Bollard lights are short outdoor lighting fixtures mounted in the ground, standing between 24 and 52 inches tall. For public areas, heavy-duty bollards are bolted to or embedded in concrete. In private gardens, pathway lighting may install on a simple stake. Bollard lights are excellent for illuminating pathways, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and entrances.
There are two major types of bollard lights:
- Path lighting bollards illuminate the ground, cutting off up-light to prevent glare and light intrusion.
- Beacon lighting bollards are used for wayfinding, often at path or parking lot entrance.
Why choose lighting bollards?
When used to illuminate pathways or sidewalks, bollards allow people to stroll safely—without interrupting a view of the stars. When placed as wayfinding beacons, bollards provide a bright point near ground level for drivers and pedestrians. Lighting placed near gardens can showcase plants even at night.
A light bollard’s low profile creates less light intrusion than sconces or standards on nearby buildings. “Warm temperature” lighting on short bollards can also minimize interruption to the circadian rhythms of plants and animals in the area.
Solar and hardwired options
Solar bollards are less expensive to install, as they do not require trenching. Their standalone nature promises to keep the lights on even when there is disruption to the power grid. New technologies in solar panels, LED options, and onboard system intelligence has made solar more reliable than ever. Advanced solar options can keep burning for many nights even when there are cloudy days to contend with. Finally, solar is useful even in rainy places like the Pacific Northwest.
Yet solar can be challenged by weeks of darkness like may happen in the North or in shaded areas. Hardwired bollards with lights will need to be hooked to the electrical grid, but then will burn for as long as power is provided to them. Being part of a grid allows for central management of the lights. They can be turned on or off at unusual times through central switch or software.
Having two options allows sites to maximize lighting flexibility, security, and value.
Bollards with lights, built to last
At hardware stores, bollard garden lights are available for home installation. Most of these simple bollards won’t require the same materials, engineering, and design as those installed in public. They’re often made of plastic or thin aluminum. Many suggest that homeowners remove and store them over the winter months. These lighter-duty bollards may become brittle in weather. Moisture vapor can break their electrical circuitry.
Public landscaping bollards need to be of sterner stuff. They are part of a site’s safety plan offering pathway lighting overnight on campuses or in office parks. There’s no winter storage for public bollards: they’re often most needed in the dead of winter, when visibility is low and darkness comes early, so they must withstand weathering. These lighting bollards are usually made of concrete, heavy-duty steel, or thick aluminum. A powder coating or IronArmor finish on metal provides weathering protection.
Public fixtures are also more likely targets of vandalism, so some bollard light models are built with vandalism resistance in mind. (Check out how our R-9811 bollard survives both attack and flooding.)
The LED advantage
Almost every outdoor light you’ll buy today is installed with LED lights. LEDs have an average use-life of 50,000 hours. When hard-wired, they save an enormous amount of money compared to older light fixtures. The small energy footprint required of LEDs also allows for innovation. Intelligent solar lighting can use their efficiency to keep the lights on even in dark wintery weather.
When LEDs first showed up on the market, the increased blue in the light was seen as an advantage for clarity. However, studies have shown that overly blue light can be a problem for circadian rhythms of people and animals. It can also increase the risk of glare.
These days, LEDs are offered in neutral and warm colors to mitigate the challenges of blue-light LEDs. For those ocean-side locations with turtle populations, turtle lights prevent hatchlings from becoming confused on their way to the sea. To minimize up-light, bollards with complete cutoff help reduce light pollution for dark skies.
Pathway lights for inviting spaces
Bollards with lights can transform outdoor space. People are more likely to be out at night when they feel safe, and lighting contributes to feeling secure. Lit bollards also contribute to a landscape’s atmosphere. A good lighting plan invites people in.
Lighting bollards may offer a secretive glimpse at the beauty of buildings, plants, and water in the location. The visual depth and mystery after dark offers something different than daytime views. A series of bollard lights along a path can create a magical feeling of being drawn on an adventure into the unknown. Beacons near an entrance or a building can create the sense of life and welcome in the darkness. The choice of lighting at night communicates personality. Choosing not just the type of standard, but also the light it creates, gives designers the chance to make light into a medium. Light becomes a way in which to express a site’s personality.
Check out our full line of bollards with lights.