8 Illuminating Landscape Lighting Ideas to Enhance Your Outdoor Space
Lighting is an important part of your home’s outdoor appeal. A set of lights can brighten your walkways, adding beauty while keeping you and your guests safe as they navigate your yard. But where do you gather your inspiration for creating these outdoor landscape lighting ideas?
There are plenty of options to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that suits your style. Keep reading this guide for eight illuminating landscape ideas to get you started.
Why You Should Use Outdoor Lighting in Your Backyard
When your backyard is illuminated, it increases the functionality of the space. Many homeowners can use their patio or deck year-round. But without outdoor lighting, your backyard becomes a dark, unusable, and sometimes unsafe space.
You can easily light up your outdoor space using one of thousands of landscape lighting ideas. You can even incorporate lighting into your stairs and pool. The extra light allows your guests to enjoy themselves longer and provides safety for anyone walking across your lawn.
Types of Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
Landscape lighting ideas include one or a combination of the five basic types of lighting fixtures used outdoors. There is no one-size-fits-all design, so mixing and matching help you achieve the look you want. The basic types of outdoor lighting fixtures include:
- Directional lights
- Cap lights in walls and seating
- Hanging lights and lamps
- Path or post lights
- In-ground lights
- Decorative lights
Combining these lighting fixtures will add to the ambiance of your outdoor oasis, creating a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing garden.
Typically, outdoor lights require hard wiring and use LED bulbs. Some are programmable to turn on or off at specific times. Also, most of these lights are Low Voltage, meaning they use very little energy, the bulbs last a long time, and they are very safe in outdoor spaces.
Landscape Lighting Ideas
No matter what season, hardscape and landscape lighting contribute to your home. Try these landscape lighting ideas to get you started and improve the appeal of your backyard.
1. Pathway Lights
Pathway lights typically sit low to the ground with the light facing down. This brightens the walkways at night while providing a beautiful accent to your landscaping. It makes your space more inviting for your guests and adds a layer of safety as they walk across the yard after dark.
Pathway lights come in various shapes, sizes, and finishes and can create a look that complements the rest of your home’s exterior. You can find pathway lights in:
- Brass or matte black
- Aged brass
- Oil-rubbed bronze
Place the lights on alternating sides of the pathway to create a more balanced visual effect.
2. Recessed Ground Lights
Recessed ground lights, also known as well lights, are placed directly into the ground. This lighting style brightens your lawn or can create an accent light for areas you want to highlight, like plants or other decorative areas of your backyard.
Typically, well lights require hard wiring and use LED bulbs. Some are programmable to turn on or off at specific times. Other recessed ground lights can be submerged in water, making them perfect for use around pools.
Fires are a bundle of bright light, so why would you need to illuminate them? Lights can put the focus on the architecture of the pit and create a safer space. The darkest nights can cause someone to fall, but with some recessed ground lighting, you can ensure their safety as they walk around the fire pit.
3. Recessed Ceiling Lights
Covered structures and gazebos do an excellent job blocking natural light from the sun—which is a good thing! However, at night they create the opposite of the desired effect, it gets too dark! Recessed lights in the ceiling of the structure help illuminate the entire area, allowing your space to be usable 24/7.
4. String Lights
String lights are often associated with Christmas trees. But recently, they’ve been rebranded as “fairy lights” and used indoors and outdoors. This lighting style is perfect for archways, doorways, and any outdoor living space.
When incorporating string lights into your landscape lighting ideas, remember that they are best used on elevated areas. They can run along the top of your fence or between two trees. Or they add additional lighting to a canopy or gazebo.
String lights can be inexpensive, making them perfect for any homeowner on a budget. Many chain stores carry them year-round, but you can often find assorted colors in the seasonal section around Halloween and Christmas.
5. Cap Lights
Cap lights are small lights that are designed to fit on the top of fence posts, decks or other outdoor structures. They are typically low-voltage and solar-powered, making them energy-efficient and easy to install.
Cap lights can add a decorative touch to your outdoor space, while also providing practical lighting for safety and visibility. They are also great for illuminating walkways and steps, making them safer to navigate at night.
Cap lights come in a variety of styles and designs, from traditional to modern, so they can complement any architectural style. They can be used to light up a backyard, a garden, a pool, a patio, or a walkway. They can also be used to highlight landscaping features and to create a warm and inviting ambiance in your outdoor space.
6. Driveway Lighting
Your driveway is likely poorly lit if your home is not near the street lights. Luckily, there are several options for illuminating your driveway that can match the style of any home:
- Incorporate recessed lighting on the sides and center of the driveway
- Add a fence and install lighted posts
- Use trees to hang solar lanterns
- Install rope lighting in-ground
- Incorporate stake lights
- Use lighted planters
Depending on the setup of your landscape and which lights you purchase, you may need more than one lighting option to brighten your driveway.
7. Wash Lights
Wash lights throw soft diffused light to illuminate flat facades, fences, stone walls, or even trees. This type of lighting is excellent at shaping and highlighting areas of your property at night, creating a dramatic effect.
Wash lights come in a variety of styles and designs, with different beam angles and color temperatures. Some wash lights are equipped with color-changing LED lights, which can be used to create dynamic and colorful lighting effects. Some wash lights also have a feature for controlling the intensity of the light, allowing you to adjust the brightness and create different moods in your outdoor space.
8. Tiki Torches
You can make any backyard more festive by placing tiki torches throughout your backyard. These affordable, fuel-powered torches provide ambient lighting while keeping mosquitos and other nighttime pests away.
Tiki torches can illuminate walkways, driveways, and patios where you entertain guests. Keep them approximately six to eight feet apart so people have space to move around them without the fire hazard of getting too close. Place the torches at least six feet away from your home or other structures susceptible to catching fire.