Backyards are modern-day sanctuaries. In a fast-paced world where time is measured in seconds, a backyard is a place where it’s measured in hours. This is our place to relax, enjoy our family, gather our friends to hang out and make delicious food – all while enjoying the utmost privacy our backyards offer us.
However, because so little of our day, and especially our night, is spend in this space, the lighting of our yard tends to be the last thing we think of when thinking of redecorating. Aside from the occasional light bulb thrown here and there just for the practicality of it, our yards are, most of the time, completely without light. And if this is the case with you, then man, are you missing out!
Let’s go through some of the things to consider when deciding to light up your backyard, along with lighting techniques and backyard lighting ideas that will knock you out.
Work with What You’ve Got
There are some magical pool lighting designs, but what’s that got to do with you if you don’t own a pool? When approaching your outside lighting, the first thing you need to do is assess your space and see what type of light would work and what would you like to achieve. Consider the size of your backyard as well. If it’s modest in size, you might want to skip on getting a statement lighting piece that doubles as a sculpture, while if you have a spacious backyard, this just might be the right thing for you.
Also, consider the style of your home and the color of the façade. However tempting it may be to go off the beaten track, our advice is to look at hour house and backyard as a whole and give them similar vibes. For instance, if you own a mid-century home, be careful with colored LED lights and making your yard look like a minimalistic getaway.
Speaking of LED lights, they are the absolute best option for your backyard. They have a dramatically longer lifespan than any other type of light, they are smaller and more easily adaptable to any type of space, and they are not burdened with glass parts like conventional lights are. Plus, you can purchase waterproof LED lights without worrying that they’ll suddenly stop working in case a heavy rain strikes.
Backyard Lighting Types
Now that we’ve covered all the basics, let’s get into the really fun part – the outside lighting ideas and techniques. The good news is, each and every one of these styles is a joy to look at. The bad news is that you’ll have a really, really tough time deciding on the style that will suit your yard best.
One of the commonly used backyard lights, and for a good reason, path lights create an inviting atmosphere from the get-go. Your guests will feel positive energy radiating from your home and will be prepared to have a good time even before they’ve stepped inside. Additionally, you can use these types of lights to illuminate the edges of your yard and form a kind of circle (or a square) with your pathway. This is one of the easiest things you could do to instantly make your backyard a midsummer’s night dream. If you don’t like your lighting to be visible, save for the beam, the best option would be to get well lights, that are partially buried into the ground, so that they only radiate light upward – perfect for tracing paths!
Deck & Step Lights
If you have a deck or steps in your backyard, and you live in a poorly lit area, to begin with, then adding lights to your yard isn’t a matter of good looks, it’s also a matter of practicality! Use lights to line your deck area and put some light (either LED strips or two LED bulbs) on each step. No more stumbling around your own backyard – it’s time to enjoy it.
Trees & Plants
Plants are always one of the most beautiful parts of any backyard – use them! You can play with different lighting techniques while decorating. That bush that essentially serves no purpose at all? Here’s an opportunity to backlight it in order to get a silhouette! Conversely, you can accentuate your plants by positioning the light right in front of them, giving them a somewhat mysterious vibe.
If your yard is graced with tall trees that are grouped in one place, try moonlighting them. It will cast a totally new light (pun intended) on their natural beauty. To do this, you need to place the light fixture on the very top of the trees, facing completely downwards. The end result should look elegant, yet surprisingly simple.
By the same token, you can accentuate an individual tree through a completely different approach: uplighting. It will give a bolder, yet less airy feel. Instead of accentuating the treetop, uplighting is ideal for making the trunk of your tree stand out in its beauty.
Don’t forget about string lights! No, they’re not reserved for Christmas only – they are as fun as they can be, and after you’ve finished decorating your trees, your whole backyard will look like a real-life fairyland! For a romantic, yet laid-back look, you can just hand string lights or lanterns to fall from the branches and illuminate the space.
If your backyard is full of trees that are far apart, that’s a perfect starting point to spread string lights throughout your whole yard – the infrastructure is already there, so this venture would be a piece of cake.
Even a stump can become awe-inspiring with a smart use of LED strips. Position them in the creases of your stumps and light them up! That one simple step will make your tree stumps resemble art sculptures.
Patio & Gazebo Lights
A lot of the techniques and types of lighting that we’ve previously mentioned can be used elsewhere. Here are some additional outdoor lighting ideas and ways to decorate your backyard.
First of all, you can combine some of the mentioned techniques and adjust them to your needs. Why not use string lights to decorate the ‘ceiling’ of your gazebo, while using well lights on both sides of the path that leads to it? Even on the worst day, looking out through the window and seeing that sight is bound to make your heart flicker!
Also, don’t stop at the basics. While LEDs with basic tones work with most environments, who’s to say that multicolored LED string lights aren’t the perfect solution for your wooden fence?
And if you’re keen on experimenting more with string lights, we can’t blame you, they really are magical. Try to make a curtain out of string lights in order to separate your pergola from the rest of the yard. Just don’t blame us if every neighbor around suddenly starts visiting your house at least once a week!
Stones & Hardscape
One of the most effective techniques to illuminate yards that are a bit on the “sturdier” side is grazing. This technique highlights the texture, by positioning the light very close to the object (a stone fence or a wall most often) and directing it sharply downwards or upwards – this creates streaks of light that looks quite impressive from afar.
With so much to choose from, starting with lighting style that can range from contemporary, to rural or Victorian, and with all the lighting techniques available, backyard decoration might seem overwhelming in the beginning. But as you immerse yourself in the world of LED outdoor lighting, you’re going to have so much fun. We promise.