Ultimate Guide on How To Light a Driveway

Driveway lighting can take your outdoor space to new heights. With practical, security and aesthetic benefits, driveway lights are just what your home needs to stand out. Below, we’ll take a look at some lights for driveway areas, as well as a few lighting design tips and pathway lighting ideas.


Benefits of Driveway Lighting

Outdoor lighting, in general, brings with it a suite of benefits, and this is especially true when it comes to driveways. Since they are high traffic areas where motor vehicles are operated, the safety of them comes first.

Safety lighting for driveways can help ensure that the operators of vehicles are able to see the edges, so they don’t accidentally drive off the sides when there could be drop-offs. This enhances the safety of the area both for drivers and pedestrians.

Exterior lighting, such as driveway lighting, may also deter intruders from approaching your home. With a well-lit outdoor space, they have fewer shadows to sneak around in, which may make your home seem like too much work to approach.

There are many outdoor lighting options for enhancing your outdoor living space, and driveway lights are one of them. These lights can highlight and enhance the shape of your driveway while leading the eye to the rest of the home.


What Types of Driveway Lighting Can You Use?

Driveway lights are as versatile and as varied as any other contemporary lighting ideas you might come up with. You have many options for driveway lights, including:


  • BOLLARD LIGHTS – Driveway bollard lights are light posts that are installed in the ground. This gives them the alternative nickname of “driveway post lights.”


They are often of medium to tall height and have a cylindrical shape with a light at the top. These are especially beneficial for outlining the shape of the driveway.


  • WALL LIGHTS – Driveway wall lights on garage doors and garden walls near the driveway can shine illumination down onto the driveway from above. These are particularly well suited for those who want to increase the visibility of the driveway area and not just the driveway itself.


  • RECESSED GROUND LIGHTS – With recessed ground lights, you can enjoy a minimalist approach to driveway lighting. These lights rest inside the ground and sit flush with the surface.


They are often installed on the driveway itself, lighting up its perimeter with a soft glow around them. Others prefer to have them installed in the ground itself beside the driveway.


  • FLOODLIGHTS – Floodlights provide bright and direct light onto the driveway. Oftentimes, you can direct the direction of the beam where you prefer it. These are especially beneficial for those who want their driveway lights to double as security lighting.


  • RECESSED WALL LIGHTS – Recessed wall lights provide a modern take on surface mounted wall lighting for the driveway. They sit out of the way, flush with the wall to remain unobstructive, while providing illumination for the driveway.


  • SOLAR LIGHTS – Charged by the light of the sun, solar lights are an energy efficient way to light the driveway. They come in many shapes and styles, giving you control over the appearance of your driveway lights down to the detail.

Driveway lit up with outdoor bollard lights along the side

Which is Best, Solar or Low Voltage? 

Garden lighting like driveway lights come in two main categories: low voltage lighting and solar lighting. Solar light uses the light from the sun and converts that energy into light. Low voltage lighting attaches to a mains power source and draws energy from it instead.

Solar lighting is preferred by those who want to install their lights and forget about them. Since they require no wires or cables, there is no limit to where you can place them.

That said, solar lights can be finicky. On days when there is not a lot of sun, the illumination is usually weaker during the evening.

Low voltage lights tend to have a vast selection of better quality fixtures that last for longer. Since they are not reliant upon the sun, they work with the same intensity as any other light you may use. They are also brighter than solar lights, making them better for security lighting.

Ultimately, it will come down to preference. Still, it is generally believed that low voltage lighting is the best choice for driveway lights.


How To Control Your Outdoor Driveway Lighting

LED outdoor lights can be controlled a number of different ways, just like any other light.


  • STANDARD WALL SWITCHES IN THE HOUSE – With wall switches, you can turn on the driveway lights while you’re still in the house. These work just like any other light switch and ensure that the lights are only on when you say so.


