11 outdoor lighting ideas to up the ambience - Lifestyle AU
11 outdoor lighting ideas to up the ambience

11 outdoor lighting ideas to up the ambience

Outdoor lighting is essential for safety and can help create a more cosy and inviting atmosphere around your deck and garden. To do so effectively takes careful consideration and guidance as the wrong option in the wrong place can do the exact opposite. Taking inspiration from a few tried and tested outdoor lighting ideas will put you on the right path to success.

Words by Yohei Guy

Illuminating your outdoor space properly allows you to enjoy your property to its fullest, day and night. It creates areas that can be used in a functional way while also stylising the space in an aesthetically pleasing way. Light is a delicate element to manipulate, however, especially so at night, so being sure about your lighting options is crucial to getting it right.

Twiggy Spike NL1604 from Lucian Architectural Lighting

1. Illuminating steps and pathways

If your outdoor garden or patio has steps and pathways, it's good to light them up for obvious reasons. It ensures people don't trip and sustain injuries when using the stairs when natural lighting is poor.

Path light gives guidance towards walkways so people can walk comfortably in and around the garden. It offers security to your property, eliminating dark spots that might otherwise exist.

You can use bollard lights, many of which are solar powered and tuck them in the grass or flower beds to light your pathways. You can also use lighting fixtures like spotlights that direct light to the feet and not the eyes. Lanterns and floor-standing lamps are also another option along walkways.

Related article - Everything you need to know about bollard lights

2. Hanging overhead pendant lights

Having pendants lights in your backyard helps enhance your outdoor dining experience in the evenings. Apart from lighting your space, they serve as a design element improving its aesthetic appeal.

As they spread light to your patio's roofing, it's reflected, illuminating the entire space. This helps highlight the decor and unique features of the space, making it appear more beautiful. Also, it shows the corners and edges of the garden creating visual depth in the space.

When buying your overhead pendant lights, choose those that suit your space. They vary in size, shape, colour, design and material but almost all will draw attention to themselves so the choice has to be appropriate and one you’re happy with.

Cloud Pendant Light from David Trubridge

3. Bring in a freestanding lamp

Freestanding lamps, at their best, have unparalleled beauty with the ability to complement your existing decor, theme and style. They supplement other lights, soften the harsh ones and balance the brightness in your outdoor area. They're ideal for task lighting so you can relax and unwind while laying back, reading an intriguing book or enjoying a glass of wine.

They're cost-effective and easy to install. All you need is to identify a perfect place for keeping them and an electrical socket for the power supply. They're available in many styles and designs, so you can pick the one that gives your space a sleek and stylish look.

If you want your garden to have a gentle glow and less lighting, you can use your freestanding lamp alone. But if you want it to be more impactful, combine it with other outdoor lighting options. They often work well against a string of festoon lights or glass lanterns with candles inside.

4. Install outdoor wall lighting

Wall lighting is especially important for areas of your backyard that aren’t close to your house or patio area. Lighting casts out from those areas to some extent but wall lights can fill in the rest while also creating a visual boundary and outline.

You can also use wall lights for aesthetic reasons as the fixtures themselves can be quite stylish. This will only enhance your property’s overall appearance and value.

Beamy Wall Light from LightCo

5. Combine a mix of light sources

As already mentioned, you don’t have to stick to any one type of light when it comes to your design plan but can mix and combine multiple options to create a layered look with depth. This can involve using string lights, in-stair and in-floor lights, pendant lights, candles, festoon lights etc.

Another thing this does is it gives you back-up options should a particular source not be appropriate or effective, for instance, solar powered lights on overcast days.

Mixing light sources can help achieve a beautiful ambience for an outdoor event or garden party. The different focal points, depth and texture will act as a treat to the eyes.

6. Add twinkling festoons

Twinkling festoons can be a mesmerising and magical addition. They can add that element of wonder for guests and visitors and are also extremely cost-effective.

Your twinkling festoons will add a special atmosphere and with comfy furniture, you can sit back and relax in their gentle glow and warmth.

Related article - 7 garden lights that are simply magical

Festoon custom lighting from About Space

7. Soft solar lighting with style

Soft solar lighting is a sustainable way of achieving an enchanting vibe. They softly illuminate the space producing a subtle glow during the day and night. Apart from creating a warm ambient glow, soft solar lights improve your space's aesthetic appeal.

There is now quite a range of styles to choose from which is particularly exciting. You can place a few colourful blown glasses on the stakes in your backyard or use solar mason jar lights which look fantastic.

8. Create a subtle glow with uplights

If you don't want anything too dramatic, subtle uplights are a perfect option. They gently light the background keeping the foreground free of distraction.

Uplights are also great at providing accents and highlights to potted trees, flower beds, and furniture. This provides an extra bit of definition to such items when night falls.

They are typically quite muted in design but not always so giving you a chance to consider fixtures that bring their own sense of style and personality.

Naboo Outdoor Light by Flos from Euroluce

9. Get fire pits

Fire pits are a perfect choice for creating multi-season patios. They both illuminate and warm a space making it feel comfy even during the cold nights.

They also bring people together as a focal point to gather, relax and unwind in your yard. They can also be quite mesmerising in their own right as one sits watching the logs slowly burn.

10. Light up with lanterns

Lanterns are a timeless source of light with a tremendous history dating back centuries. They evolved somewhat since then, now available in different shapes and colours, giving you the opportunity to add a bit of dynamism and vibrancy to your outdoor entertaining areas.

The important thing when using lanterns is to judge how many you’ll need. This will depend on a number of factors like the size of your garden, the strength of the bulbs/candles and the type of impact you want them to have. Give yourself the opportunity to trial with a few first as you can always add more later. When done well, they create an amazing ambience for an evening party.

Lighthouse Lantern from WGU Design

11. Use solar orbs

Solar orbs are not just a light source but an ornament in themselves with an undeniable luminous magical quality. They are in some ways both a bold and subtle choice as they’ll draw the eye while complementing the area around it.

One of the more modern forms of garden lighting, they are a great way to freshen a space up quickly and easily.

Some inspirational outdoor lighting ideas

As you can see, there are some fantastic outdoor lighting ideas to consider and try around your patio, deck, outdoor dining area and garden. By utilising just a few of these suggestions, you’ll be able to elevate your outdoor spaces in terms of style and functionality, enjoying them with friends and family alike.

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