Beautiful Outdoor Lighting Ideas

AAA Print

When the weather is hot, and the sun is up, your backyard is a great place to relax, spend time with friends or throw a party. After sunset, make your backyard just as functional by installing beautiful, functional outdoor lighting. Whether you have a romantic cottage garden, eco-friendly water smart landscaping or a tropical backyard paradise, find the perfect outdoor light fixtures to fit your backyard theme and budget.

String Lights

One of the simplest and most cost effective ways to light your backyard is with the use of string lights. While you can use a set of your basic white Christmas lights, many online companies, home improvement stores and neighborhood retailers offer specially designed outdoor light strings in decorative finishes and styles.

  • Always make sure to verify the lights you've purchased are intended for outdoor use. Rain may cause electrical problems if the string is not intended to be placed outside.
  • Always use classic white colored lights (though the strings may be various colors and materials).
  • Select a metal or plastic string color and finish that best fits the theme of your yard.
  • Use rustic looking metal lights in zinc or bronze for a refined look, or simple green plastic for a relaxed feel that easily blends into surrounding greenery.
Ready for Planting Finished Product


Post Lights

For a permanent outdoor lighting solution, consider installing lampposts in your yard. Easily customizable to your particular style, home lamp posts are a great way to provide ample lighting for pathways, home sports courts, decks, patios and large grassy areas. Select a metal finish and lamp design style that compliments the theme of your home and landscaping.

  • Chose a dark, simply designed lamp style for modern homes.
  • Black or white colored and traditionally styled lamps work well for classic home styles like colonial, Victorian or Tudor.
  • Nautical, lighthouse inspired lamps fit perfectly with Cape Cod designed homes.

Spot Lights

This style of outdoor lighting highlights the best aspects of your landscaping. Placed throughout your yard, close to the ground and often hidden, spot lights act as luminary accents on specific trees, bushes or garden accents. Placed directly in front of the object you wish to illuminate, the spotlight shines a narrow, directed beam of light up the object, highlighting it among the remainder of your landscaping. Use spotlights to highlight:

  • Large trees
  • Unique, beautiful plants
  • Gazebos
  • Large, decorative rocks
  • Unique pool accents (waterfalls)


Acting as the near opposite of spotlights, floodlights fill a large area of your garden, yard, patio, etc. with bright light. Floodlights are often used for security and safety reasons, as they immediately shine large amounts of light over a wide area. Consider installing floodlights for:

  • Home sport courts.
  • Motion detector activated security lighting around sheds, garages and throughout your property.
  • Above decks and patios to provide ample lighting for guests.
  • Motion activated safety lighting around pool areas to prevent accidentally slipping and/or falling in at night.

Pathway Lights

A near necessity for anyone with a garden pathway, these small lights are typically easy to install and provide an essential duty. Allowing family and friends to walk along unlit pathways at night can be dangerous, and potentially lead to injury. Pathway lighting should always be installed along any walkways in your yard, ensuring everyone can safely see where they are going. Like other forms of outdoor lighting fixtures, pathway lights can be purchased in varying metal colors and finishes, allowing you to customize them for the theme of your home and yard.

Flame Lighting

Perfect for tropical pool parties and backyard bars, flame lighting is an entertaining and dramatic way to light your yard. Any fixtures involving the use of fire should be properly monitored during their use, and placed at a safe distance away from awnings, umbrellas and rooftops to prevent accidentally setting anything on fire. Consider purchasing one of the following flame lighting options for a fun and theatrical way to light your yard:

  • Tiki torches
  • In-ground fire pits
  • Portable fire pits
  • Table top flame bowls or columns
  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Candles on outdoor dining tables

Solar Lights

An eco-friendly and budget friendly way to light your backyard or garden is to install solar lighting. By simply gathering energy from the sun during the day, solar light fixtures require no electricity to run at night. Available in string and pathway lighting forms, solar lighting is easy to install, as it does not need to be plugged in, or have any electrical access. Simply hang solar light strings where desired, or place solar pathway lights where needed, and the setup is done. The original price of the product will be the only time you spend money on solar outdoor lighting.

It is always a good idea to have plenty of lighting throughout your backyard, garden, patio or pool area. Aside from safety, the right lighting fixture in the right style is the best way to functionally decorate your outdoor space. Select colors and finishes that complement the theme of your home and landscaping, and install the perfect lighting for your yard.

Last Updated: August 1, 2011
AAA Print

About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

Note: The information provided on this site may be provided by third parties. The owners and operators of this site do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, and compliance of the content on this site. Such content is not and shall not be deemed tax, legal, financial, or other advice, and we encourage you to confirm the accuracy of the content. Use is at your own risk, and use of this site shall be deemed acceptance of the above.