How Many Lumens Do I Need for Outdoor Lighting?

How Many Lumens Do I Need for Outdoor Lighting

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When designing your home and garden, outdoor light can be quite complicated. You’ll need to get the appropriate lumen to enhance the lighting, as using too bright a light becomes intrusive, while dim light is too weak.

However, it’ll be important to ensure that you get the right number of lumen for your outdoor lighting. When working on lighting, the common question among most individuals is, how many lumens do I need for outdoor lighting?

You need approximately 700 lumens for low background lighting and around 2400 lumens for your security and driveways lights. However, the number of lumens you’ll need for your outdoor lighting will vary depending upon the location and how bright you want them to be.

The rest of this article will help you understand more about the number or amount of lumen you require for your outdoor spaces and lighting.

What Is a Lumen?

Before we look at the number of lumens required for each type of outdoor light lets first look at the question What is a Lumen?

A Lumen is a basic unit for measuring light and are helpful in determining how powerful your lighting should be.

When using lumen to measure light, you can include the brightness, intensity, and amount of light visible.

However, despite many individuals only thinking of watts as the main measurements of lights, you must include the other features. The watts will only represent the amount of energy a particular light bulb uses when lighting and not its brightness.

Therefore, you can use lumens to measure the brightness of your compact fluorescent light, halogens, and LED bulbs.

Regardless of the bulb’s energy consumption, the lumen is the appropriate unit for measuring the brightness of your bulbs.

When measuring the brightness, it’s good to understand that the higher the bulb’s lumen, the brighter the light. Therefore, when using the lumen to measure the brightness of your bulb, it’ll be essential to differentiate from the watts.

What Is the Difference Between Watt and Lumen?

Many individuals have been using these terms interchangeably when working on different lighting needs. Nevertheless, these terms have differences, which you must consider when using them. You can use the term “watt” when referring to the measurement or amount of electricity that appliances like bulbs use.

The watts of your bulb don’t relate to a bulb’s brightness. However, incandescent bulbs have sophisticated features that make it challenging to differentiate between the watts and their brightness.

Bulbs have different features whereas the latest bulb takes fewer watts to have too much light.

In contrast, lumens refer to the exact measure of the light amount that the different bulb puts out. Lumens provide more accurate measurements of the amount of light as it tells more about how the light performs. Furthermore, lumen tells you more about the light performance regardless of its sources.

While measuring the amount of light, one lumen is equivalent to the light that a single birthday candle a foot away from you puts out.

Alternatively, you can get the appropriate measurement by understanding that a 60-watt bulb produces an average of 750-850 lumens.

How Many Lumens Do I Need for Outdoor Lighting?

So we've already touched on the number of lumens you need for outdoor lighting in general but how many do you need for different areas around your garden. What about path lights, patio lights, and security lights? Are there any differences or can you use the same lights for everything? Below we'll cover each situation and what you may want to consider when lighting those particular areas.

How Many Lumens for Path Lights?

Experts recommend different numbers of lumens for your outdoor needs. Using 100 to 200 lumen for your path light will be appropriate for the intervals along your exterior path.

Nevertheless, you can increase the lumen to get a higher value for various special reasons. The reasons may include the types of paths (even or uneven) and the presence of tripping hazards.

For instance, experts recommend using higher lumen ranges to enhance safety on your uneven pavers or when having tripping hazards on the paths.

If you love muted lighting and your exterior paths are even, you can place several lights strategically to enhance the brightness. You can use 100 lumens for each path despite the hazards to make your exterior light and safe enough for movements.

How Many Lumens for Patio Lights?

Choosing the appropriate lighting and decorative lights for your patio lights will be essential to enhance an attractive and memorable exterior.

When considering patio lights, you have the luxury of choosing the various lighting to suit your needs. Depending on the uses of the patio space, you can choose bright or cozy bulbs to enhance your exterior lighting.

Apart from the use of light, you should also consider the size of your patio. The number of lumens will depend on the size and use of your patio.

However, most individuals prefer numerous lumens of ambient lighting to enhance the patio’s appearance rather than one much brighter light. This is because brighter lights can often seem harsher when lighting areas used for relaxing.

You’ll require approximately 600 to 700 lumens for a small patio, while if you’ve got a larger patio, choosing 1200 to 1600 will be good.

Furthermore, to enhance the patio’s attractiveness and ambiance, you can include more lighting options to your patio. For example, you can have more solar or string lights to change the mood of your patio.

The string lights you use must be around 40 lumens, while the hanging lumen lights range from 80 to 120 lumens.

How Many Lumens for Security Lights?

Security lights are essential outdoor lighting components to keep your property safe and properly lit.

But how many lumens do I need for outdoor security lights? It’ll be wise to start with 700 lumens for your security and floodlights. However, you may require up to 1300 lumens for effective lighting in some locations.

Security and floodlights are essential parts that you should never scrimp on when working on your exterior lighting.

Nevertheless, it’ll be vital to avoid being a nuisance to other individuals like neighbours when using these higher lumens.

It’s a good idea to direct higher lumen lights towards your premises and not your neighbour’s and it’s also worthwhile checking with them to ensure your lights are not proving to be an inconvenience.


Lumens are an essential part of planning your outdoor lighting requirements.

When choosing your lights think about where your location is and what you are trying to achieve. Having lights that are too bright can be almost as bad as having ones that are too dull.

Don’t forget that the number of lumens required for your outdoor areas will vary from place to place. You can also combine different types of lights with different brightnesses to achieve your goal.

Having a combination of deck lights and rope lights can provide you with a much more attractive area than just a very bright set of lights.

Hopefully, you’ve found our guide handy and it will make choosing your lights easier and don’t forget to take a look at our other articles including How Long do Solar Lights Last?, How to Charge Solar Lights Without the Sun and Why Are My Solar Lights Not Working and How to Fix Them?.