Looking for landscape lighting ideas and other outdoor lighting design tips for your next backyard makeover? No matter the size or budget of your outdoor living space, consider these 16 backyard lighting ideas.
Layer Your Backyard Lighting Design
Part of creating your dream backyard is layering your outdoor lighting to achieve the perfect aesthetic for any occasion. Try using at least two of the main types of backyard lighting: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is your everyday lighting for an even glow throughout your backyard. Task lighting gives you extra brightness in high-traffic areas like walking paths or an outdoor kitchen, while accent lighting like candles helps to set the vibe. Get creative and vary your layering techniques for a stunning, practical backyard lighting design.
Stay Safe with Path Lighting
Navigating your steps and paths at night can be difficult, so keep your outdoor path lighting well-lit! Use path lighting along walkways, in your garden, on lantern posts, and more. Along with safety, path lighting is a fantastic way to get someone to pay attention to a feature in your backyard. You could also use glow-in-the-dark paint on rocks to create magical backyard lighting!
Light the Way with Recessed Lighting
Want a subtle lighting effect in your backyard? Look no further than recessed lights! A popular type of recessed lighting for backyards is in-ground lighting, which can be mounted to paved areas like patios, decks, or gravel pathways. This functional, low-intensity task lighting highlights trees, plants, building walls, and other backyard structures. Outdoor in-ground lighting is versatile enough to be used for path lighting, garden lighting, stair lighting, and more. Plus, this type of fixture is more permanent and safer than an exposed light, so you can use it for years to come!
Stick with Strip Lights
For a quick backyard lighting solution, you can easily install strip lights to outdoor fixtures and surfaces. This outdoor lighting idea is best for homes with outdoor outlets since strip lights need to be plugged in. Climb your stairs safely at night with weatherproof LED strip lights underneath the steps. Make your luxury pool or hot tub the perfect spot to hang out even after the sun sets with waterproof LED lights.
Brighten Your Fence
Fence lighting is a great way to define the boundaries of your backyard and create a sense of security in your outdoor space. Install your backyard lighting choice evenly across by attaching them to the fence post. Hang up string lights to create a swooping pattern perfect for any party! Use uplights to make your fence glow, and add accent lighting in nearby landscaping. Or for a renter-friendly backyard lighting idea, place decorative lights along the base of your fence.
Illuminate Your Backyard Pergola
Get the most out of your pergola by stringing lights through the structure so you can continue to relax outside when the sun goes down. Pergola lighting can fit in with any design type in your outdoor living room, and the mood is entirely customizable by you. Lighted pergolas don’t have to be reserved for wedding or special occasions—with some simple lighting techniques, you can create a romantic and warm atmosphere every night.
Hang Chandeliers & Pendant Lights
Do you need a way to light up your outdoor area? Chandeliers and pendant lights are great statement lighting fixtures that can provide the perfect amount of light for any time of day. With so many material and color options to choose from, these outdoor lighting ideas are great focal points and can perfectly match your home style. There are many light fixtures you can purchase ready-to-hang, or, if you want to go an extra mile, you can DIY one, as well. By swapping out old outdoor lighting fixtures for pendant lights, you can make your space feel new without the high price tag.
Dazzle with String Lights
Whether you’re hosting summer gatherings, backyard weddings, or romantic dates on your deck, patio string lights are the perfect backyard lighting solution. They come in a variety of colors, are often battery-powered, easy to install, and have excellent timed light functions to help you achieve your ideal backyard lighting. Create a festive mood year-round with popular string light variations like fairy lights and Christmas lights. Wrap Edison bulbs around your pergola, trees, doorways, or windows for a trendy backyard lighting idea. Or drape canopy lighting over your backyard party space to give your space an enchanted look!
Use Outdoor Wall Sconces
Wall sconces are one of the most versatile kinds of task lighting you can incorporate into your backyard design. This outdoor lighting solution comes in a variety of styles—ceramic sconces to match old-style brick homes, steel wall sconces for more modern exteriors, and more. Since this backyard lighting fixture is hard-wired into your home, wall sconces are a more permanent lighting solution that provides a soft background glow near doorways. But depending on their shape, they can provide more illumination where needed.
