You can light up the night with Tiki torches and a few citronella candles, or you can make your backyard landscaping really stand out by incorporating some clever outdoor home decor lighting features. You need light, so why not make it special?
Solar powered landscaping lights that accent small shrubs and the perimeter of patios are great, and they're an important feature for most homes. You want to use some of those but with a few unusual lights, your deck or patio will look nothing like the others on your block. (Read: Outdoor Home Decorating for Summer Entertaining)
Here are a few ideas to make your backyard the envy of everyone you know … well everyone who visits your home at night, or sees photos of your home posted online (send us [email protected] and we'll share them here).
Recessed Deck Lighting Blends Home Decor and Safety
Recessed lighting on your deck illuminates areas where you need to watch your step, but it's not intrusive. You can have light where you need it, but without overpowering a darker nighttime setting. Because this type of lighting is seated in the decking, it doesn't compete with whatever look you're going for with the rest of your outdoor decor.
There are kits available for installing this type of lighting. You might need an electrician, as this isn't a simple DIY job. But once installed, these lights will last and they won't create a tripping hazard.
A Decorative Backyard Arbor with Lights Adds Some Fantasy
If you've got an arbor, string lights can add a bit of life after the sun goes down. (Read: Patios and Your Backyard Landscape) If you don't have an arbor, you can buy or build one to dress up a favorite spot in your backyard. Planting vines such as clematis and jasmine will give you the green look that fills in the wood or metal in just one season, and they return year after year. Climbing roses take longer to mature, but are another great addition.
String lights may need an electrical outlet, but two new types have hit the market that make installing and using them a lot easier. Battery-powered lights can be tucked into the arbor, and there's no cord to stretch to an electric source. And with solar-powered string lights, you'll never have to worry about replacing batteries. Just let the sun charge up the batteries during daylight hours.
Upcycled Outdoor Decor Turns Wine Bottles into Chandeliers
How clever is this idea? You can buy ready-made outdoor lighting using wine bottles, or you can make them yourself. Wine bottles act as the globe, and the lights fit neatly inside. If you're making them yourself, you'll need a glass cutter, diamond-coated file and a kit for constructing outdoor lighting. Most kits have step-by-step instructions that walk you through the process.
Another way to use wine bottles is with candles. With the bottoms cut out of the bottles, the open top makes a natural vent. You can place them over candles like a hurricane lamp on your patio tables or on a shelf (metal recommended) hanging over the table.
Backlighting is Not Your Average Illuminated Tree Decor
You've seen landscaping that uses string lights to wrap tree trunks and mingle among the branches. Here's a different idea, and it creates a dramatic effect. It's also easier to accomplish, since you don't have to worry about balancing the volume of lights perfectly on every branch. Backlighting highlights the tree, and it's especially beautiful when you've got a twisted old tree with interesting features.
This project calls for larger solar lights. Smaller lights won't have the same dramatic effect. You'll want to arrange them to brighten the most interesting lines of the tree. Perhaps one light highlighting a crooked branch, and another shedding light on a tree swing, if you've got one.
Outdoor lighting is as much a feature as the lighting inside your home. It can improve safety, create a mood, enhance outdoor home decor, and highlight features you want to notice. With so many choices, your imagination is really your only limit.
What lighting features have you used for your outdoor decor? We'd love for you to share photos of them!
My husband and I are confused as to which lighting to install for our deck, to make it visible, safe, and appealing to our guests. These are the best ideas I’ve looked at so far. I’ll talk to my husband and seek out options online to find good quality lighting that will match the walkways of our deck
I like the idea of putting up some recessed lighting over your deck so it lights up the areas where you need to go, particularly the stairs or walkways. To me, it creates drama and ambiance without looking stark at night. My husband and I are confused as to which lighting to install for our deck, to make it visible, safe, and appealing to our guests. These are the best ideas I’ve looked at so far. I’ll talk to my husband and seek out options online to find good quality lighting that will match the walkways of our deck.
Candice, I think you want to find lights that coordinate with your home’s style & finishes … and then install them based on both the walkway & outdoor living area.
These lights have become my favorite. We’ve never maintained our outdoor lights before, so I think that we’ll just go ahead .. Thanks for sharing.
Amanda, There are lots of different lights so which are your favorite (leave photo number to let me know)
Great ideas, very informative thank you for the post
I’ve never thought of backlighting trees; that’s a really good idea! My backyard has some very old, grand olive trees, so I imagine that lighting them would look really cool. Now I just need to find some lights to hang behind some of the branches.
Maggie, I’m sure you’ll fixture out some great lights to use. It’s funny though, looking at your website it reminds me that most light fixtures are designed to make the fixture look great versus casting the right lighting for the surrounding environment. Good luck & love if you want to share some photos of the lights you pick for your olive trees, or even an article about how you found the right lights (check out homeowners sharing stories).