Top 10 Landscape Lighting Ideas to Maximize Your Outdoor Living Space
Maximizing your living space is about more than renovating your basement. Have you looked outside for other possibilities? If you have a backyard, deck or patio space, you can extend your living space outside and create an inviting oasis you can even enjoy after the sun goes down with unique-to-you outdoor landscape lighting.
Our Nite Time Decor experts have put together our top 10 list of landscape lighting ideas that work well in any backyard and patio.
Illuminate Pools and Water Features
To create a true backyard oasis, your landscape lighting design should illuminate more than just your porch and dining area. If you have a unique feature in your backyard, such as a pool, hot tub or water feature, make sure it gets the attention it deserves – even after dark.
A pool or water feature gives you the opportunity to get creative with your landscape lighting design. Instead of simply casting light on the water, work with different lighting techniques to create ambiance and depth. For example, a lighting design for a pool might use up-lighting on surrounding trees to cast a cool mood-setting reflection on the surface of the water.
To learn more about how to light up pools, ponds and other outdoor water features, read “Outdoor Water Feature Lighting Ideas: Pools, Hot Tubs And Ponds” article.
Illuminate Plants and Gardens
You work hard to create and maintain the beautiful gardens and landscaping around your home, so why let these great aesthetic features go unnoticed after dark? With a landscape lighting design that illuminates your trees, gardens and shrubs you can add a sense of depth and ambience to your outdoor space.
If your garden deserves to be lit up at night with beautiful natural looking outdoor lighting effects, read this article “Creating Natural Outdoor Lighting Effects For Your Gardens” to learn about some additional landscape lighting ideas including lighting types and techniques.
Light up Trees
If you don’t have a pool or a unique water feature in your backyard, chances are you have a tree, or a number of trees, that add character to your outdoor space. Tree lighting is a great way to give your backyard oasis the wow-factor you’ve been searching for.
When it comes to illuminating trees in your outdoor space, there are a number of different techniques that will create their own unique lighting effects. If integrating trees into your landscape lighting design is an option for you, consider techniques such as up-lighting, down-lighting or overall lighting.
Highlight Decks and Stairs
Illuminating hardscape features such as decks and stairs can go a long way in creating warm ambient light effects while also improving the safety of your outdoor space. Installing landscaping lighting on your steps, posts and rails will help distinguish changes in elevation while adding depth to your backyard oasis. Better yet, if your porch, patio or stairs are made of stone, integrating light fixtures will cast a warm light and emphasize the unique texture of the stone.
Light Up Pathways
Pathway lights are great for general safety and way finding. When it comes to designing effective and aesthetically pleasing pathway lights, don’t place them too close together as this will create a runway effect. At Nite Time Décor, we recommend lining the lights along garden pathways at regular well-spaced intervals to improve visibility. Our area lights work beautifully for this technique. Also, when it comes to brightness, less is more. Be subtle and avoid blinding your patrons.
Outdoor Kitchen Lighting
With the recent heatwaves we’ve been experiencing in Ontario, it is becoming more and more convenient to have an outdoor space for food preparation. Outdoor kitchens can be as simple as a bar-b-que or as elaborate as a brick oven or full kitchen set up with running water. You could almost include outdoor bars in with these as the lighting needs would be similar.
Most homeowners have a grill as a minimum and these range from a small, simple propane or charcoal grill to expansive, multi burner grills with side burners and outdoor counter space. Proper outdoor lighting when it’s time to cook is essential, and as the days get shorter, this will be even more important.
Overhead Grill Lighting
Outdoor lighting brings you more than just aesthetic value, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to illuminating your outdoor cooking area. Placing a light above your outdoor grill is the best place to start.
Weather your firing up the BBQ or flipping your food to perfection, you need to be able to see what you are doing. Illuminating your outdoor cooking area will not only help you keep an eye on your food, but it will also help you see any safety concerns that are present while cooking – helping to keep you safe and free from injury. An overhead task light is the best way to get enough light to cook properly on your grill.
