If you wish to enjoy your front or backyard, there are limited hours in the day. Without appropriate lighting, it becomes difficult to appreciate your yard and the efforts you’ve invested in it after nightfall. Fortunately, numerous outdoor landscape lighting ideas are available to illuminate your outdoor space. Selecting from the multitude of outdoor lighting options can be overwhelming, but this useful guide will assist you in choosing the appropriate lighting ideas, minimizing the confusion.
1. String lights
String lights, also known as fairy lights or holiday lights, are a great option to light up your yard. They can be hung almost anywhere, wrapped around trees and posts, or strung above features such as backyard patios.
String lights can add a magical touch to your yard, and are perfect for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. They can be used for downlighting and are versatile enough to be hung almost anywhere. While they are available in both LED and incandescent versions, the former is the more eco-friendly choice.
Pros of string lights:
String lights are highly customizable, allowing you to arrange them in various shapes and patterns, or use colored lights for added flair. Installing and maintaining them is also easy, as they only require hanging and the use of hooks instead of staples or tacks. Additionally, they are useful for highlighting paths and focal points like flower beds and prized plants, as well as providing moon lighting by mimicking natural moonlight with soft bulbs and proper placement.
Cons of string lights:
To prevent any fire hazards, it’s important to use outdoor-rated extension cords and not overload electrical outlets. It’s also recommended to turn off string lights when you’re not using them or when you’re not home.
2. Stake lights
Stake lights, also known as path lights, are a great option for outdoor lighting. These lights are easy to install by simply driving them into the ground, and they provide ground-level lighting for your paths and gardens. Solar-powered options are available, eliminating the need for batteries or outdoor electrical outlets. Additionally, these lights can be easily moved and removed as needed.
Pros of stake lights
Stake lights are a convenient and affordable option for outdoor lighting. They are easy to install and won’t increase your energy costs. Stake lights are perfect for illuminating pathways, highlighting features, and providing an uplighting effect. Moreover, there are many different designs and styles available to suit your taste and needs.
Cons of stake lights
It’s worth noting that stake lights can pose tripping hazards, especially for small children and people with mobility or vision issues. Additionally, removing them can leave holes in your lawn or garden that could be difficult to repair.
3. Outdoor wall lamps
Lamps on your home’s exterior provide excellent accent lighting and downlighting. They require more installation work than other light fixtures but are worth the effort and are a good starting point for a yard-wide lighting system.
Pros of wall lamps
They can be costly to install and maintain, especially if you need to hire an electrician. May require drilling into your home’s exterior, which can lead to damage or leaks if not done correctly.
Cons of wall lamps
Installation can be difficult. Unless you are an electrician, it is best to hire a professional to install these lights, as mistakes with DIY can be costly. In addition, some wall lights may only provide limited illumination, illuminating only certain spots close to your house. You may need additional light sources for full yard coverage.
4. Natural lighting
If you’re looking for lighting options that are less reliant on electricity, consider natural landscape lighting. The dancing shadows from natural light sources such as outdoor fire pits, candles, and gas lanterns are magical and don’t require electricity, solar power, or batteries.
Pros of natural outdoor lighting
These natural lighting options offer a cozy and relaxing atmosphere, serving as a centerpiece for gatherings and adding value to your home with a permanent outdoor fire pit.
Cons of natural outdoor lighting
Difficult to install. Installing a permanent outdoor fire pit may require professional assistance, as it can be challenging for individuals to do on their own. Fire hazards. Natural lighting sources, such as candles and torches, can pose a risk of fire or injury if safety precautions are not taken. Limited illumination. While natural lighting sources can create a cozy ambiance, they may not provide as much illumination as electric sources, necessitating additional lighting.
5. Step lights
Lighting your steps is a great way to add safety and style to your yard. Here are some additional benefits to adding step lights to your landscaping:
Pros of step lights
Additionally, installing step lights can also add a decorative element to your outdoor space, highlighting the design of your stairs and creating an inviting ambiance. And since many step lights are available in a range of colors and styles, you can easily find ones that match your existing outdoor decor.