  • PIR MOVEMENT SENSORS – If you want the lighting to be even more efficient, you can choose motion sensor activation. This will allow the lights to turn on when they sense movement within a certain radius and turn off again after a certain period of stillness.


  • PHOTOCELL DAYLIGHT SENSORS – If you want your lights to automatically turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn, daylight sensor lights are best. These lights use the brightness of the sun to determine whether the lights need to be on or off.


  • TIMERS – You can get a little more specific with the times that the lights turn on and off by setting them on automatic timers.


  • SMART LIGHTING SYSTEMS – By working your driveway lighting into your smart home, you can control them with your voice, phone or built-in system.


What is IP Rating And What is The Requirement For Outdoor Lights?

Weatherproof outdoor lighting is crucial for driveway lights. You can determine whether or not a light is suitable for outdoor use by checking its IP rating.

IP ratings are an indicator of a light’s ability to withstand dust and water entry. It is represented by two digits, with the first referring to solid objects and the second referring to moisture. The higher the numbers, the better protected it is.

For outdoor lights, you will need a minimum of IP44. IP67 is totally waterproof and therefore preferred when possible.

Lighting IP ratings Chart

Advice on Positioning Bollard Lights Along a Driveway 

When it comes to illuminating pathways like driveways with bollard lights, there are no hard and fast rules. That said, it is generally recommended that you place the lights between 2.5 and 4 meters apart in order to evenly spread the light around. This will also prevent glare.

You can outline your driveway in a straight line to keep things simple. If you want to change it up a bit, you can instead place them in a zigzag formation for a fresher look.


What Maintenance Does Your Driveway Lighting Need?

Your driveway lights will require the same type of maintenance as any other outdoor lighting. It is recommended that every couple of months, you should examine your driveway lights.

When you do, you’ll be able to notice anything that needs cleaned. This includes any dust or debris that has built up on top of the light, causing the illumination to be dim. Brush away any debris whenever you check out your lights.

At this time, you can also check and be sure the wires are still securely connected. Regular maintenance will also alert you to a bulb that has burned out and needs to be replaced.


How To Install Driveway Light Fittings

If you are a fan of DIY projects, you may be interested in installing the lights yourself. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish this:


  1. Find the area where you want to place the light.
  2. Plan how you want to position them. This includes physical placement, as well as how far apart you want the lights to be.
  3. Dig the holes for the lights. Be sure you give them plenty of room to be placed. The width of the placement hole should be around six inches larger than the diameter of the light fixture. It should also be around eight inches deeper than the height of the fixture.
  4. Turn off the power and install the cable. Bring the cable in from the power source and connect it. If you are installing the light in concrete or stone, you’ll need to use an installation tube for the job.
  5. Be sure the placement hole is waterproof. Fill in around the light in the hole with gravel to provide proper drainage of rainwater and secure the fit of the fixture.
  6. Turn the power on and enjoy.


Please keep in mind that it is recommended that you employ a qualified electrician to install these lights. This way, you can avoid potential electrocution and ensure that the lights are up to code.


Do You Need Council Permission For a Driveway Lighting Installation?

To install driveway lighting, you won’t need any planning permission. This is true so long as the home is considered to be a part of “permitted development.” Because of this, be sure to get familiar with permitted development rights to learn what falls into this category and ensure your home is compliant.


Generally, this means: 


  • The fixture should not be installed on a listed building or anywhere inside of a conservation area.
  • The fixture should not be taller than 4 meters.
  • The fixture should not create too much light pollution or bleed over onto neighboring properties.
  • The fixture should not involve electrical work, which may necessitate Part P certification.


If you’re still unsure, it is best to speak with the local planning authority to get clarification.


Dos and Don’ts When Planning Your Driveway Lighting Scheme

Keep these tips in mind when putting together a plan for your lights.


DO layer your lighting. This includes task, ambient and accent lighting. Driveway lights generally fall into the “task” category.


DO use warm lights. Warm lights are gentle and approachable, as opposed to the sometimes too-bright illumination that cool lights emit. Opt for lights between 2700k and 3300k for best results.