Your overhead (or task) lighting should be fairly bright with a true white light in order to see what you are cooking accurately. It’s also helpful to have this light on a separate control or a dimmer so that when the cooking is done you can have the right ambiance for a truly enjoyable dining experience.
Dining Area Lighting
While increasing visibility around your outdoor cooking area is very important, so too is illuminating your outdoor dining area. Nothing’s worse than sitting down for a beautiful dinner on the patio, only to realize halfway through the meal that the sun has gone down and you can no longer see the plate in front of you. Illuminating your outdoor dining area with task lighting will let you enjoy those fun family dinners long into the evening.
The lighting needs for an outdoor table are much different than the task lighting for food preparation. An outdoor dining area should be lit well enough to encourage conversation, but not so bright that it’s uncomfortable. Finding that right balance can be tricky and vary for different groups. We often install dimmers to make the lighting options more versatile and adjustable.
One common solution for the dining area is an outdoor ceiling fan with speed controls and lights with dimmers. The fan can help to keep those unwanted pesky mosquitoes and flies away.
You could also consider getting tabletop lamps that are rated for outdoor use, or overhead pendant or chandelier lighting. When choosing the right task lighting design for your outdoor dining space, it will largely depend on the desired ambiance of your space and how much you are looking to spend.
Additional landscape lighting ideas include:
Accent lighting can help to create the right ambiance in the dining area. Some ideas include under-counter lights. Some LED tape lights just under the edge of a counter can be a very appealing effect. String lights can also be used as accent or general lighting for that outdoor bistro feel. Wall sconces can also be added to highlight attractive outdoor architecture and add to the overall lighting plan.
An outdoor cooking and dining space is wonderful this time of year. Not only do you get to enjoy this fabulous warm weather, but you can keep your house cool by cooking outside. Proper lighting for this outdoor space will make it attractive and welcoming for your guests as well as making food preparation more enjoyable and easier.
Outdoor pendant lights have been popular and continue to remain so with many low-cost options now available across a variety of retailers. Be sure the light is rated to be outdoors and water proof. Pendant lights are great for sitting areas, a dining table, or outdoor kitchen area. Choose a fixture that provides soft warm light or a brighter task lighting depending on your placement.
Pendant lights are also great a focal point for your outdoor space. Don’t be afraid to be creative and try something new to really bring your outdoor space to life.
Outdoor fireplaces are another fixture that’s popular in outdoor living spaces. These can be simple and utilitarian or elaborate and high end. You can cook by them or simply lay back and relax by the natural light of a contained fire. These are available in a variety of shapes and colours and utilize wood, gas, and other fuels.
Fire Pits and Bowls
If a full-fledged outdoor fireplace won’t fit your space for whatever reason, there are a nice range of fire pits and bowls available as well. The added benefit to these fixtures is that they’re often easily relocated to a less conspicuous location during the daylight hours.
This is a great way to have a fire when you want it and have the container be very stylish and match the rest of your outdoor décor—but not be in the way or obtrusive when not in use.
Enhance What’s Unique About Your Space
Many outdoor spaces lack walls and can sometimes be challenging to create an eye-catching focal point. Do you have overhead beams, posts or pillars, something unique or interesting in your outdoor space? Do you have a wall with an interesting texture that would make great use of shadow and light? These might all be a great starting place to place some lights to highlight what’s already there.
Contact a Professional
When it comes to your landscape lighting ideas, design and installation, a lot is on the line. Whether you want to create more outdoor usable living space in your backyard, create the perfect ambiance for entertaining, or increase your safety and security, proper landscape lighting design can accomplish all of these things at the same time.
Our lighting design experts at Nite Time Décor can work with you to design beautiful natural lighting effects and professionally install them around your home to ensure your vision becomes a reality. We invite you to view our gallery to see our one-of-a kind designs.