Cons of step lights
Permanent step lights require wiring and cutting into the steps, which can be challenging for those without experience. It’s always important to prioritize safety when installing any lighting fixtures, so seeking professional assistance is a good option.
6. Uplights and downlights
Uplights are lights that are placed on the ground and point upward, whereas downlights are hung from something or installed in a wall or ceiling and point downward.
Pros of uplights and downlights
Uplights are lights that are placed on the ground and point upwards, while downlights are hung from something or installed in a wall or ceiling, and point downwards. They are easy to install, as most uplights and downlights are small and portable, allowing you to place them anywhere in your yard without difficulty. Additionally, they come in solar and battery-powered varieties, making them an affordable lighting option that won’t increase your electric bill. Uplights and downlights are perfect for highlighting the best areas of your yard, such as large trees or prize-winning plants.
Cons of uplights and downlights
Tripping hazard. Take care not to put your uplights too close to paths, as you or someone else may trip over them. You can avoid this by placing them a safe distance away or using low-profile lights that are flush with the ground. Limited illumination. Since uplights and downlights are designed to highlight certain things, they won’t provide much light to your yard as a whole. To ensure adequate lighting throughout your yard, you may want to supplement them with other types of lighting, such as string lights or outdoor wall lamps.
7. Hanging lanterns
Lanterns are an excellent way to add a rustic touch to your yard. They can be hung from trees or placed on tables and are typically lit using either electric candles or regular candles. If you prefer a more delicate look, you can use paper lanterns instead of those made of glass or metal.
Pros of hanging lanterns
Easy to install. Lanterns are easy to set up; simply add a light source, place them where you want, and you’re done! Affordable. Lanterns come in a range of prices, so you can find a style that fits your budget. Paper lanterns, in particular, are an inexpensive option.
Cons of hanging lanterns
Fire hazard: Paper lanterns can easily catch fire, so it is recommended to use electric candles in them to reduce the risk of fire.
Limited illumination: Lanterns do not provide as much illumination as electric light sources, so you may need several of them to provide enough light for your yard.
8. Pool lights
Adding lighting to your pool area can create a beautiful atmosphere and make your nighttime swims more enjoyable. Here are some additional points to consider:
Pros of pool lights
Enhance your swimming experience. Adding lights to your pool can create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy your pool even more. Improve safety. In addition to eliminating a tripping hazard, pool lights can also improve overall safety by making it easier to see swimmers in the water at night. Professional installation may be required. While some pool lights are easy to install, others may require professional installation to ensure they are properly wired and meet safety standards.
Cons of pool lights
Difficult to install. Installing any lighting in the walls of in-ground pools can be challenging and may require hiring a professional for safety and quality reasons.
Electrocution hazard. Having lights underwater increases the risk of electrocution. Low-voltage LED lights and ensuring proper installation and maintenance can help reduce this risk. Installing pool lighting above the surface of the water is another way to avoid this hazard.
9. Hardscape lights
Hardscape lights are installed in the non-plant areas of your backyard, such as walls, paths, stones, patios, decks, and driveways. Lighting up these areas can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your yard and make it safer to navigate at night. Hardscape lights can be either permanent or temporary fixtures.
Pros of hardscape lighting
Improve safety. Illuminating your hardscape areas can prevent tripping and falling hazards, especially in areas with uneven surfaces or steps.
Create ambiance. Hardscape lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a quiet night outside.
Increase property value. Well-designed and installed hardscape lighting can add value to your property and make it more appealing to potential buyers.
Cons of hardscape lighting
Installing hardscape lighting can be difficult, especially in the case of concrete paths or other hard materials like stone. It may require the help of a professional to install them properly.
10. Well lights
Well lights are a discreet way to light up your yard without the need for visible light fixtures. They are buried in the ground with only a small portion visible above the surface.
Pros of well lights
Difficult to install. Installing well lights requires digging holes in the ground and running wires, so it may be best left to a professional. Maintenance. Since well lights are installed underground, they may require more maintenance than other types of outdoor lighting.
