Here's how to remove painted woodwork for refinishing. Score the paint with a utility knife to prevent splitting the wood. Gently begin to separate the wood using a dull chisel or flat bar. Then use a stiff putty knife and a prybar to remove the woodwork. Keep the putty knife behind the prybar as you work to avoid marking or denting the wood. Proceed carefully to remove the whole piece.
Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a timer so they will turn off during the day.