light is not needed.
The Helsinki Low Energy PIR Post Light uses a CFL bulb for excellent energy efficiency. One of the key differences between this and most dedicated LED models is that a fluorescent bulb is replaceable, whereas integrated LEDs typically are not (the whole unit must be replaced). This benefit is negated, however, by the much longer lifespan and increasing affordability of LED lighting. A PIR sensor saves energy by switching on light for a set period of time when it detects movement within a given range.
Need more inspiration? Check out our Lighting Ideas section.