Outdoor Garage Lights: A Comprehensive Guide

When you drive around a nice neighborhood at night, what may impress you the most are outdoor garage lights on beautiful homes. 

Guess what? You could have that fantastic look for your home too!

It is time to level up your home’s security and add a dash of flair as well with some fantastic illuminating tips. 

I am super excited to bring this amazing and comprehensive guide to you so that you too can take your outdoor garage lights to the next level.

So let me get started.

Why are Outdoor Garage Lights So Important?

Outdoor garage lights play an important role at two levels.

Safety & Security

Outdoor garage lights take control of your safety and security from the moment you enter your driveway at night. They guide you safely to the garage door and facilitate the entry into your garage.

A well-lit garage frontage area enables you and your family to navigate around the property safely during the dark evenings. No worries of bumping into an obstacle or stepping on an unwelcome reptile.

Irrespective of whether you are at home or not, your trusted, and increasingly technology enabled outdoor garage lights act as a deterrent to lurking burglars and potential intruders.

Outdoor Garage Lights: A Comprehensive Guide

Ambiance & Curb Appeal

For many homes, the garage doors represent a large portion of the house that is visible from the street. Correctly chosen, outdoor garage lights can create the desired ambiance and significantly boost the curb appeal. 

When placed thoughtfully, outdoor garage lights can accentuate architectural features, such as garage doors and the surrounding landscape. 

Subtle uplighting or downlighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The right choice of outdoor garage lights can complement the overall style of your home

When carefully matched with porch lights, front door lights, landscaping lights, etc. outdoor garage lights create a cohesive look and an aesthetic appeal.

Light Source Technology

There are four different types of technologies when it comes to the light source: 

Incandescent Light Bulbs: These are the traditional light sources which are highly inefficient. Thankfully they are on their way out. Almost no one uses them anymore.

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs: The latest CFL bulbs consume 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs: LED has become extremely popular. Even though the initial cost is somewhat high the savings in lower energy consumption is substantial. LED bulbs consume 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

They are also cool to the touch, unlike CFL and incandescent bulbs. Moreover, you can vary the light properties such as color, temperature, etc. through digital inputs.

Halogen Lamps: These are not efficient when it comes to energy consumption. They are only useful for lighting large external areas such as the driveway in front of the garage. However, with advances in LED technology, LED flood lights can do the job more efficiently.

LED bulbs have several distinct advantages that make them an undisputed choice when it comes to outdoor garage lighting.

Enhancing Energy Saving Capabilities of LED Outdoor Lighting

LED bulbs are already more energy efficient than other light emitting technologies. LED manufacturers continue to improve LED Chip Technology, Optical Design and Heat Dissipation to advance energy efficiency further.

Moreover, it is possible to combine advancements in related fields with LED technology to further enhance energy saving capabilities of LED outdoor lighting. Some of these are:

Smart Lighting Controls: 

The integration of smart lighting controls with LED outdoor lighting has revolutionized energy efficiency. 

With sensors, timers, and dimming capabilities, you can precisely control when and how much light is needed, reducing unnecessary energy consumption during low-traffic periods.

Some very common methods are use of dusk-to-dawn or motion sensor LED bulbs.

Wireless Connectivity: 

Modern LED outdoor lighting systems can use wireless connectivity to enable centralized control and monitoring. 

This feature allows for more efficient management of lighting schedules and adjustments, optimizing energy usage.

Color Tuning Options: 

Some LED outdoor lights now offer color tuning options, allowing you to adjust the color temperature of the light output. 

By using warmer color temperatures, you can create a cozier ambiance in the evening but move to cooler color temperatures later when you need crisper lighting to enhance security.

Energy Harvesting:

Innovations in energy harvesting technologies have been integrated into some LED outdoor lights. 

These technologies harness and store energy from renewable sources, such as solar panels, to power the lights. This is eco friendly, cost effective and frees you from worries regarding power outages.

The Role of Fixtures in Outdoor Garage Lighting

In addition to using LED bulbs and related technological advances to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of outdoor garage lights, you also need to understand the role of fixtures.

The correct choice of outdoor garage lighting fixtures are important for safety, lighting intensity and overall aesthetics.

Safety Considerations (UL Fixture Rating)

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, an independent organization that sets safety standards for electrical products. 

Having the correct UL fixture rating not only ensures safety, but also ensures compliance with building code and insurance requirements.

Lighting fixtures may be labeled as:

  • Dry-rated Fixtures
  • Damp-rated Fixtures
  • Wet-rated Fixtures

Outdoor garage lights must be wet-rated fixtures as these are exposed to the elements. Check the product specifications to ensure the “Location Rating is Wet”.

Moreover, always choose fixtures made from durable materials like marine-grade stainless steel or weather-resistant polymers to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Illumination Considerations (Lumens, Size & Placement)

The amount of illumination required from outdoor garage lights is an important consideration. In addition to the total lumens of the bulbs used, how well the area in front of the garage door is lit depends on:

Fixture Size : Best Practice

The size of exterior lights on a garage door is determined by the rule of thumb that the fixture should be between ¼ th to ⅓ rd the height of the garage door.

For more information please check out my earlier post Size of Exterior Lights on Garage Doors: The Easy Guide.

Fixture Placement : Best Practice

  • 5 ½ to 6 feet high from the ground, when on the side. (The distance is from the ground to the center of the light source).
  • 6 to 12 inches above the garage door and centered, when above. (The distance is from the top of the garage door to the bottom of the light fixture).
  • 8 to 10 feet apart from each other, when more than one. (The distance is between the centers of the light sources).

For more information please check out my earlier post Exterior Garage Light Placement: A Comprehensive Guide!

Architectural Style Considerations

Outdoor lighting design must always complement the architectural style of your home to present a cohesive designer look. Here are some tips:


For farmhouse-style outdoor garage light fixtures, consider designs that mimic wrought iron hardware and organic shapes to create contemporary pieces with a cozy feel.


For contemporary-style outdoor garage light fixtures, opt for sleek designs with clean lines and smooth surfaces that reflect the essence of the current moment.


For mid-century modern style outdoor garage light fixtures, go for modern forms with simplified details, distinguishing the current look from kitschy styles of the past.


For traditional-style outdoor garage light fixtures, look for lantern-style lighting to add that charming, nostalgic touch.


For modern-style outdoor garage light fixtures, look for clean lines, geometric shapes, and contrasting finishes to create a bold yet elegant style statement.


For nautical coastal-style outdoor garage light fixtures, look for lantern-style lights inspired by turn-of-the-20th-century coastal designs, with glowing fixtures that evoke the charm of waterside communities.


How do Dusk-to-Dawn Outdoor Garage Lights Help Home Security?

Dusk-to-dawn outdoor garage lights turn on automatically at dusk and only turn off at dawn. It does not matter if you are at home or not.
This constant illumination creates a well-lit environment around the garage throughout the night and deters intruders.

How do Motion Sensor Outdoor Garage Lights Help Home Security?

Motion sensors activate outdoor garage lights when motion is detected. This can be an effective deterrent against intruders.
The sudden illumination draws attention to the area and scares trespassers off.

How do Solar Powered Outdoor Garage Lights Help Save Money?

Solar-powered outdoor garage lights harness energy from the sun, eliminate the need for electricity from the grid and reduce energy bills.

How do WiFi-controlled Outdoor Garage Lights Increase Convenience?

WiFi-controlled outdoor garage lights let you control and adjust the light settings through smartphones or other connected devices. 
With the ability to turn the lights on or off, adjust brightness levels, set schedules, and receive notifications, you can effortlessly manage your outdoor lighting system from anywhere.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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