Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, you know the feeling—when the weather outside is just perfect, and you want to spend all your time outdoors. But achieving that perfect ambiance can be tricky, especially when it comes to your outdoor lighting design. 

Sure, you can try to install some floodlights and call it a day. But why not take your outdoor lighting design to the next level? With a little creativity, you can turn your patio, porch, or deck into an inviting oasis that feels just as cozy as your indoor living space.

The right mix of downlights, sconces, and string lights can elevate any backyard into an inviting gathering space, no matter the season. With that, here are six ideas to get you started on your journey to beautiful and functional outdoor lighting.

1. Add a Touch of Whimsy to Your Yard With String Lights

What is it about string lights that make any space feel instantly cozy? Is it the fact that they’re often used during the holidays? Or is it because they give off a soft, flickering light that feels both nostalgic and almost magical? 

Whatever the reason, string lights are definitely one of the most romantic types of outdoor lighting. And they’re so easy to use too! All you need is a few strands, some hooks or nails, and voila! You’ve got an instant romantic getaway right in your own backyard.

Some of the best places to hang string lights are along the perimeter of your outdoor living space, or above an outdoor dining area. You can also use them to create a special focal point, like wrapping them around a tree trunk or draping them over a gazebo.

Usually, it’s easier to use white string lights. But if you want to add a little more color to your display, try using colored lights instead. Just make sure that the colors you choose complement each other well!

2. Light up the Night With Festive Lanterns

Lanterns have this “festive effect” whenever they’re set up in public places. A good example of this is when they are used during Japanese festivals. They’re even very famously used in films like Tangled and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Lanterns come in different shapes and sizes, and they can be made from a variety of materials. But no matter what kind of lantern you choose, always remember to place them in areas where they will not be obstructed by other objects.

If you want to create a more romantic ambiance, go for lanterns that emit soft, diffused light. But if you’re going for a party vibe, then choose lanterns that give off brighter, more concentrated light.

There are also battery-powered lanterns that are more convenient to use. You don’t have to worry about them running out of power, and you can place them anywhere you want!

3. Bring the Indoors Out With Outdoor Sconces

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Outdoor sconces are a great way to add both ambient and task lighting to your outdoor space. They can provide a soft, welcoming glow that makes it feel like you’re stepping into another world when you walk through your door. Or, they can be used as accent lights to highlight certain features in your yard. For example, you could use them to illuminate a garden path or accentuate the architecture of your home.

One of the best things about outdoor sconces is that they come in a wide range of styles. You can go for a more traditional look with wall-mounted lanterns. Or, you can opt for something more modern, like LED sconces. Just make sure the sconces you choose are rated for outdoor use and that they’re compatible with your existing electrical system.

4. Bring Glamor to Your Outdoor Space With Chandeliers

Whether you’re hanging it from a pergola or suspending it from a tree, a chandelier can definitely add some glamor to your outdoor space. They’re also a great way to add ambient lighting, especially if you choose one with multiple bulbs.

They’re the perfect statement piece for any outdoor living space, and they come in a wide variety of styles. You can go for a more traditional look with an antique chandelier to add some old-world charm. Or, you can go for a more modern look with a sleek and minimalist chandelier.

When shopping for chandeliers, always look for ones that are rated for outdoor use. And if you’re going to be hanging it overhead, make sure it’s properly secured and that the wiring is hidden. You don’t want anyone getting hurt or your chandelier getting damaged.

5. Use Fairy Lights to Create a Magical Ambiance

Here’s something we hear a lot: “Aren’t fairy lights the same as string lights?” Well, yes and no.

Fairy lights are a type of string light, but they’re usually smaller and more delicate. They emit a softer, more diffuse light that can create a magical ambiance. That’s why they’re often used in wedding decorations.

They come in a wide range of colors, which means you can use them to create all kinds of different looks. And because they’re small, you can use them in a variety of ways. For example, you could wrap them around trees or drape them over furniture.

Just be careful not to overload the circuit if you’re using multiple sets of fairy lights. And as with any other type of light, always remember to turn them off when you’re done using them.

6. Install Lamp Posts to Light Up Your Driveway or Path

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You’ll find lamp posts almost everywhere you go. They provide light for us to see in the dark, and they can also be used to add a certain “hometown” spirit to your outdoor space. 

They come in a variety of styles and heights. The most important thing to consider when choosing a lamp post is the height of the light. You’ll want to make sure it’s high enough so that people can see it, but not so high that it’s a nuisance.

As for the style, it’s really up to you. You can choose one that looks like the traditional street lamps, or you can go for something a little more distinctive such as the lamp post that signaled the entrance to Narnia.

7. Keep It Green With Solar-Powered Lights

Of course, nothing spells cozy and free from distractions like not worrying about the bills. So if you want your outdoor lighting design to be as worry-free as possible, then solar-powered lights are the way to go. These days, there are all sorts of solar-powered lights to choose from.

There are solar-powered fairy lights, solar-powered string lights, and even solar-powered lanterns. And the best part is, they’re all relatively inexpensive. So if you want to save some money and reduce your carbon footprint, then solar-powered lights are the way to go.

They are also relatively easy to set up. Just make sure that you place them in an area where they will get plenty of sunlight during the day. And if you live in an area with long winters, then it’s a good idea to invest in some backup batteries too, just in case.

Outdoor Space Lighting Design Tips

Now that you know some of the different types of outdoor lighting, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start by considering what you want to use the space for. Do you want it to be a place for entertaining? Or do you just want it to be a place for you to relax? Once you know how you want to use the space, you can start planning your lighting accordingly.
  • Think about the different types of light that you want to use. Do you want ambient lighting? Or do you want task lighting? Maybe you want a combination of both.
  • And finally, don’t forget to accessorize! Outdoor living spaces are the perfect place to add some personality with fun and unique light fixtures. If you find yourself overwhelmed, remember to always choose something that reflects your own personal style.

Illuminate Your Outdoor Space & Create the Perfect Ambiance for Any Occasion

With these outdoor lighting design ideas and tips, you’ll be sure to set the mood for your next gathering. So, go ahead and light up the night!

If you need a little bit more help with designing your outdoor spaces, the experts at Hyland Landscapes can help. We’ve got years of experience in designing and installing outdoor lighting. Contact us today to get started!