Night Lights I – Safety Dance

Here you can see motion sensor #1 and street lights that keep the side yard and playground area lit.

Motion sensor #2 is by the back door and really helps to find that keyhole at night.

This house is in an urban setting, so safety lighting, specifically motion-sensor lights, are a must. This house has three, a spotlight and a porch light attached to the house and one motion spotlight attached above the garage door.

These, in addition to the sidewalk streetlights, keep the house well lit and not too attractive to nefarious characters. It’s also a great bonus that the porch light by the back door lights up on its own for late night-arrivals after gallivanting.

Pain in the butt to install, but really helps the deck look custom-made and more special, not to mention there’s a lot less falling off the deck.

Also, to aid in drunken stumbling around the deck area, there are small lights inset into the stair risers (see photo up on top). These are a must. They’re also a major pain in the ass to install on an existing deck, especially if they were never planned in from the beginning. These weren’t. Crawling under a deck is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for overweight, middle-aged people that don’t stretch enough. Or claustrophobics. Note for next time, hire a teenager. These lights do add immensely to the ambiance of the back yard, so they were worth it.

Motion sensor #3, above the garage & potting bench. This one also creates great shadows on the ground from the trellis/latticework above the garage door.

Well, if you are going to install lights like these, don’t cheap out like I did. I bought some “economical” little copper-colored louvered lights from a store to remain unnamed (Home Depot) that are so cheap, that if you accidentally kick them, the metal bends and closes up the louvers the light’s supposed to come out from. Let this be your warning that it’s probably worth it to spend more than I did.

The garage, in better light, during the day.

Do you have any other ideas for safety-specific lights I should be employing? These tend to work fine, but I’m all for finessing what I’ve got. Short of having to crawl under the deck.

The rest of this week? Tomorrow is Ambient Lights. Wednesday is Tub Lights, Thursday is Fire and Friday is Fun Lights.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

8 comments on “Night Lights I – Safety Dance

  1. Your motion lights look useful especially by the back door. I need to move mine or cut down a tree. It comes on everytime the wind blows.:) I’ll be back to see the comming attractions.Donna


  2. Jim .. Only for YOU will I put the chocolate down and pay attention to our lighting lesson. The rest of the “kids” better listen up to .. for their own safety of course .. lighting is very IMPORTANT : )I won’t add I’m never out in the dark and sensor lights make me feel like BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING and so are my neighbors (ie) scary pajamas and raggedy housecoat, need I say more ? … oh yes .. chococlate in one hand and all over my mouth .. while gardening still eeuuwwww !Sorry .. a bit off subject .. I do feel your pain about the scary bit of being under the deck .. YES ! get a skinny teenager next time JIM !I love soft amber lighting .. white is too cold and clinical .. and yes .. I know ..you can’t see much past the light with amber .. but I heard “don’t go into the light until you are ready” !!I can’t wait for Thursday and Friday Jim .. we don’t have a hot tun so I can be excused for that one right ?PS .. Home Depot can suck a lot at times even in Canada !I’m glad we had this talk : )


  3. We had a back motion sensor light at the old house and it used to freak me out when it came on and I was home alone. There was an actual back door light always on and the sensor light was usually tripped by animals, but we decided not to add one to this garden. But I do like those deck step lights!


  4. Very glad you covered lighting for drunken stumbling. You need to have all areas of safety covered that’s for sure! I’m waiting for your class on landscape lighting since that’s on our to do list this spring.Oh, I remember the “Safety Dance” song, quite an 80’s classic!


  5. MNGarden,One of the lights will turn on for unspecified reasons occasionally, but goes out after a while here too. I’d hate to have you cut down a tree just to get the motion sensor to wok right!GardenJoy4Me,I don’t think you put that chocolate down. If you’re out there in raggedy pajamas and scary housecoats at night. I might suggest NO gardening lights.Ms. Wis.We’ve not had a problem with animals turning the motion sensor on. A benefit of the city is that our animals in the backyard are generally squirrels, rabbits, cats and an occasional raccoon’s been spotted out there. None of them trip the lights on.Catherine,We can dance if we want to. We can leave your friends behind.’Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance, well they’re no friends of mine.


  6. Sometimes I think I live in a different world. Nefarious characters at night? Maybe the bullfrogs! The nights are relatively safe.Most of the problems here happen in the daytime when people leave their homes. I’m home most of the time and I had someone come up to the house last spring to see if anyone was home while his buddy cruised the road in a car waiting for a signal. I had to call 911 — a few weeks later, a neighbor’s house was robbed within the two hour span that they were gone.My best friend lives in a city in California and her house was recently burglarized. During the day while she was at work.Cameron


  7. Cameron,We apparently live in different universes. I don’t think anyone anywhere can let their guard down, and obviously, in your story, it pays to be suspicious, but not paranoid. Never been broken into in this house, though I have in the past. Three times. Had bikes stolen. Flowers stolen from the front yard and even had my doorknob stolen. Yup. Doorknob thief. My theory is that other thrives make fun of him mercilessly.


  8. Jim ………………….. that was so MEAN !!!! LOLOL


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