From your front door to your backyard, exterior lighting serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. Different kinds of outdoor lighting can create a dramatic focal point in your yard or accentuate your home’s architecture; create a cozy outdoor environment for eating, relaxing, or entertaining; enhance your enjoyment of your home, and provide added safety and security. Lighting is also a great way to highlight the natural elements of your outdoor space: a fireplace, a water feature, or your trees and plants. This post provides some outdoor lighting ideas to give you some inspiration.

What Type of Lighting is Best?

With so many outdoor lighting options, it can be hard to know where to begin. To get started, think about your space. In what ways do you want to use the area? Will you be entertaining friends or making memories with family? How do you want to feel in that space, relaxed or invigorated? What do you want to highlight, a sculpture, a garden, a swimming pool or water feature, a large tree on your property, or all of the above? What kind of aesthetic appeals to you? Rustic? Traditional? Contemporary?  

Outdoor Living Area Lighting

Outdoor living spaces can greatly enhance your enjoyment of your home. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, giving you the perfect place to relax, entertain friends and family, or spend time in nature. Bring the comfort and coziness of the indoors to your outdoor living space with wall sconces, downlighting, and uplighting.  

Outdoor Dining Space

Use outdoor lighting to create a welcoming space for dining al fresco on your patio or under a pergola. The lighting options are virtually endless. A weatherproof chandelier adds drama and is a beautiful focal point for your dining area, while torches or lanterns lend a more subtle, natural look. String lights hung in the trees surrounding your table or along the ceiling of a pergola add ambiance, while candles (real or LED) make for a romantic atmosphere. Remember that you may need task lighting to provide brighter, more functional lights for areas where you plan to do outdoor cooking or food preparation, such as around a grill or outdoor bar.

Fire Feature Lighting

Adding supplemental light sources around a fire feature will not only enhance the look of your outdoor fireplace but will also allow you to enjoy the space on nights when you don’t want to light a fire. Add some wall lights on either side of the outdoor fire feature or some torches or plant lights around the perimeter of the fire pit area. These little touches will elevate the look and feel of your space with the fire feature as the centerpiece.

Trees and Gardens Lighting

Make your landscaping shine by placing lighting around your trees or garden. Recessed uplights beneath trees will illuminate branches from below for a dramatic effect. For large trees, install downlights up in the branches to create a moon-lit effect on the ground or patio.  To create a fun atmosphere in a wooded backyard, install string or bistro lights from tree to tree or along a path and watch the space come to life!

Path Lighting

Path lighting is not only a beautiful addition to your landscaping, but it will also allow you to walk safely after the sun goes down. Place lights along walkways or path lighting in the garden. You could also install recessed lights along a stone path to light your way in the dark.

Entry Lighting

If you are looking for outdoor lighting ideas for the front of house, entry lighting is both practical and beautiful. Greet your guests, create curb appeal, and give yourself a warm welcome home each night with the right lights at your home’s entrance. Wall lights on either side of your front door will throw the necessary light and create an inviting entryway. You can choose fixtures of all different styles based on the aesthetic of your home— sculptural or subtle, traditional or modern.

Step Lighting

Recessed lights on steps and stair risers are crucial for safety, but they can also be attractive. Lights can be placed in the wall along the sides of each step, as shown above, or you can illuminate the stairs from above or below.

Illuminated Water Features

One of the more unique outdoor lighting ideas for the backyard is illuminated water features. A water feature brings a sense of tranquility and elegance to your space. Illuminating your outdoor water features will create a truly stunning effect after dark. You can light up fountains, waterfalls, and ponds to make your backyard feel like a tranquil spa or resort.

Pool Lighting

Illuminating your swimming pool is the perfect finishing touch to your backyard. Lighting the pool itself will make your pool more inviting for an evening dip and add an air of luxury to its overall appearance. You might also illuminate the features surrounding the pool, such as trees, plants, walls, and architectural features, to create added visual interest. Lanterns and illuminated plantings can also be placed strategically around the poolside to cast reflections on the surface of your pool, multiplying the beauty.

Lighting Trends

Whether you host frequent backyard gatherings, or you just want to relax in your outdoor living space there are many new trends to help you create the perfect ambiance.  LED is the current standard but LED lamps can be color changing to match your party theme or favorite sports team’s colors.  Colors can even be controlled from your smart phone.  Bistro or string lights are available in LED for long-lasting enjoyment while offering energy savings.  If you’re into DIY, many online stores offer options for lanterns, hurricanes, or LED candles. 

When it comes to creating an enjoyable outdoor space, lighting makes all the difference. The right lighting can transform your outdoor living spaces into a place you want to spend more time. For help selecting the perfect lighting fixtures for your home that can offer many years of enjoyment, contact Aspen Outdoor Designs for a consultation.