Lighten Up: Outdoor lighting ideas to enhance your backyard

During the day, the sun highlights all the facets of nature and architecture around us. At night, the moon offers a stunning glow, but it’s just not enough—especially when you’re hosting a backyard get-together. But with the right lighting, your backyard can become an illuminated place of respite (or celebration) during those long warm summer evenings.
Without outdoor lighting in the backyard at night, it is easy to forget that an extra space exists. But just because the sun has gone down, it doesn’t mean that the flowers, shrubs, trees, deck, water features—any of the things that you’re proud of in your yard—shouldn’t get a bit of time in the spotlight. When placed properly, outdoor lighting enhances those little details and features you are so proud of in your outdoor space. They also help with safety and security too.

Solar lights are the easiest, wire-free way to decorate outside. The only hard part is selecting a style you like. Just place some in the desired sunny spot to charge during the day and they’ll automatically turn on at dusk, no handyman or electrician required!

Another attractive DIY way to brighten up the backyard is with a string of LED lights. LED bulbs can run for about 50,000 hours. Use them to add some twinkle to railings, trees, shrubs, or the patio umbrella. String lights can be used in lieu of candles: place a rolled up strand under a glass cloche for a twinkly tabletop display. Plus, you won’t have to worry about them blowing out during a breezy BBQ.

Choose a tree or architectural element to add extra interest to the landscape. Place a spotlight upwards to accentuate the textures of the leaves and the tree trunk itself. It’s great to have a lit up yard, but remember not to place your lights in such a way that they’ll be glaring spotlights in your neighbours’ windows.

Make guests feel welcome when they arrive in the evening and make them feel safe when it’s time for them to depart. Set path lights along walkways in a relaxed meandering fashion rather than in a straight line, or create added lighting accents with lights built into step risers for extra safety.

Rope lighting is another way to create an instant effect and it’s also inexpensive. Placing them at the back of your garden bed edging also creates ambient lighting.

If you want to extend your usable living space in the summer months to include the outdoors, there are many options for adding light fixtures to a well-decorated dining or sitting area. For example, a wrought iron chandelier underneath a gazebo or awning adds style and utility to the “room.” For security—or when you need to take the dog out for a bathroom break—motion-sensing lights can be used in areas of the front or back yard, such as the garage or by the back door.

If you’re blessed with a babbling water feature in your backyard, consider adding underwater aquatic lights for a shimmery luminous effect on sculptures, underwater plants, and fish when the sun goes down. You can also place water-rated floating lights on the surface for special occasions.

With the right lighting, you can create a safe, well-lit, ambient backyard that you’ll be able to enjoy well into the night.


Local Links
D.O.T. Patio Furniture Experts

Glass Lighting Gallery and Home Finishings

Ideal Landscape Services

Melanie Rekola Landscape Design

by Becky Dumais

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