When it comes to making your outdoor space more appealing, there’s one magical ingredient that always works like a charm, and that is lighting. While natural light is undeniably the best way to enhance any setting, you can’t always rely on the sun and the moon to light up your way and set the mood. That’s when outdoor lighting comes into play to give Mother Nature a helping hand and make your oasis glow. There’s no reason to end the fun once the sun has set. Adding the right lighting fixtures can bring the outdoors to life and transform your garden, patio, porch or deck into the ideal place to hang out with family or friends, so when darkness sets in, that’s when the thrill really begins.
There are countless ways in which you can play with light to improve the exterior design. You can create a soft and intimate atmosphere in your outdoor nook or bring a bright and cheerful vibe by putting your outdoor lighting ideas into practice. The options are virtually endless. But if you’re running low on ideas, focus on these goals:
- Lighting up areas in your garden strategically to highlight specific landscape features
- Installing accent lights to draw attention to the hardscape and outdoor structures
- Using exterior lights to make your home’s facade look more attractive
Even the dullest areas can be turned into charming alfresco spaces with the help of some well-chosen garden lights and smart landscape lighting ideas. However, we don’t want you to get lost in the sea of string lights, lanterns, lamps, candles, spotlights and other light fittings. So we’ve made a list with the best outdoor lighting ideas that will quite literally brighten up your day.
The festive vibe of festoon lights
If we’re talking outdoor lighting trends, we’re talking LED festoon lighting. They’re all the rage when it comes to indoor and outdoor lighting and for good reason. Some Waterproof LED string lights zigzagged overhead can transform an ordinary seating area into a cosy and inviting dining spot where you can entertain your guests on warm summer evenings. Or you can create a bright canopy with LED festoon lights to bring that festival feel to your backyard. You’ll have your own starry sky to marvel at and keep the party going late into the night.
The soft glow of lantern light
Lanterns are not only charming lighting ideas, but they’re also convenient as you can move them around from place to place to create different effects. They come in a variety of styles and shapes, so you can choose the type that works best with your outdoor design. Cluster lanterns together, and they can become the focal point of your garden decor or place them along the pathways to guide your steps. They can also cast their gentle glow on the table for a romantic and intimate ambiance.
Bright outdoor pathways
This is where functionality meets aesthetics. Having a beautiful garden is wonderful, but it’s even better if you can explore it safely after dusk. Luckily, there are many lighting options to make your garden pathways safe to navigate while also creating an eye-catching effect. Some solar-powered lanterns or glass brick lights along the path’s edges will do the trick. They’re effective hassle-free solutions, as you won’t have to deal with any wiring. Another idea would be to embed the lights into the pathway for a clean and clear look.
LED strip lights
On the same note of mixing safety and style, let’s shed some light on the stairs and decks. Garden steps or multi-level decks sure look pretty, but they can also be a potential hazard when it gets dark. But worry not because LED strip lights are exactly what you need to stumble-proof your outdoor living space. It’s as simple as installing low-key LED strip lights at the base of the steps or decking. They’re bright enough to light up your way but subtle enough so as not to overpower the whole setting.
Be bold with bulkhead lights
Sometimes more is better, and while delicate lights play a significant role in exterior design, certain outdoor areas could really use some bright light. Dining alfresco is as much about eating as it is about ambient, so you might want to see what’s on your plate. Enter bulkhead lights – they’re sturdy, efficient and ready to provide increased visibility wherever you place them. These lighting fixtures will be able to withstand harsh weather, and they can make quite a statement in your garden lighting scheme with their industrial look.
Lamp posts to light the landscape
It’s time to take a more traditional route to exterior lighting and bring the good old lamp posts back into the limelight. No, they’re not extinct, and they’re still amongst the best landscape lighting ideas out there. But they did come a long way since Victorian times, and now you can opt for stylish solar powered lamp posts. The fun part is that you can get creative and experiment with landscaping around them. You can plant a flower bed, climbing vines, ornamental grass or evergreen shrubs at their base or simply create a lovely pot arrangement.
