Top 5 Outdoor Lighting Ideas for This Summer
Outdoor lighting is a crucial addition to any home and there’s no better time to illuminate the backyard than summer.
There are practical reasons for installing outdoor lighting, of course, including security and safety (in particular, outdoor motion sensor lighting). But there’s also the joy of outdoor entertaining, from alfresco dining and pool parties to the traditional Aussie barbecue.
All of these activities can take place during daylight hours but there’s nothing more pleasurable than keeping the party going into the evening, or perhaps starting festivities at twilight. Those long summer nights are conducive to family and friends getting together, and outdoor lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood.
When you are planning your outdoor lighting, keep in mind your main goals. Are you illuminating the area to highlight your garden and other landscape features? Or is your primary aim to show off the outside of your home? Perhaps the main function is to light up the outdoors for the sake of safety.
Here are five outdoor lighting ideas for when the sun goes down. Just remember that when you are changing or adding to your electrical system, it’s best to consult a professional electrical contractor for advice and technical work.
1. Outdoor Lighting for Dining
An outdoor dining experience with family and friends needs just the right ambience. While it might be informal with an emphasis on talk and laughter, the right lighting will set the tone for a relaxed evening.
Portable lights such as decorative lamps and lanterns are ideal for this setting, and can easily be moved to suit the number of guests at the table. Candles on the dining table will also add to the atmosphere.
If you’re under trees or a pergola, try hanging LED string lights or festoon lights both for atmosphere and to bring extra light to your dining table. Make sure you use waterproof LED string lights for extra safety.
2. Deck Lighting
If you’ve got a deck, it needs to be lit up at night for the sake of safety. This can be particularly useful for guests who don’t know the layout of your yard well. Outdoor lighting on a deck needs to factor in any steps, different levels, rails and the pathway to the deck.
Outline the edge of the deck as well as any steps and levels with in-ground LED lighting and recessed tread lights. Use sconces on walls to light up the general area. If you’ve got rails for extra support, illuminate them with LED under-rail lights.
3. Pathway Lights
Pathway lights are essential for safety but they also play another role. While it’s relaxing to know your guests can navigate the path safely, lighting can also show off your garden, various outdoor features and the pathway itself.
This lighting should be ground level (or at least low level). You can use edge-lighting along the borders of your pathway, complemented by strategically placed lanterns or lamps. Ground level lighting embedded in the pathway will remove the clutter of electrical cords.
Use accent lighting for any archways or other garden features such as bench seats and planter boxes. This can be done with in-ground lights, uplights and downlights.
4. Pool Lighting
If you’ve got an in-ground pool, this is a crucial area to light up. Obviously the main element is safety. It’s vital to make sure pathways, steps and the outline of the pool are well lit, primarily with recessed lighting and ground lights.
But you can create any mood you like with underwater LED lighting, particularly with the use of different coloured lights. See a specialist in LED pool lighting for advice and technical help, because it’s always wise to use an expert when combining water and electricity.
If nearby trees, shrubs and planters are up-lit by spotlights, there’s no better ambience for an evening swim during the warmth of summer.
5. Courtyard Lighting
If you’ve got an open courtyard setting, why not add to the starry night by draping string lights or festoon lights from tree branches or other nearby structures?
For extra light, try lanterns, sconces or uplights on exterior walls of your home, along with portable lamps. LED uplights at the base of trees or shrubs adds atmosphere while highlighting features of your garden.
No Limits to Outdoor Lighting
Ideas for outdoor lighting are certainly not limited to the above examples. You could add to the atmosphere of your alfresco entertaining space with fire pits (using LED candles to avoid the hassle of wood fires, if you like), luminescent planter boxes, hardscape lighting (bench seats, garden posts, retaining walls), feature garden lighting and much more.
While it’s enjoyable bringing your outdoor entertaining area to life, don’t forget that much of this work will require the help of an experienced electrician to ensure the safety of you and your family.