Marker Lights For Your Driveway

Driveway marker lights can be a real boon for driveways that curve, or even those that are short but difficult to see, if the streetlights don’t shine enough light at night. The driveway marker lights come in a variety of styles.

You can choose to purchase either LED or incandescent marker lights. With these markers, you will be able to see the boundaries of your driveway at night without needing any wiring or electrical work. The markers are installed and act as an immediate night time safety measure for your driveway.

About Driveway Marker Lights

Marker lights are dimmer than floodlights or spotlights and serve simply to do what they say, mark the driveway out so that you can see where it is. They are not intended to shine light on the driveway or path. Lights that do this are covered in a separate article (see Floodlights For Your Driveway).

They aren’t only used to show the edges of the driveway. Marker lights can show a path to a front door or mark the division between the driveway and path. This helps cars not to park in such a way as to block off pedestrian access to the path. They can also be set into the sides of steps, or even in the risers, to make them more obvious. You can also install them to mark the edges of paths in the garden.

Marker lights are usually used as a security measure and because they are quite dim, will not light up the path or corner so much that intruders feel tempted to try and steal anything. They also tend to be low cost, giving you good value for money.

Get Robust Lights And Sort Out The Electrics

There are two things that are necessary to check before buying marker lights. The first is that they can resist being driven over accidentally. Many are designed to be flush mounted in the driveway for this reason.

The second is that they are verified for outdoor use when connected to the correct power supply. This means getting an electrician to connect up a supply to the household consumer unit, with the correct rating and safety devices. The cabling should be well buried and in protective conduit.

Some lights use a transformer and others plug directly into 240V AC mains. It’s beyond the remit of this article to get into detail about electrics, our advice is simply to get a qualified electrician to do it.

You should also choose a light with a good warranty that fits with your budget. There are several factors to consider when deciding which driveway marker lights are best for you.  They include style, brightness and the physical orientation of the markers.

LEDs And Halogens

The flush-mounted units are halogens or, more usually these days, clusters of LEDs in fittings that look very similar. LEDs are in favour as they last for a very long time, are much more energy efficient, and are cool to the touch. Whether they are halogens or LEDs they should be mounted while the surface is being laid using the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you’re really looking for the VIP touch, search out chains of single LEDs set into paving units and ready to lay. They’re expensive, naturally, but the LEDs are supposed to last for a couple of decades and there’s no denying they look good.

Flush-mount lights can be retrofitted once the surface of the driveway has been laid. They are usually rated for around 100,000 hours’ continuous use, no matter what you do to them.

The wires should be run through conduits and buried under fill material. This will prevent any damage from mowing or machinery and at the same time hiding the cabling.

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Solar Powered Marker Lights

A much cheaper and easier way to install marker lights is to use solar powered lights. These are usually mounted on spikes that are driven into the lawn or flower beds to the sides of the driveway.

Being solar powered you don’t have to run any cables or hire an electrician to connect up the supply, so they are simplicity themselves to fit. The downside is that many of them don’t last for very long, particular in the weak winter sun. So if you’re coming home late at night you’ll probably be alright, but in the early hours of the morning you might be out of luck.

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Expensive Solar Powered Versions

The run-of-the-mill solar powered marker lights can’t be put into a driveway through, as they aren’t robust enough to be driven over. More expensive versions are available that can be driven over and are, in fact, much more visible and versatile, lasting for up to 12 hours.

But they are 20 to 30 times the price of ordinary solar powered marker lights that can be bought from garden centres or DIY stores. And one of the other disadvantages of those cheaper ones is that being so easy to fit does, unfortunately, in these modern times, make them targets for opportunistic thieves.

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In conclusion, the ideal driveway lighting will be a combination of solar powered lights in the flower beds and a more expensive set with a transformer connected directly to 240V mains.

The flush-mounted halogen units will also work well, although they are more suitable for private roads than public ones due to their low visibility. There is also an option of installing a set of single LEDs, but this is expensive and will only work in a drive that you can mark as No Entry.

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