Fairy lights for fairytale nights
Nothing spells magic better than warm LED fairy lights sprinkled across the garden and patio. There’s a whimsical quality to twinkle lights that you can take advantage of when designing your landscape. Wrap them around tree trunks to make them look like they’re covered in fairy dust glimmering into the night or hide them in shrubs’ foliage or flower beds, and your garden will look like it came straight out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With such a spellbinding atmosphere, the pixies might even make an appearance.
Feature lights to flaunt your garden
You haven’t worked so hard tending to your beloved plants just to let them go unnoticed when the evening comes. It’s about time to show off your garden’s best features with some clever garden lighting ideas. Scatter LED spotlights strategically to highlight shrubs, run a rope light along your flower beds to make them shine and position uplights to draw attention to planters and majestic trees. You can accentuate foliage, structures and textures that are worth displaying and add a bit of depth and drama to your landscape.
A touch of warm candle
When it comes to setting a romantic mood, there’s nothing quite like the gentle light of a candle. Pillar candles look absolutely mesmerizing whether you place them individually in clear vases or arrange them in clusters, shedding their warm light into the night. Just make sure there’s nothing around that could catch fire, especially on windy days. But if you want to be extra cautious, you can always opt for faux candles. Some of them look so realistic that they could fool anyone with their flickering lights.
Otherworldly charm with glowing orbs
If it’s intrigue and mystery that you’re looking for, orbs and spheres are the ideal lighting fixtures to bring your vision to life. Just like lanterns, they’re easy to play with as they don’t have any wiring to get in the way. They give off a gentle glow, so you can place them together without fearing it will be too much for sensitive eyes, but they work just as well dotted around your outdoor living space. Choose different sizes and arrange them in various patterns on the ground or hang festoon lights from tree branches, fences or walls.
Fun and funky lighting sources
So far, we’ve covered different types of lighting sources that most people are already familiar with. Let’s make things a bit more fun and throw in some outdoor lighting innovations in the mix. You can improve your gardening game with luminescent planters that do double duty as pots and light fixtures. They are cute and bright and can add a lot of character to your space. Another quirky idea to bring light to your life is to use illuminated speakers, so you can party in style from dusk till dawn.
Light up the furniture
You wouldn’t want to forget about garden furniture. Wondering what furniture has to do with outdoor lighting? The furniture itself can be the light. If you’re riding the minimalist wave and prefer to have a clutter-free table – no lamps, lanterns, candles or other lighting elements – glowing furniture is the answer. You’ll have more space at your disposal and one less thing to worry about. Place some bright stools, cubes and side tables, and you’ve checked the boxes for seating area and lighting as well.
Things to consider
Before you run off to the store to shop for lighting fixtures and take the DIY route, here are a few important aspects you might want to consider:
Asses your outdoor lighting needs
It’s easy to get excited about a lighting project and go a bit overboard. Sometimes simple is best, and you might not need 10 string lights and countless lanterns and lamps to create a beautiful landscape. Take into account the space you have at your disposal and see how you could enhance it. You might have a million ideas running through your head, but you must choose the ones that will work for you. Don’t focus only on style; safety and functionality should also be on your mind.
Think about the costs
You must match your outdoor ideas with your budget. Your plan could look great on paper, but do you have the finances to put it into practice? Carefully calculating the costs for your project can save you a lot of trouble down the way. Also, you could choose LED lights that use up to 80% less electricity than traditional light bulbs, and install low-voltage landscape lighting to cut down on your monthly bills.
Revamp What You Already Have
Maybe all you have to do is show your existing outdoor lighting scheme a bit of TLC and forget about installing new lights. Or maybe you can do both. A quick makeover will cost you far less than starting a project from scratch, so check your lighting fixtures, clean them properly and replace old light bulbs as needed. Regular inspections can increase their lifespan so you can enjoy them for longer.