Cons of well lights
Installation can be challenging. Installing well lights in hard surfaces such as concrete paths may require professional installation. Additionally, if installed in grass, the removal of well lights can result in a damaged lawn that will require filling.
11. Strip lights
Strip lights are a modern and stylish lighting option that can add a touch of sophistication to your yard. Here are some advantages of using strip lights:
Pros of strip lights
Energy efficient. Strip lights use LED bulbs, which are much more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. Low heat emission. Unlike other types of outdoor lighting, strip lights don’t emit a lot of heat, so they’re safe to use near plants and other sensitive materials. Versatile. Strip lights can be used for a variety of purposes beyond just decoration. For example, they can be used to highlight steps or walkways for safety, or to provide task lighting for outdoor workspaces.
Cons of strip lights
It can be difficult to replace individual lights on strip lights, and it may be necessary to replace the entire strip if one or more lights go out.
12. Light bars
Pros of light bars
Durable. Light bars are often made of weather-resistant materials, making them suitable for outdoor use in any weather.
However, some potential drawbacks to light bars are:
Limited coverage. Light bars provide a narrow beam of light, which means they may not provide enough coverage for larger areas. Harsh lighting. Light bars are often bright and can create harsh lighting, which may not be ideal for some outdoor settings.
Cons of light bars
Light bars can provide adequate illumination, depending on their size and the number of bulbs they contain. However, they may not be suitable for lighting up large portions of the yard, as they are more suitable for accent lighting.
13. Lighted planters
Pros of lighted plant pots
Adds to your electricity bill. Lighted pots are an additional source of electricity usage and can contribute to an increased energy bill. May require a power source. Lighted pots may require access to a power source, which can be challenging if they’re not placed near an outlet.
Cons of lighted plant pots
Lighted plant pots can be more expensive than regular plant pots, especially if they come with preinstalled lights. However, DIY options can be more affordable and still provide the same effect.
14. Luminary bags
Pros of luminary bags
Risk of fire hazard. Luminary bags with candles inside can be a fire hazard if not properly monitored. It’s recommended to use battery-operated candles instead to avoid any risk of fire.
Cons of luminary bags
Luminary bags are made of paper and are flammable, which can make them a fire hazard if used with traditional candles. It’s best to use electric candles instead, as they can provide the same beautiful effect without the risk of fire.
15. Recessed lighting
Pros of recessed lighting
Adding recessed lighting to your outdoor spaces can increase the value of your home by enhancing its overall aesthetic appeal and functionality.
Cons of recessed lighting
Recessed lighting is not ideal for illuminating larger outdoor areas as it is more suitable for highlighting specific areas such as patios, decks or walls.
16. Electric lamp posts
Pros of lamp posts
Good for lighting large areas. Lamp posts can cast a lot of light and are great for lighting up large areas like driveways and yards. Versatile. Lamp posts come in many styles and sizes, so you can find one that fits your specific needs and tastes. Can be used as a decorative element. Lamp posts can be used to add a decorative element to your outdoor space even during the day when they’re not lit up.
Cons of lamp posts
Additionally, lamp posts may also require ongoing maintenance, such as bulb replacement and occasional cleaning.
17. Homemade lights
Pros of DIY lights
Sustainable. DIY lights can be made from repurposed materials, making them a great option for those who want to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly.
Creative outlet. Making your own lights can be a fun and creative activity that allows you to express your individual style and taste.
Flexible. DIY lights can be adapted to fit any space or occasion, making them a versatile lighting option for indoor or outdoor use.
Cons of DIY lights
Additionally, DIY lights may not be as durable as commercially available outdoor lights and may not last as long.
In conclusion, outdoor landscape lighting can transform the look and feel of any outdoor space, making it a more functional and enjoyable area to spend time in. The 17 outdoor landscape lighting ideas presented in this article showcase how lighting can be used to create different moods and highlight various features of your outdoor space.
From string lights to path lighting, there are many different types of outdoor lighting that can be used to enhance your landscape. By incorporating these lighting ideas into your outdoor space, you can create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere that can be enjoyed day or night. With so many options available, there is a lighting solution to suit every style and taste, making it easy to create the perfect outdoor oasis.