Creating an outdoor living area opens up new opportunities for entertaining and relaxing. You want it to reflect who you are, and it will require as much thoughtful design as every other room in your house. And, just like your indoor lights, you want the right exterior lighting to set the mood. However, while you know the wattage you need throughout your rooms, deciding how much you want to light up the outdoors becomes a little more challenging.

But, that’s okay because there’s no one answer that’s right for everyone. Instead, here is how to decide what’s right for you.

What is Wattage?

It is a measure of the amount of electrical power that is being used by an electrical device or appliance. It indicates the rate at which energy is being consumed, and it is usually measured in watts. The higher the wattage of a device, the more electricity it consumes and the more powerful it is. 

However, not all wattage is equal. For example, the LED equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb is usually around 8-12 watts. 

Wattage versus Lumens

Many people believe that wattage refers to the brightness of the light. Wattage and lumens are both measures of light, but they measure different things. As stated earlier, wattage measures the amount of electrical power used by a bulb or light fixture. Lumens measure the amount of visible light produced by that same bulb or fixture.

A higher-wattage bulb will generally consume more energy and produce more heat, but it does not necessarily mean it will produce more light. Conversely, a lower-wattage LED bulb can provide the same amount of light as a higher-wattage incandescent bulb while consuming significantly less energy.

Why Do You Want to Light Up the Night?

The appropriate wattage and lumens for outdoor lights will depend on the intended purpose of the lighting and the size of the illuminated area. If you and your family enjoy outdoor grilling or playing yard games, you might find bulbs with 1200 to 2000 lumens and a wattage ranging from 60 to 100 watts may be suitable.

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination for the space. This type of lighting is typically softer and more diffused to create a relaxed atmosphere. Bulbs with a lower lumen output ranging from 200 to 500 lumens and a lower wattage ranging from 5 to 25 watts may be appropriate for ambient lighting. Generally, a combination of task and ambient lighting create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for guests.

For security lighting, such as a floodlight, a higher lumen output is usually desired to provide bright and widespread illumination. In this case, lumens ranging from 2000 to 4000 or more and wattages ranging from 60 to 100 may be appropriate depending on the specific needs of the area being illuminated.

But, as we stated earlier, LED bulbs can give you a high-lumen output for less wattage. And it’s important to note that the brightness of outdoor lights can also be affected by factors such as bulb type, fixture design, and placement. 

Let Our Lightscape Design Team Help

In addition to wattage and lumens, there are many choices for exterior lighting, such as style, color, and placement. If you feel overwhelmed, our expert team at Houston Lightscapes can help. We work with homeowners and commercial property owners throughout the Houston area. Contact us for a free consultation by calling (713) 461-3600 and let us assist you with designing the outdoor living space that reflects exactly who you are.

The team at Houston Lightscapes takes pride in their many years of experience in the landscape lighting industry. They've been serving the greater Houston area for over 30 years bringing innovation and elegance to their designs. Learn more about Houston Lightscapes here.