Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Backyard Lighting Design Ideas

Effective implementation of backyard lighting can achieve several goals: improving your home’s visual appeal, increasing its value, and enhancing its security.

Backyard Lighting Design Ideas

Why Use Outdoor Lights

There are four main reasons to use outdoor lights. The lighting you select will depend on which of these four reasons is your main priority.

  • Functionality – Outdoor lighting illuminates your yard well enough to make your yard, deck, and or patio easier to use at night. Better-lit outdoor space means more usable living space for your patio or deck.
  •  Safety – Use lights to illuminate specific areas of your yard, like pathways or steps. Hence, they are safer to use after the sun has set.
  •  Appearance – Using landscape lighting techniques can enhance the appearance of your yard at night. Landscape lighting provides a distinct aesthetic appeal that makes your home feel cozy.
  •  Security – Increased security is another essential reason to employ outdoor lighting. By brightening dark areas of the yard, especially entryways, you can help deter unwanted visitors.

You can benefit from all four functions by blending outdoor lighting styles, adding value to your home.

Before creating an effective design for your backyard, it is vital to know a little about the basic types of outdoor lighting options and how to use them effectively to achieve the look you want. In most cases, you will want to blend a couple of different outdoor lighting methods to get the desired effect while being mindful not to overlight any single area.

Outdoor Accent Lights

You will use accent lighting to highlight specific features in your yard. You might draw attention to structures like a statue or a gazebo. They highlight water structures like a fountain, waterfall, or Koi pond. They can also illuminate design features like a curved walkway leading to the front door, patio, deck, or garden or to light a driveway. You can also use them to create a cozy, more usable space on your patio or deck.

When using accent lights to highlight a specific feature, like a statue or a fountain, the lights should be brighter than other lights in the area to make the feature stand out. But always be careful not to overlight anything outside for aesthetic reasons and for consideration of your neighbors.

Garden Lights & Landscape Lights

Garden and landscape lighting can often refer to the same or similar things. Both garden and landscape lights showcase areas of your yard or specific plants and trees. You can use them for flower gardens, terraced landscaped areas, stone paths through your yard, or to highlight potted plants on your patio or deck.

Landscape Lighting

Good use of garden lights and landscape lighting techniques will provide additional light to make your yard more fun and easy to use during the nighttime hours after the sun has set. Garden and landscape lighting create a cozy place to spend evenings. Look through home magazines and pay attention to what friends and neighbors are doing with their yards for backyard lighting ideas.

Outdoor Security Lights

Security lighting helps protect areas of your yard that could look tempting to a potential intruder. Employ them near entryways like the front, patio, or garage doors. However, security lights can also be used in dark spaces in the yard with easy access to a window or a detached shed in the backyard.

Because security lights tend to be brighter than other landscaping lights, you may not want them on all night long; consider motion sensor lights if this is the case. 

Another option is to put them on a timer so they automatically turn on and off at certain times of the day. This way, they will turn on and off, making it look like you are home even if you aren’t. 

Good backyard lighting design can transform your yard into a beautiful and safe environment for you to admire and savor during the evening.

Finding Backyard Lighting Ideas

One of the best ways to get ideas is to understand the different types of available fixtures and lighting. There are a few ways to do this. You can look at home improvement or lighting stores in person and online to see what is available, look through home magazines or pictures online, or drive or walk through neighborhoods to see what backyard lighting designs other people have implemented.

If you have a large enough budget, you can work with a professional to create an overall design and install the fixtures using specific landscape lighting techniques. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, consider incorporating a few different styles of yard lights.

Entryway Lighting

Entryway Lighting

It is crucial to have good entryway lighting. Front entry lights make it easy for you to unlock and use your door, greet guests, and secure your home. But you also want light at any other entryways, including a side door, back door, or patio sliding glass door, for increased visibility and security.

Often, you will employ wall-mounted light fixtures or wall lanterns for this purpose, either as a single light or a fixture on either side of the door. If you have an overhang, use recessed lights or fixtures close to the ceiling. Depending on your landscaping and yard layout, you could use short post lights.

Outdoor Garage Lighting

Outdoor garage lights can make the garage safer to use at night while adding greater security. Outdoor garage lights often help illuminate the driveway and sometimes the pathway to the front door.

You typically want brighter lights for this area as they primarily function as task and security lighting. To help reduce electrical costs, consider installing motion sensor lights or LEDs here. To help illuminate a larger area, you should install them near the corner so they light the driveway and the side of the house; motion sensor lighting is excellent for this purpose.

Driveway Lighting and Pathway Lighting

Path Lighting

Suppose you don’t have or don’t like garage lighting. Consider driveway or pathway lighting to help illuminate the driveway and walkway to your front door. These yard lights are typically less bright but provide an attractive dimension to your yard.

Solar Driveway Lights

Driveway and pathway lights come in a few different styles. The most common style is low-level or short post lights that come as solar or low-voltage. Taller post lights, like bollard lights, also define areas like walkways and driveways. You can use paver lights, which are light fixtures installed in the brick or stone so they are flush with the surface. Whatever style you choose, I suggest you alternate the fixtures on either side so your walkway doesn’t look like an airport runway.

Stairway Lighting

Outdoor Step Lights 3d

Stairway lighting is a great way to increase visibility on outdoor steps at night. Steps are something that can be particularly dangerous in the dark. You’ll find a variety of attractive LED step lights, from white to color-changing. You can install LED lights on the vertical face of the step, low on the wall next to the stairs, or employ post lights to illuminate your stairs. Step lighting can also add an extra layer to your overall visual composition.

Patio Lighting & Deck Lighting

Patio Lighting 3d

Good use of backyard lights, including patio and deck lighting, can help make these areas more fun and easy to use at night, whether you’re looking to establish a romantic retreat or create a cozy place for gathering friends. Please exercise your creativity in these areas, as you’ll discover an incredible range of lighting products for you to use. Most often, you’ll see decorative string lights, rope lights, post cap lights, lanterns, short post lights, umbrella lights, or tiki torches, to name a few.

Please don’t feel overwhelmed with all the possibilities; let them inspire and motivate you. Stay focused and implement a lighting design that fulfills your needs and enhances your space.