Your backyard is your sanctuary, your place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a place where you can relax, unwind, and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.
But what if you could make it even more magical? We’re talking fairytale-like magical!
With just a few simple additions, you can make your backyard look like a wonderland.
So, let’s look at how you can improve your backyard Lighting, with four of the best outdoor lighting ideas we love to recommend!
In This Post:
How to Light Up Your Backyard: First Steps
Your backyard is the perfect place to get away from it all. However, if you feel like your backyard lacks a little magic, we’ve got you covered! “Fiat Lux,” as they say, and in our world that translates roughly to “get some great outdoor lighting as quickly and affordably as possible!”
But lighting can be tough. You don’t want to overdo it. You want to keep the budget reasonable. And, you have a lot of questions to answer: are solar lights any good? Do LED lights last a long time? Am I better off with string lights that plug into a wall socket, or sconces or outdoor lights that are wired into the wall? Do I use timers or manual switches? Do I want to use real fire in my lighting scheme with things like fire pits, torches, and candles? How much maintenance is this going to require and how much is it all going to cost me?
We’re going to shed a little light on this topic (couldn’t resist). We offer free design services to help our customers solve problems like these all the time. One of the first things we always recommend doing is jumping on Pinterest or Instagram and finding examples of outdoor accent lighting that you really like. Then, we take a look at your existing outdoor furniture, decor, and layout. Should you hang string lights? Will there be a pattern? Does your deck benefit more from sporadic lighting or regular lighting? Do you have a garden, and if so, how would lights there interact with the foliage? You may, for example, want to consider any shadows your foliage might cast.
It’s a lot of brainstorming. Backyard lighting ideas are fun to research though, so we definitely recommend you take a little time just exploring aesthetics that bring you joy. Then, when you’re ready, reach out to us for a professional opinion.
In the meantime though, these are our four favorite methods to easily create a backyard paradise with better outdoor lighting ideas:
Idea 1: Use Light Bulbs
If you want to make your backyard stand out, start with a few light bulbs for some primo accent lighting. I can’t think of any outdoor spaces that don’t benefit from some great outdoor light fixtures.
You can use these outdoor lights to highlight specific elements of your yard that you want to draw attention to, such as your garden or patio area. We recommend small spot lights for specific foci or garden features, and small deck lights attached to deck posts. These are best when solar-powered so you don’t have to worry about connecting them to a switch. Your main deck seating are will benefit tremendously from some wall-mounted backyard lighting like a sconce or two built directly into your home’s exterior wall. Chances are, of course, your home already has this, but consider the housing for your lights – metal frames give a rustic charm, while bubbled glass in cylindrical shapes can make for a cool modern aesthetic.
We also recommend installing either wired or free-standing path lighting along the edges of the patio, so they light up the walkable space of your backyard.
This is an especially great idea if you’re using them for general illumination: in this case, it’s best to put them near the center of the yard so they can be seen from anywhere in the space. Path lighting is another great way to add some whimsical outdoor lighting to your garden walkways or the front entrance to your home.
Another often-overlooked way to add lighting to your outdoor room is to add LED umbrella ring lights around your umbrella pole, or even to add LED strips to the ribs of your umbrella canopy! It’s a fun, charming little lighting element, and it’s one of our favorite outdoor lighting ideas.
Choose one or two spots that are important to you, such as your outdoor seating area or dining area, then start adding lights! But if your backyard lighting starts to feel a bit too same-y, then you can take the whimsy up a notch or two, with our next lighting ideas:
Idea 2: Add Some String Lights
String lights, or fairy lights, can easily add some extra pizzazz to your backyard.
They come in many styles and colors and they’re a great way to incorporate a little personality into your outdoor space.
String lights are light fixtures on a wire (think Christmas lights) that need to be plugged into a socket and hung on or wrapped around surfaces like fences, walls, pergolas, and railings. Fairy lights create a whimsical, fantastical look in your backyard, and can actually light up a space very effectively, though they can easily become “too much” without a little restraint.
You can choose from white or multi-colored lights, and we recommend LED lights if you want something more energy efficient and longer-lasting. You do not want to be changing out tons of tiny bulbs every season or two.
Solar-powered string lights are automatic and require little maintenance, and a tastefully-draped section of these lights will add allure to your backyard without the hassle of stringing up lights around every inch of the space.
You can add the lights around your patio, around the fence posts, or even on the trees and shrubs in your yard. If you’ve been reading this and thinking “… this just sounds like hanging Christmas lights all over my yard,” well, you’re mostly right, which is why we recommend using these types of lights tastefully and sparingly, while complementing them with things like normal garden lights above or something a bit more organic…
Idea 3: Grab Some Lanterns and Candles
Candles are romantic. Lanterns are rustic. Together, they’re quite a heavenly combination for a beautifully lit backyard, and some of our favorite outdoor lighting ideas!
Lanterns and Candles give off a warm, intimate glow that’ll set the mood for an evening with friends or loved ones. Unlike LED lights, these are more “natural” outdoor lighting features that will give your space a more cozy feel.
Lanterns are especially great because they provide ambient light as well as a fun atmosphere. And, they make exceptional path lights to help your visitors find their way more easily!
If you’re looking for something simpler in your landscape lighting, try tiki torches around your deck, or even tea lights on your outdoor dining table.
Plus, you can hang crystal or glass balls from trees or posts and then install lights in them if you want to add some extra shine! For that, we recommend LED lights rather than candles, but both work well enough.
Of course, there is more to backyard decor than just outdoor lighting. Try adding some decorations and patio accessories like seasonal decor, umbrellas, heat lamps, and plants for a warm and personal touch.
These few simple decorations can really make your backyard pop, and they aren’t expensive or complicated. Paired with the right backyard lighting ideas, and you will successfully transform your outdoor seating area into a true dreamscape!
Idea 4: Use a Fire Pit for Form and Function
Some of our favorite lighting ideas are multifunctional. If you’re already considering candles, why not consider a full fire table or fire pit? This doesn’t just provide extra natural illumination to your patio space, it also provides a wonderful place to sit down with loved ones and chat by a warm, roaring fire. We call that a win all around.
A fire pit provides warm light to an outdoor kitchen or a cozy gathering place in a garden; if you want even more versatility, a fire table combines a large dining table with a fire pit so you can dine while you enjoy an illuminated, cozy patio! It’s exterior lighting with extra uses! What’s not to love?
So there you have it – outdoor lighting is a great way to enhance your outdoor space and make it more inviting. It can also help you feel safer in your home by lighting up the area with path lights or lanterns. And the best part is, these four simple backyard lighting ideas are easy and inexpensive!
So go ahead—get started on creating the perfect outdoor lighting for your yard or patio!
At Patio Productions, we love helping our customer buy the best outdoor lighting fixtures for their home and garden. We offer free Design Services to give you even more backyard lighting ideas for your outdoor space. We have one of the web’s largest catalogs of string lighting, pathway lighting, solar pendant lights, and even more outdoor lighting ideas perfectly tailored to your home.