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When building a home or remodeling, something to consider is custom outdoor lighting. The designers or architects will recommend where lights should be placed and possibly help choose the right fixtures. Your builder, interior decorator, and electrician will be able to provide guidance on the best ideas for lighting. Ultimately, it is the homeowner’s choice and should be reviewed carefully as to placement and reflection of the custom outdoor lighting and exterior lights.

Home Owners Associations usually have specific rules about their subdivisions and custom outdoor lighting that must be followed. For example, The City of Bend has extensive amounts of codes for homes built within the City limits. However, homes built outside the City limits have fewer rules to follow for lighting a home, but consideration of neighbors’ homes, their livestock or pets, and the night sky is in order, so these should be considered when choosing custom outdoor lighting.

Here are a few tips for a more custom home lighting look:

  • Use only soffit lighting on your home, no surface mount
  • On porches balance lighting with even number lights, either 2, 4, 6 Etc
  • Center soffit lights between windows for a great wash effect
  • 3 soffit lights are better on a 16’ wide garage door
  • More is always better

Be considerate! Nobody wants the neighbor’s lights shining into their windows. Many people enjoy the night sky and sit or sleep outside in warmer weather to enjoy the evening. A neighbor’s bright lights can limit this enjoyment. But rather than call the City of Bend, it may be best to alert the neighbor of the problem and work it out between you.

Here are a few highlights on the Bend City Code:

Custom outdoor lighting fixtures shall have a shielding method to direct light emissions down onto the site and not shine directly or glare onto adjacent properties.
The intent is to allow citizens, businesses, and public agencies to illuminate areas while preserving urban vistas and by confining light to the property of which it is generated.
Residential decorative and landscape lighting must not shine glare or cast a shadow onto adjacent properties. Up-lighting intended to highlight a building or landscape will be contained by the overhanging architectural element or landscape element and not shine into the night sky.
Low wattage lighting used for holiday decorations are allowed for no more than 60 days and are exempt from requirements.

For more information on lighting code for the City of Bend visit www.bendoregon.gov/codenforcement

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