The Secrets to Fabulous Outdoor Lighting
Light up your yard with style for entertaining, relaxing, beauty, security, and safety.
Layers of Light
Guide the Way
Make your yard look as beautiful at night as it does during the day with good landscape lighting. We'll show you how to combine ambient lighting with task lights for security or safety -- and how to incorporate accent lighting such as spotlights, strip lights, and water-feature lighting.
Lead guests to the front door with path lights set along the walkway. For the most pleasing look, choose soft, nonglaring fixtures that direct most of the light downward.
Test Garden Tip: Avoid placing the lights all in a straight line, which creates a runway effect.
Low Voltage, High Impact
The easiest of all lights to use, decorative solar-powered landscape lights require no wiring. Simply place them in a sunny spot, and when dusk arrives, they come on automatically to light the way for guests.
Wake Up the Night
A string of low-voltage lighting is the perfect solution for brightening a shady bend along a walkway. It's a low-cost, easy, do-it-yourself solution for illuminating a path and highlighting plantings.
Outline a Bed
Add drama to your front yard by spotlighting a specimen tree or other front yard focal point. Uplighting provided by spotlights accentuates the texture of tree trunks and creates a pleasing glow on foliage.
Test Garden Tip: Make sure you position spotlights to focus their beams away from windows or neighbors.
Focus on the Front
Inexpensive rope lighting creates a great uplighting effect when placed on the back of landscape bed edging. Roll out the tube lighting and pin it in place with landscape staples for a hidden glow.
All Decked Out
Combine safety with beauty for entry lighting. Guide visitors to the front door with welcoming lights that adequately illuminate stairs or other potential hazards. Take cues from your home's architecture in selecting fixtures that match its style.
Step by Step
Enjoy your deck after dark with well-planned landscape lighting. This multitier deck makes use of translucent panels, set aglow at dusk. The soft light sets a scene just right for entertaining.
Glow Without Glare
Ensure safe footing on steps between outdoor living areas by building lights into the risers. Their soft light provides just enough brightness to mark each tread -- and prevent glare.
Wall-mount downlights cast a warm, gentle light on outdoor living spaces. Use them to enhance texture on stone walls (as seen here). Plan ahead when incorporating a light into a wall, leaving access to wiring for maintenance or repairs.
This suspended walkway becomes even more dramatic at night when each newel lights up, accenting both the railing and the profusion of flowers. A small solar collector on top of the light recharges the lamp each day.
Bring indoors outside with a light fixture that's rated for exterior use but looks like something you'd use inside. A wrought-iron chandelier, for example, creates style, as well as utility in your outdoor room.
String Them Along
When interior lights are on in this home, the nighttime scene becomes bright and welcoming. Without them, the candles on the table provide a more subdued mood.
Use strands of twinkle lights rolled into a ball and capped with glass garden cloches to make this garden-theme tabletop lighting feature. It's a fun alternative to candles -- and you don't need to worry about them blowing out in a breeze.
A cluster of large candles creates a romantic ambience rivaled only by starlight. Use candles only where there is no chance that they could be overturned and create a fire hazard.
Solar Tiki Torches
Get the luminaria look by setting candles in glass lanterns and using them to line a walkway or staircase. The glass protects the candles from being snuffed out by the wind.
For a fun update to traditional tiki torch lighting at your next outdoor party, substitute solar path lights. The gentle illumination lasts for hours. Here they are clustered in a garden urn. You can also place them in individual containers with potted plants for more dispersed effect.
On the Move
Adding submerged lighting to a water garden creates lovely, luminous light that shows off fish and plants after dark. Be sure to use fixtures rated for aquatic use.
By the Numbers
Use motion-sensing floodlights to increase security at night without making your yard look like an amusement park. Use them in key spots such as garage and side doors where it's handy to have light for short periods.
Make certain that your house number is well lit for safety and practicality. Guests arriving after dark will appreciate knowing which house is yours, and emergency responders can find your it faster when they can see the house number. Solar lights illuminating the number automatically light the way every night.