Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Place Flood Lights Around Your House

Flood lights have two main purposes when installed outside: to provide security lighting around your home and to provide accent lighting for your outdoor landscaping. Dark areas can invite criminal activity, so by keeping the outside of your home well lit you can significantly reduce the chance of criminal activity happening on your property. When using outdoor flood lights for accenting landscaping, you can bring out the night beauty in trees, fountains and other focal points in your yard.

Using Flood Lights For Security

Identify areas of high traffic in your yard during nighttime hours. Pay close attention to areas where you park your car and the entrances to your home. These are areas that you want to keep lit at night.

Pick out a flood light fixture that both outputs enough light and covers the area you need covered. Fixtures come in a range of styles, from a single-light fixture to multiple lights on the same fixture.

Mount the fixture in the areas you need them. It's easy to mount fixtures to porch overhangs or outside walls. Follow the mounting instructions for your specific fixture.

Connect the fixture to your electrical circuit. Follow local electrical code when wiring up the fixtures; each municipality has its own guidelines on materials and installation methods allowed.

Screw in the flood lights and adjust the lights so they point in the right direction. Turn the fixture on at night to check that the area you intend to light is now fully lit.

Using Flood Lights for Landscape Accenting

Pick out which landscape items you want to illuminate at night. Things you might want to light include certain trees, bushes, fountains and particular walls of your home.

Run underground electrical cable from your electrical service panel in your home to each location you will illuminate. At each location, install an outside-rated GFCI electrical outlet. Consult local electrical codes for proper installation practices; each municipality has its own rules on electrical installation. The GFCI electrical outlet should be close enough for the flood light's cord to reach the outlet without use of an extension cord.

Push stake-mount flood light fixtures into the ground near the objects you want to illuminate. You may want to use more than one fixture per object if the object is large.

Screw the flood lights into the fixtures. Use the correct wattage bulbs for each fixture. The fixture will list the maximum wattage each fixture can use.

Turn the fixtures on at night and adjust them as necessary to better illuminate the objects. The benefit of stake-mount fixtures is that you can easily pull them out to move them to a new location if desired.


Use a motion sensor on your security lighting so that it does not need to be on all night. When motion is detected, the fixture will automatically turn on and illuminate the area for a set period of time.

Use a timer for outdoor flood lighting that illuminates your landscape. It will automatically turn on at dusk and stay on for a pre-determined amount of time that is set by you.

Garden Guides