8 Best Outdoor Lighting Ideas For a Stunning Backyard
Lighting is very important when it comes to setting the right mood, but also to adding accents to different areas or features. There are many outdoor lighting ideas for the backyard, front lawn, and any exterior area, ranging from ambient lights to safety lighting. When making home improvements, outdoor lighting is one of the most common considerations amongst homeowners. But don’t forget, electrical safety comes first even when it comes to the beautification of your back yard.
The outdoor lighting market is quite diverse. In terms of the purpose they serve, there are three main types of exterior lights. You’ll want to come up with a design that incorporates all of them:
- Safety Lighting: this type of lighting helps you boost home safety and navigation, as well as detect intruders.
- Landscape Lighting: these are specifically designed to emphasize garden features.
- Accent Lighting: this type of lighting accentuates different building features like paved roads, driveways, or fountains.
Within each category, you’ll discover that there are even more lighting options. If you don’t know where to start, have a look at our guide for beautiful, safe outdoor lighting. Safe installation and efficient work are very important, which is why it’s not just the lights you need to look for, but also a qualified electrician to install them.
1. Security Lighting
Security lighting is the brightest backyard lighting option on the market because it’s supposed to illuminate large areas and scare off animals or potential intruders. To cast broad beams of light onto walkways or backyard entrances, these lighting systems are powered by 120 Volt current and installed in high spots like above the garage or the eaves.
In terms of security, you should go for the motion-sensing floodlight. You can install these onto the surface of walls or exterior siding. They contain two- or even three-bulb housing units, which are activated only when motion is detected. Due to its intense light, this system is highly efficient when it comes to protecting your home from intruders.
2. Outdoor String Lights
If you are looking to create a warm, intimate atmosphere, perfect for summer parties, then your best bet is string lighting. String lights are the easiest to install from all outdoor lighting ideas, as they can be installed wherever the activity is. Brighten your outdoor kitchen by hanging the lights on the eaves of your home, or illuminate your beautiful pavilion by installing the string lights on its posts.
Invest in rechargeable, waterproof battery lights or solar-powered string lights, equipped with long-lasting LED bulbs. This way you won’t need extension cords and electrical outlets. Plus, you can be sure that your lighting can stay safely on even when it rains.
When it comes to special outdoor string light ideas, twinkling lights will do the trick. However, if you are willing to go that extra mile, definitely consider vintage-style lights with exposed filaments or the larger Edison string lights. These look amazing wrapped around a large outdoor umbrella.
3. Outdoor Dining Lighting
Everyone appreciates a fine dining experience and there’s no better way to create an elegant atmosphere than a chandelier. But when you want to eat outside, wiring for an outdoor fixture may turn out to be rather complicated. What you can do instead is install the chandelier on the beams of your covered patio or pergola.
A simpler option is using LED candles. You could also use string lights installed on the chandelier’s mounting to add a bit of magic to your dinner. Feel free to combine these outdoor lighting ideas for the perfect decor.
4. Landscape Path Lighting
Soft to moderately bright, path lighting is a type of landscape lighting combined with safety lights that helps you safely navigate footways, while pleasantly illuminating them. To properly emphasize them, install the lights from your backdoor to the fence door or from the main pathway to a building feature like a fountain or a large flower pot.
The path lighting system is low voltage and it usually uses 12- to 15-V. There are also the solar LED options, made up of decorative bulb housing units, connected to a short stake, pushed into the ground. However, these are usually not strong enough, only illuminating 1 or 2 feet around the light, so for path lighting solar might not be the best option. Low voltage path lights will require a transformer, which reduces the 120-volt house current to 12 volt.
If you are looking for a simple and efficient alternative, you could consider LED lights. Place the LED strips under the furniture or along the base of the stairs to boost backyard lighting and safety. Plus, your garden becomes a beautiful outdoor area, perfect for parties.
5. Outdoor Lanterns
If you are looking for soft outdoor lighting solutions, without spending a fortune, look no further than lanterns. Usually installed close to the back door, these will beautifully highlight different architectural details, like an arch or a window. Most lanterns have a semi-flush mount. The glass-and-metal exterior is attached to an arm, which is affixed to a plate on the wall.
At the same time, tabletop lanterns which are battery-powered softly illuminate elements, placed at eye level. So, these might also be an alternative when entertaining outside. However, make sure you choose a translucent glass covering instead of a clear one, to provide a more glare-free, diffuse lighting.
Decorative lanterns are probably the easiest ways to add lighting to outdoor areas. Line them up on the wall or cluster them on the table, you choose. You have many, different options to play with this kind of lighting, especially if you consider LED candles.
6. Outdoor Candles
If you are looking to create a soft, romantic atmosphere, we suggest taking Miyuki Yamaguchi’s advice. This famous interior designer recommends using pillar candles, positioned on your front porch in different places. These are strictly for decor and atmosphere, as they are also not strong enough and don’t work as well as wired options.
7. Outdoor Uplighting
If you are looking to make a statement, try to position a few lights under the trees or plants in your garden or even against a wall. It will add a dramatic effect, yet create a cozy atmosphere.
Uplighting, also known as spot lighting, is a standard-voltage system, shining moderate to high-intensity narrow beams upwards to properly illuminate an ornamental feature or a plant. It can be installed at or below ground level. However, to illuminate taller objects, you will need bullet-shaped lights on a base, which is driven into the ground using a stake.
These lights have an adjustable head, positioned right above the ground, casting strong beams of light, over greater distances, and at an angle you choose. To cast lights upwards and over shorter distances, you should opt for round lights.
8. Firefly Lights
Creating your own firefly lights from old, empty bottles is a fun project you can do at home with the kids. Apart from the empty bottles, you will need rubber stoppers, with LED light strings attached. Simply insert the string into the bottle and place the stopper in the top of the bottle. As soon as dusk falls, your LED lights within the bottle will start twinkling. You can showcase your little project all year round.
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