DO use LEDs. With their long life, energy efficiency and customisation options, LED bulbs are the undisputed winner for outdoor lighting.


DO check the IP ratings. Be sure that your light is suited for use outdoors. It should have a minimum IP rating of IP65.


DON’T overdo it. More light is not necessarily better. You don’t want your outdoor space to be so bright that it is uncomfortable to look at. Instead, use fewer lights to their best potential.


DON’T just cover wires with mulch. Instead, you should bury them underground. While it may seem like less effort to just cover them up, this puts them at a greater risk for damage, not to mention the safety of those who will be walking in the area.


DON’T neglect pathways. Sidewalks, driveways and staircases all need to be well lit to ensure the safety of those who navigate them.


DON’T shine lights right onto the house. Instead, use indirect lighting and play with shadows to create a more attractive and dramatic effect.


Why is Driveway Lighting Great for Home Security?

Driveway lighting provides the perfect opportunity for security lighting. By ensuring your driveway is well lit, you may be able to dissuade intruders from approaching your property.

Potential burglars are less likely to approach a house that is brightly lit all around. Without any shadows to hide in, it makes their job harder. Many will decide that it simply is not worth it.


Driveway Lighting Ideas 


  1. LFL011 9 Watt 700mm Tall Black LED Bollard Light

LFL011 9 watt black 700mm outside bollard lights

Outline your driveway and make it easier to see with the LFL011 9 Watt 700mm Tall Black LED Bollard Light. This light rises up 700 millimeters above the ground and has an opal acrylic diffuser at the top. From behind this diffuser, 800 lumens of 3000k warm white light shines. The illumination is spread 360 degrees around the area near it. It is rated IP65, making it perfectly safe for all-weather use.


  1. LFL062 12 Watt 600mm Tall Twin Black Spotlight LED Bollard Light

LFL062-1 12 watt twin head spotlight design outdoor bollard light

With the LFL062 12 Watt 600mm Tall Twin Black Spotlight LED Bollard Light, you can ensure plenty of light on your driveway and footpaths. This bollard light sits 600 millimeters above the ground and features two light heads at the top. From these heads, a total 1000 lumens of 3000k warm white light shines. The heads can be tilted, so you can choose the direction of the light. They are built from premium aluminium and feature a weatherproof IP65 rating.


  1. ODL029 9 Watt 316 Stainless Steel Recessed LED Ground Light

ODL029 9 watt round stainless steel outside ground lights

Generate ample illumination around the driveway with the ODL029 9 Watt 316 Stainless Steel Recessed LED Ground Light. This recessed light features a bulb that shines 800 lumens of 3000k warm white light. It rests inside of a durable aluminium fixture topped with a tempered glass lens. This light measures 120 millimeters in diameter and fits nicely along any driveway. It is rated IP67 for outdoor use.


  1. ODL704 6 Watt Rectangular Black Recessed Exterior Wall Light

ODL704 6 watt rectangular LED brick light

Elevate the look of your outdoor space while providing illumination near the driveway with the ODL704 6 Watt Rectangular Black Recessed Exterior Wall Light. This rectangular fixture recesses into the wall and shines light at a wide beam angle below it. It generates 600 lumens of 3000k warm white light that is easy to see by. This aluminium light has an IP65 rating and comes in a sleek black. Overall, it measures 147 millimeters by 86 millimeters.


  1. LWA218 24 Watt LED Black Outdoor Up And Down Wall Light

LWA218 24 watt black up and down outside wall lights

Enhance the appearance of your garage and driveway area with the LWA218 24 Watt LED Black Outdoor Up And Down Wall Light. This wall light features a cylindrical shape with a bulb at the top and bottom. The 1800 lumens of 3000k warm white light washes the wall above and below it. The fixture is durably built from premium aluminium and has a protective IP65 rating. It measures 250 millimeters by 122 millimeters in size.

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