18 Tips for Lighting Your Garden

Summer is here and all eyes are on your garden. Outdoor lighting can bring even the smallest garden to life, highlighting important features, illuminating access points and ultimately making the most of the outdoor space.

We were recently asked to contribute some lighting advice to a couple of articles—one for Lamp Shop Online and another for bi-fold door specialist Origin—talking about how lighting can be best used to benefit particular areas of the garden. So, here are some of the tips that were shared on these two articles organized in five categories to make it even easier for you to soak up these useful tips and tricks.

Planning your garden lighting

First up, let’s check out what tips these articles had for planning your garden lighting setup since that should be the very first thing you do when you start thinking about the lighting in your outdoor space.

1. Firstly, be sure to do your research and plan your set-up before deciding on your garden lighting. This is the only fool-proof way to ensure the lighting you chose will be suitable for your particular outdoor space.

2. When it comes to integrating lighting into your garden and patio, solar lights are one of the most cost-effective lighting options.

3. Simple string lights or globe lights can add a nice fairytale feel to your outdoor space. They will also work great as Christmas lighting or decorations for an outdoor party.

4. Fence lights and deck step lights will help illuminate the perimeter of your backyard or any steps you might have on your property. While oath lights are still the go-to option for illuminating the driveway.

5. If you’re looking to illuminate your backyard for safety purposes, go for motion lights. These are great at scaring off any intruders or rogue animals that might wander into your garden. And they will also make you generally feel safer in your home since they will alert you of any possible danger by lighting up your yard.

Choosing lighting to suit the size and style of your garden

Next up, let’s look at some tips for choosing the style of your garden lighting so the lights fit perfectly with the feel of your backyard and don’t feel out of place.

6. For larger gardens, in-ground lights are a classic option, especially when strategically spaced throughout the garden.

7. Gardens that are on the smaller side will really benefit from any type of lighting since this will brighten the space and make it look bigger, especially when it’s dark outside.

8. Smaller, daintier garden lights are great for smaller properties as they don’t emit an overpowering glow or take up too much room.

9. Contemporary spaces will benefit from lighting which reflects their modernity. Uniquely shaped chandeliers, sleek track lighting fixtures, and panel lights always look great with the latest decor. And I’m not just talking about the interior of your home. A stylish chandelier will look amazing on your deck or patio as well.

dinner table on outdoor patio

10. Cottage gardens bring to mind a more romantic approach to lighting. Things like string lighting and lantern lights that emit a warm, yellow-white glow would work well in a more traditional garden.

11. Floodlights are great for creating an impact. They are a truly powerful lighting option that provides a lot of light and are very durable which means that they will survive even in places where the weather tends to be unpredictable.

Highlighting features

A great practice when it comes to installing lighting no matter if it’s in your backyard or in your home is to use lights to highlight different features. And here are some tips of just how to do that.

12. Use colorful spotlights to brighten and liven up a fountain or water feature. This will add interest to the water feature and will look especially stunning once the sun goes down.

13. Spotlights or floodlights work well for highlighting an exterior view, as they have a further reach than a standard porch light.

14. Directing a floodlight at a distinctive tree or interesting structure can make your outdoor area look truly unique. This way you can either highlight the feature itself by placing the light under it and pointing it upwards. Or create an interesting shadowplay in your backyard if the feature is near a wall by putting the light directly in front of it so the silhouette of the feature creates a shadow on the wall.

Top tips for lighting your garden on a budget

Have a tight budget but still want to make your garden look unique and add interest to it with lighting? You still can do that and here are some ways how.

15. Lighting a garden or patio on a budget can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Buying in bulk saves money and allows you to be creative with your lighting choices — you can decide where to place the lights and what to highlight (or not).

16. Solar lights will soon pay for themselves due to the amount of energy they save — even if you invest in high-quality models. So whether you’re on a budget or not, solar lights should be something everyone should consider as a lighting option for their garden.

17. LED bulbs are great for those on a budget but don’t want to use solar lights, as they use much less energy and won’t hike up your electricity bill. Additionally, LEDs also last a long time, so, once you make the initial investment of switching out all of your bulbs for LED ones, you won’t have to replace them for years to come.

And finally, lighting to avoid

Lastly, there is one type of lighting that you should avoid using when it comes to your outdoor space.

18. As a rule of thumb, warmer lighting colors work better as outdoor lighting. It just looks more natural and less creepy. So for outdoor lighting, avoid blue-white lighting and go for light bulbs that are more yellow in tone. And as a bonus, the warmer tones of the lights will also make your backyard more inviting, begging you to spend time there even during the evenings.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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