10 Awesome Outdoor Lighting Ideas

10 Awesome Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Most people give a lot of thought to their indoor lighting. However, outdoor decor and lighting are the ultimate touches that can elevate your home’s ambiance and transform outdoor activities. In addition, outdoor lighting can provide security and safety to your home while you enjoy a swim, eat with friends or family, or watch the sunset from your backyard. 

In this article, we’re going over 10 awesome outdoor lighting ideas that are sure to inspire you. 

Let’s start by considering how your backyard is set up. 

Things to Consider Before Installing Outdoor Lights

Before running to the store or Amazon, start by assessing your backyard and its lighting needs. 

Do you have areas that you’d like to add lights to for safety reasons, such as your steps, pool, or spa? Lights can illuminate these areas and decrease your risk of slipping or falling at night. In addition, path lighting is almost always a must-have for main walkways outside your home. 

Motion sensor security lighting or floodlights can also be installed to intimidate and scare off wild animals and would-be burglars, making these valuable lighting options. Security lights are often the brightest and are typically placed up high to create a wide beam. 

Do you have any structures in your backyard that would look beautiful illuminated under the night sky? Consider your patio roof, pergolas, arbors, a shed, large furniture, umbrellas, and more. 

Where do you and your family spend the most time in the backyard? Consider the placement of your lights. If you typically spend time sitting around your table, look around that area to see where you could add lights to illuminate the area better. The same principle applies to your pool, steps, patio, garden, flower beds, and other focal points. 

Look around your backyard with a critical eye to see what areas you could potentially hang or frame with lights. Lastly, consider how much sunlight your backyard and front yard get. If you have enough sunlight, consider solar lights, which can save you money and time.

1. String Lights

String lights are not just for kids. These beautiful lights can create a starry night scene close to you and your family. String lights, also known as fairy lights, are low-voltage, soft accent lights that create a homey, warm ambiance that is wonderful for entertaining. 

We recommend placing string lights close to wherever you enjoy having company. Outdoor string lights are lovely on the eaves of the home to light up an outdoor kitchen or space or wrapped around your gazebo or outdoor pavilion’s posts to light up your entertaining area. You can also use colorful string lights to create a fun vibe in your outdoor space year-round. 

Since you’re hanging these lights outside, double-check that the string lights you choose are waterproof, battery or solar-powered, and rechargeable. Long-lasting LED lights are a must so that you don’t have to run bulky extension cords throughout your yard, ruining the soft, magical effect that string lights give off. 

2. Lanterns

Lanterns are versatile, stylish lights that can create many different ambiances outdoors. Lanterns offer a soft, low-voltage light and can be installed in many ways. Often, you’ll find lanterns near a back door, beautiful window, or arch. You can also use lanterns to highlight your favorite features outside, such as a beloved garden statue, plant, or wreath. 

Lanterns can be placed on a patio table or near entertaining areas. Keep one handy if you enjoy snacking, drinking, or playing board games outside because you never know when you may need the extra light. 

Hanging lanterns is a great way to illuminate the garden or a pathway to your home practically and beautifully. 

We recommend choosing lanterns with a translucent glass covering for glare-free, diffused lighting. Clear glass lanterns can be glaring eyesores, so skip these altogether if you want a cohesive, soft look outdoors. 

Lanterns are available in many styles, including paper lanterns, lanterns that sit on a patio table, mounted lanterns, hanging lanterns, and much more. No matter what your style is, you’re likely to find a lantern to match.  

3. Uplights

Uplights, otherwise known as spotlighting, are great for creating bright beams of light across your backyard. Consider using spotlighting to highlight a favorite water feature, plant, landscape design, or garden ornament. 

These narrow beams can be installed below tall trees or statues to light them up under the night sky. For taller items, like trees or tall ornaments, look for bullet-shaped spotlights and mount them on stakes driven into the ground. Bullet spotlights typically have adjustable heads, making illuminating your trees or items farther away easier. 

For short items, like shrubs or small statues, install round uplights pushed into the ground to cast light up. The lights will be hidden in the ground and out of sight but will create a beautiful beam of light highlighting your most prized outdoor features. 

Another beautiful way to use spotlights is on a pool or water feature. Install bullet-shaped spotlights away from your pool or water feature and adjust the light where it bounces off the water, creating an eye-catching beam across your water. 

4. Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting creates an inviting, warm, and lively environment. We recommend using pendant lights, like outdoor chandeliers or hanging pendant lights, to create a vibrant entertaining area. 

If you have a seating arrangement outside, hang pendant lights above the area to illuminate it while eating and chatting with friends and family. You can also line a roof or gazebo with pendant lights to create an inviting ambiance. 

We recommend looking for pendant lights marked for wet outdoor use made from sturdy materials that will hold up to the elements. Like the lanterns, consider whether you would prefer a diffused light or a clear light. A clear glass pendant light will provide harsher but brighter light, while a translucent glass pendant will give a homier, diffused look. 

5. Candles and Torches

Candles are lovely accent lights that create a warm glow outside and fun landscape lighting. Flames create an inviting and intimate ambiance that few lights can replicate. Try arranging multiple candles on a side table or dining area to create a captivating effect. 

Torches create a tropical and festive atmosphere. They’re often made from split bamboo and are budget-friendly. Torches can add the perfect touch if you frequently throw parties or have a pool. 

