5 Tips to Enliven Outdoor Spaces with the Right Lighting

Outdoor spaces are as important as indoor areas. It is important for you, as a designer, to take into consideration that your clients will probably be spending a good deal of after-office hours and weekends relaxing in their backyard. Lighting up the outdoors the right way can change the entire personality of the house as a whole, improving the landscape itself.

You cannot apply the same rule to all outdoor illumination. To create the right ambience, you need to choose the right type of lights and colours for each area; also placing each one at just the right point and the right angle.

Note how the deck comes alive with a line of lights, strategically placed, to give it a unique look.

Outdoor lighting idea

1. Draw Out a Budget

Before starting off, sit with your client, discuss exactly what they want and draw out a detailed budget for the same. Give them information about pricing, electricity consumption, costs and all other aspects related to their lighting needs.

2. Play Around With Different Lights

There are three basic types of lighting, namely, ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting is achieved by way of suspended lights, wall lights and post lights. Task lighting includes driveway, walkway and other lights. Accent lights comprise all types of landscape and spotlights, which bring smaller areas into sharp focus. Experiment with all these lights to create different effects around the space.

The backyard is transformed into a fairyland with the right kind of lighting.

94 outdoor spaces with the right lighting 2

3. Choose Fixtures Wisely

Measure each area to be lighted and decide in advance the fixtures you would like to place in each area. Take care to ensure that the lights should neither be too large nor too small for each area you plan to place it in. Also, use LEDs wherever possible. They consume far less energy than most other bulbs and, once installed, are practically maintenance-free. Visualize what kind of lights will look good as you look at the garden, backyard or poolside from a window inside your client’s home. This will give you a better idea about choosing the right type of lights.

The backyard is transformed into a fairyland with the right kind of lighting.

71 outdoor spaces with the right lighting 3

4. Use Soft Lighting in Poolside Areas

Make sure to use soft, subtle lighting in the poolside and other areas, which are meant for relaxation or entertaining guests. Suspended and dimmable lighting helps create that mellow, soothing ambience.

Outdoor pool light

5. Ensure Security

No matter how subtle or soft, outdoor lighting is mainly meant for security. Hence, ensure that all shadowy corners, dark spaces, walkways and entryways are well lit. Placing quaint hanging lanterns or wall fixtures in these areas not only add an exotic touch but also provide the much-needed illumination to that particular area.

Note how the walkway in the image above is lighted up to give that unique touch, plus ensure safety.

Backyard Pathway Lighting Ideas

Additional Tips

  • Choose a starting point for a circuit and ensure that you do not overload it with too many lights. Keep it to a maximum of 100 watts on each line.
  • Try placing little string lights on trees and shrubs and in the porch to enliven those areas, long after sundown.
  • Use underwater lights for pools and ponds. You can also place lighted fountains here and there for additional effect.
  • Lastly and most importantly, ensure that the outdoor lighting you choose is tough enough to endure all types of weather and wind conditions.

Underwater lighting adds a dreamy touch to the pool area.

Underwater pool light for night view


Landscape lighting always helps add that extra touch of class to any home. Provided that you make the right choice of lamps and lights, you can enliven just about any external area well after dusk creeps in!

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