Try Weatherproof Lanterns
If you want an easily customizable outdoor lighting solution, consider using lanterns! To fit seamlessly with your home decor, this backyard light comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials like glass, paper, steel, ceramic, and more. Lanterns are often a soft light source, but grouping lanterns together can increase their vibrancy. Want a romantic vibe for a backyard date? Place a couple of lanterns on your patio table for a dinner under the stars. String lanterns along the edges of your yard for a backyard party. Put an LED candle inside a paper lantern for some temporary decor. Or use a steel lantern on your table or bolted to a wall for a more permanent backyard lighting option.
Bring Out the Spotlights
Spotlights are one of the best landscape lighting methods to incorporate into your next garden makeover. Whether you’re showing off large sculptures or making plants your focal point, spotlights are great modern landscape ideas that add value to your home. Stay classic and use backyard spotlights for outdoor tree lighting. Show off backyard water features and fencelines with uplights. Or let your backyard sculpture or art stand out at all times of the day with subtle backyard spotlights.
Utilize Solar-Powered Lights
Looking for creative outdoor lighting ideas for your eco-friendly backyard? Decorate your space with solar lights! Outdoor solar lights are easy to install and have every option imaginable—from lanterns to fairy lights—so your backyard lighting design can be both green and beautiful! Place solar-powered lights anywhere with a good amount of sun—on the ground, posts, walls, stairs, fences, or in a garden. This outdoor lighting idea is great for yards without electrical outlets since solar-powered lights can be used anywhere in your outdoor space without being plugged in!
Repurpose Mason Jars
Get even more creative with your backyard lighting ideas by taking on a DIY mason jar project! Mason jars are inexpensive and can be used for whatever lighting you like. Try mason jar lanterns to light a romantic scene. Get crafty and install mason jar citronella torches around your yard. Mason jars can also be used in lighting fixtures like chandeliers or to hold fairy lights, candles, and more. Customize your mason jar lights even more by covering them with a thin layer of paint to control what color the light is giving off. This backyard lighting idea’s flexibility allows you to customize the jars for any occasion!
Get Smart with Smart Lighting Fixtures
Repurposed jars and solar-powered lights aren’t the only eco-friendly lighting idea for your backyard! Smart bulbs are better for the environment because they use less energy, last longer, and are made with safer materials than other outdoor lighting fixtures. Integrate your smart bulbs and smart lighting fixtures with voice assistants. Or, control the brightness and colors from a phone app to create distinct moods for any outdoor event. You can even put your outdoor lighting system on a timer if you often forget to turn them off.
Burn Outdoor Candles
Candles are a classic type of lighting that can be placed in fixtures like lanterns, chandeliers, mason jars, and more. Provide the soft glow of a burning candle with kid-friendly LED candles. Keep the bugs away with citronella candles. Or use citronella torches in an open yard! Citronella torches provide a source of warmth and low-intensity light—great for entertaining guests on cooler nights.
Warm Up with a Backyard Fire Pit
Fire pits are an all-in-one package—they can warm you up, all while providing beautiful backyard lighting with a classic camping feel! Fire pits are often permanent fixtures run off a gas line, though a renter-friendly idea is using a hidden propane tank instead. Create your fire pit using materials that can withstand high temperatures—like masonry blocks, poured concrete, bricks, steel, and more. When placing your fire pit, stay away from flammable materials like your house or plants, and keep this backyard lighting option placed on a flat, even surface.
Need to store your backyard furniture or lawn lighting in the off-season or while you complete your backyard makeover? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities across the nation. Find a storage unit near you!
Tahira Nagori is a designer, DIYer, entrepreneur, and mom. She has worked in the fields of architecture and urban planning for about ten years, which sparked her interest in home design and organization. As part of her “The Aesthetic Side of Homes” brand and House of Sosa product line, Tahira shares tips and tricks for home decor ideas and DIY projects.
View Design ideas by Tahira here.