Avoid placing torches in areas where they may be knocked over. You should also never place a candle or torch near trees, plants, or overhanging eaves where they may create a fire hazard if knocked over. Never leave a lit candle alone. If you’re concerned about fire, you can use a flameless LED candle instead. If you have small children or pets around, a flameless LED candle should definitely be used as an alternative to real fire. 

6. Outdoor Wall Lighting

Outdoor wall lights are a fantastic way to illuminate different outside structures, such as a pool house or patio, or the exterior of your home. Open-bottomed wall sconces are an especially popular choice because they cast more light onto an area than closed-off sconces. 

If you’re concerned about how much space lights will take up in your backyard or front porch, wall sconces are a great choice. Wall sconces and wall lighting take up no floor space while adding light and a modern feel to your outdoor living space. 

When purchasing wall sconces, look for wall sconces with “wet” safety ratings designed for outdoor use specifically. We also recommend looking for dimmable wall sconces, as this can easily alter the look and ambiance of your home’s outdoor space. 

Wall sconces come in many different styles ranging from Victorian-style candle wall lights to rustic industrial sconces, sleek, minimalistic sconces, homesteader and farm wall lights, and much more. With so many choices, you’ll be able to find outdoor wall sconces easily, regardless of your style. 

7. Path and Garden Stake Lighting

Path and garden lights are excellent lighting options for creating an attractive outside atmosphere while providing an important safety feature to your outdoor space. Take a look around the premise of your home and consider any pathways that could benefit from additional lighting and stepping stones in your garden or backyard. 

We love how path lights create a safe and beautifully lit pathway. It makes the outdoors easier to navigate at night without taking away from the natural beauty of your garden or greenery. 

Garden stake lighting is another type of path lighting that is easy to add while still impacting the safety of your outdoor area. Simply install the stakes alongside your path. We recommend using a yardstick to line up the stakes so that they’re even.

You can also install deck lighting around the perimeter of your deck and along the deck stairs and railings to help with safety while enhancing nearby greenery.  

There are many path lighting options available, including solar LED options. However, if your pathways are shaded, you’ll want to consider low-voltage path lights that rely on a battery or wire. Alternatively, there are remote solar panel or solar rechargeable battery options that you can use, even if the path lights themselves aren’t in sunlight much.  

Read more on solar: Solar Energy Statistics & Facts

8. Front Door and Ceiling Lighting

In your excitement to decorate, don’t forget your front door. Lighting up your front door area gives your home an inviting look and provides additional safety benefits. It’s also helpful if you’re looking for your keys, welcoming guests inside, or taking your dog for a walk. 

There are many front door lighting options, including wall sconces and overhead lights. Sconces create a beautiful visual, but the overhead lights are crucial for creating a bright spotlight in front of your door. 

In addition to front door lighting, ceiling lighting fixtures are another great way to light up your front or back door area. Consider placing a stylish ceiling fixture that complements your home’s architecture to create a holistic look. Ceiling light fixtures with multiple bulbs are ideal because they’ll provide you with the most light when you’re looking for your keys or greeting guests. 

9. Fire pits and Fireplaces

Few things are as cozy and comforting as sitting near a warm fire pit or fireplace on a cool evening. A large hearth or fire pit creates a relaxing, soft glow outside and will be the perfect gathering place for you, your friends, and your family. 

You can also arrange patio chairs or cushions around a fire pit or fireplace to create an inviting seating area. Fire pits and fireplaces can be a fun centerpiece that is part of the entertainment for the evening. Make sure to keep plenty of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate on hand to create s’mores if you choose a fire pit or fireplace for your outdoor space. 

If you have a pool, pool fireplaces can also be installed. Not only do they look incredible, but they provide important safety lighting when you have nighttime gatherings near your pool. Pool fireplaces shouldn’t be used as your only pool safety feature at night. However, they can be a beautiful way to illuminate your pool. 

Please be cautious if you have young children or pets around when using your fire pit or fireplace. Children and pets should never be left unattended when these are lit. 

10. Under-eave Lighting

Highlight your home’s beautiful architecture by installing under-eave lighting. Not only does eave lighting function as safety lighting, but it illuminates your home’s best features at night. 

The brightness of under-eave lighting gives the home a more inviting, lighter look. Don’t forget to install under-eave lighting on the second floor of your home if you have one. The stacked under-eave lighting on multiple floors is an especially stunning look. 

We recommend looking for water-resistant under-eave lighting, even if you think the eaves protect the light fixtures. 

Dimmable under-eave lighting can be a great choice. Some under-eave lighting comes with a remote that allows you to dim and even change the colors of the lights, making for a fun look for your home for the holidays or parties. 

Final Thoughts

Outdoor lighting and backyard lighting can dramatically affect the ambiance of your home and outdoor space. We strongly recommend looking into both security and safety lighting options for your protection and safety outdoors. 

However, decorative exterior lighting is beautiful and valuable for security and safety as well. It can help you highlight your home’s stunning architecture, pool, favorite plants or landscaping elements, statues, and much more. Start by assessing your home and what you’d like to highlight the most, and if there are any entertaining areas that you want to improve upon. Then, consider the style and space you have for lights in that area. 

We hope you have fun creating a stylish ambiance for your outdoor space!

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