Lighting Front Door, Walkways – A Complete Lighting Plan Including Numbers


Summary: Entrance lighting is not separate – front door light, path light, or garage light, it should be designed as one unit forming a continuous lighting path connecting garage, driveway, entrance walks, and front door, and for maximum safety and convenience.

Question: Our front door has entrance lights on each side of the front door, we would like to add more lighting on the entrance walkways do you have any suggestions. Sandra, Willowbrook, CA

Answer: Sandra, lighted house brackets mounted for over or alongside the front door are made in an almost unlimited range of styles and colors, so you can find one to blend with almost any architectural style or decorating scheme.

However, this light is seldom sufficient to illuminate the entrance walks. In most cases, the bracket should be supplemented by additional lights along the path (solar garden lights work well), the number and location depending on the length of the walkways.

Entrance Lighting As One Unit

Basically, your entrance lighting should be considered as one unit, not as a separate front door light, path light, or garage light.


It should form a continuous path of light connecting your garage, driveway, entrance walks, and front door, and for maximum safety and convenience should accomplish four things.

  • Clearly point out your front door.
  • Provide for safe and sure vision when coming or going.
  • Flatter or complement the outdoor decorative scheme and landscaping.
  • Radiate warmth and hospitality to visitors as well as create an inviting entrance for the family.

In planning this over-all lighting scheme for the front of the house, you can count on a great deal of spill light from both front door and garage lights, if you have them.

However, this frequently needs to be supplemented by some extra mushroom light or floodlights, depending on the length of the walk and the specific layout of your home grounds.

A good example of the change that can be made simply by adding one or two additional lights.

In the first case, the front of the house is lighted by only the entrance door light. Lighting improvement is achieved by the simple addition of a few lights.

Be sure to install the floodlight over the garage door in a position that will not cause glare in the eyes of the driver as the car enters the driveway. If this is not practical, it may be safer and more convenient to use two low path lights.

Locate one of these on each side of the driveway, at least 6 feet from the garage door.

Garden Steps – Special Lighting Required

Steps along the path require extra attention and should be clearly pointed out by a small path light located close by or by an additional light.

Make sure that the shadow pattern thrown by this light will not confuse the eye as to whether the path or steps go up or down. Treads and risers should be clearly distinguishable.

One other feature of outdoor entrance lighting for special attention is a well-illuminated house number. Provide this courtesy for the convenience of guest after dark.

If your house number is on the front door, be sure that an overhead door light does not cast a shadow on it making it invisible from the street.

A house number on a small stake on the front lawn can be easily lighted by a small a solar light or a low voltage light hidden in a bit of shrubbery near the base of the stake.

House numbers located on a post lantern usually are well lighted by the lantern itself, but in some cases may require additional light in the form of a small spotlight or other lamp bulb concealed at the base of the post.