We Aussies love being outdoors, and that includes spending time in the garden or at the patio. But as much as we like sunny days, our outdoor space should be just as perfect at night. Be it for safety, ambience or curb appeal, lighting for outdoors is essential. And with so many types of outdoor lights available, we should know what they are for and where to install them. These ideas and tips should make your alfresco haven look well-lit and extra inviting!
1. Globe String Lights for Open Spaces
Also called festoon lights, outdoor string lights are the mood makers of your garden get-togethers. Having a few strands overhead gives you an instant canopy with a starry sky effect. They are easy to install and inexpensive, too, making them perfect for budget-friendly garden decorating. The best part is, they don’t have to be permanent. You can string them up in time for your outdoor parties then stash them when they are over.
- Use: Pergolas, fences, porches and tree branches
- Tip: Look for waterproof and solar-powered ones to avoid electrical issues.
- Alternative: If you want fixed lighting fixtures for your dedicated outdoor dining area, I recommend pendant lights. A fire pit is another option for creating your after-party spot.
2. Lawn Lamps or Lanterns for Pathways
If you prefer multipurpose outdoor lighting ideas, then lanterns are just what you need. These unobtrusive lighting options add aesthetics and an alluring effect on your outdoor space. They’re ideal for lighting up paths to help first-time house guests find their way. I especially like how this outdoor lighting option comes in a wide range of styles, from LED lights to solar-powered ones. It makes it easier to match the lantern with your theme and create the atmosphere you prefer.
- Use: Driveways, entryways, garden paths, stairs and patio table
- Tip: Solar stake lights are energy-efficient. But for less clutter, use embedded ground lights.
- Alternative: If you want the same light effect without worrying about decorative lanterns tipping over, you can opt for hanging orbs or spheres.
3. LED Strips for Stairways
To add a safety feature on your garden steps or deck stairs, you can install LED strips underneath each landing. Their warm glow also gives a modern feel to your space. LED strips are one of the most popular outdoor lighting options around because of their versatility. You can cut them to size or use them as outdoor lighting for parties. They are also perfect for indoor use. So, if you’re planning a kitchen makeover on the side, these strips are best for under-cabinet lighting.
- Use: Stairs, pathways, flower beds and balconies
- Tip: Check the lumen spec for brightness levels. You can also get colour-changing ones with a dimmer.
- Alternative: Waterproof rope lights stay in place better than taped LED strips. Motion sensor lights or solar step lights are also great options.
4. Uplights and Downlights for Walls
These accent lights are best in highlighting your beautiful garden and landscaping designs. They add the cosy and dramatic appeal to your outdoor space while softening hardscape features like exterior walls, deck posts and pillars. Their ability to cast light and shadow adds interest to bare spots. Like any other lighting for outdoors, uplights and downlights come in a wide range of designs. The most popular one would have to be the adjustable spotlights that you can aim at tall trees or short shrubs.
- Use: Stacked walls, planter beds, handrails, bench seating and water features
- Tip: For contemporary homes, steel cylinder wall lamps emit light both on top and at the bottom.
- Alternative: For your pool area, recessed lighting is the safest choice without affecting the ambience. Underwater lighting is also available. To achieve a festive look, you can tie strings of fairy lights on tree branches, too.
5. Illuminated Planters for Plants
Who needs a plain terracotta pot when you can get a lighted planter? With its dual functionality, this smart lighting for outdoors is also cost-efficient. It’s waterproof and weather-resistant, too. Depending on its power source, you can use it indoors if you want. Lighted planters usually come with a powdery white exterior that gives off an ethereal glow. But, if you prefer quirky garden décor, colour-changing LED pots will surely add an interesting touch.
- Use: Flowering plants, topiaries and hedges
- Tip: Choose solar or battery-powered ones so you can place your lighted planters anywhere.
- Alternative: If you’re not into planting, how about lighted furniture instead? They are just as multipurpose and excellent for outdoor entertaining.