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Masters at home series: outdoor lighting ideas

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Every outdoor area needs proper outdoor lighting. Whether it’s to illuminate your yard, landscape or your patio, having light sources is crucial for your property. The reasons and benefits go far beyond the aesthetic element of it, as lights also provide extra safety and security to the outdoor areas.

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In addition to reducing the risk of accidents in your home and keeping intruders away, adequate light will mean your time with friends will be more engaging (as you’ll actually be able to see each other’s faces), you’ll be able to showcase your beautiful landscape (as well as enjoy it yourself) and also add value to your property. So what are you waiting for?

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How to position outdoor lighting

Artificial light is different from natural light, and this will influence on where you position your lighting. The colour, the type of light, the intensity and the purpose will also play a part in where and how you want to place the artificial light.

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There are three different types of light functions: overall lights, task lights and accent lights. Overall light sources illuminate the whole space, task lights illuminate practical parts of the space, like a pathway or staircase and accent lights illuminate a specific feature, like a plant or decoration. Every outdoor area should have a mix of these types of lights in order to be secure and well-presented.

There are several options when it comes to positioning these lights, according to the purpose you want them to serve:

  • Deck or patio: In order to enjoy a dinner or a fun evening on the outdoor patio, it has to be well-lit. Depending on how big the space is, a couple of overall lights will suffice.
  • Entries and steps: Entries and steps should always be illuminated with task lights in order to avoid accidents and for convenience, as it’ll make them easier to find.
  • Architectural, design and landscaping features: For your outdoor area to look its best, accent and task lights are important. Swimming pools, a certain tree or bush, an outdoor painting or vase, a statue, gazebo, pergola or even water fountains are examples of great features that can and should be illuminated.

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Pergola lighting

Pergolas are great additions to your home. One of the main benefits of having one is that you can enjoy the comfort and cosiness of the outdoors with an indoor aesthetic - in which case, you’ll also need to install good overall lights at night. Other types of lights can also be installed, however this will depend on personal preferences, as the lights you choose will greatly impact the ambiance of your pergola.

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Installing overall lights is a must, as you need to illuminate the general area, especially where the table is while people are eating. These can be hanging bulbs, tall lamps, fairy lights attached to the pergola beams or ceiling beams, etc. We recommend going to yellow-coloured bulbs rather than white ones - it’ll give a warmer feel. Remember, you can always have fun when illuminating a pergola, and even choose coloured bulbs, like a red or a green for an edgier, fun feel.

Flood lights

Flood lights are extremely useful in any outdoor setting. They not only act as a safety and security measure against unwanted visitors (including wildlife), but they can also be quite handy when arriving home at night when everything is dark. Because of this, it’s best to position them on a corner of the house near the roof, pointing downwards.

You’ll need a minimum of two lights for them to be effective, one right above the garage door plus an extra one above the main entrance. If you have a pathway connecting the front of the house with the back yard, consider installing a third one.

When it comes to choosing a type of flood light, go with LEDs. These lights are superior in terms of efficiency and durability compared to other types of lighting. To install,  call an electrician or simply follow the same rules as you would when installing any new lighting project.

Hanging lights

Hanging outdoor lights, such as fairy lights, will add a warm and inviting touch to any patio or backyard. There are so many ways you can incorporate them to your space - you just need to get creative! The best part is that these lights are easy to get (you’ll find them in most hardware stores), they are inexpensive and versatile. Not to mention, you can even get battery-operated ones, perfect if you don’t have a power point close to where you’d like to place them.

You can either hang them from the ceiling (if your ceiling has beams this process will be easier), all you need to do is put a little nail on a corner or pole, one on an opposite side, and join them together. Otherwise, you can also wrap them around trees, hang them against a wall so they act as a lit backdrop, over the pool and even mixed in between small bushes, for a truly glowing garden.

Candles and lanterns

How about outdoor candles for a truly romantic vibe? While candles are more suitable for a special occasion rather than for everyday lighting, they’ll surely add an intimate personality to your patio or backyard. They look amazing as table centrepieces, especially if you place them inside a wine glass, and then put a cover on top, simulating a lamp. Another idea is to place them inside jars or old tins and hang them from either the balustrade or from a nail on a wall.

If you’re unsure about wax candles, you can always try solar or battery-operated one, which look almost like the real deal (even the flame) and you don’t have to worry about the wax melting or the flame going out. Not to mention they look amazing hanging from strings off a tree branch!

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How to make your outdoor lighting energy efficient

Efficiency and sustainability is crucial when it comes to lighting and electricity. One of the best things you can do to keep your bills in check while caring about the environment is to go solar. Solar lights convert solar light into electricity, and they are easy to install, durable and almost maintenance-free.

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Solar lights come in variety of types and styles, to suit any patio or landscape requirement. You can get wall-mounted lamps, free standing lamp posts, security lights (such as flood lamps with sensors or even timers, to save more energy) and even accent lights for the garden. Before you buy them though, check their efficiency and how long they can store power for - to make sure it fits your lighting needs, as some solar mechanisms won’t have enough power to be lit all night or during bad weather.

Together with your outdoor lighting, make sure your external paving is suited for the outdoors. Our range features a great variety of outdoor pavers and tiles sourced and selected specifically for this purpose. View our product range to learn how we can bring the aesthetic of your outdoor area to life.

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