8 garden lighting ideas to shine up your outdoors

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​8 garden lighting ideas to shine up your outdoors

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Swaffield Road Modern garden by Concept Eight Architects Modern
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Just because the sun has set for the day doesn’t mean your social life has to. Here in the UK we are especially greedy whenever we are gifted with a fair-weathered day, so we do what we can to prolong those al fresco occasions. Installing/building a fire pit is great and all, but it doesn’t really suit every type of garden – or budget.

So, that brings us to these garden lighting ideas which can help to add a magical ambience to your outdoor space long after the sun has retired. But which lighting options are best for your particular needs? Will you require the same lights for an intimate dinner on the patio as you would for a raucous get-together with the friends, for example?

Only one way to find out…

1. Garden lighting ideas: Solar

Want to cut back on electricity costs? Solar garden lighting is your answer. 

Available in a variety of styles (including stand-alone stake lights, glowing stepping stones, and even solar string lights), solar garden lights absorb sunlight during the day. Storing the energy in an internal battery, the lighting part kicks in as soon as the ambient lighting drops below a certain level or gets turned on. 

Depending on the lighting you choose, you may have to include an auto-on function, a timer, or a manual switch. Just be sure to shop with care: look for solar lights with good reviews, can last for several hours, and can hold up over time.

2. Garden lighting ideas: LEDs

LEDs use significantly less power than incandescent bulbs, yet offer higher light emission. However, as individual LEDs are very small, a few of them are needed to emit the same amount of light as conventional lights. 

Also available in quite a multitude of designs and formats (from string lights to spot lights), LEDs are perfect for pairing with solar technology due to their low-power consumption. They also last much longer than conventional incandescent or halogen bulbs, which is certainly worth the investment.

3. Garden lighting ideas: Plug and play

Millbrook House Modern garden by Smarta Modern

Millbrook House


Dreaming of illuminated colour in your garden, yet don’t want to hire an electrician for the wiring job? Plug and play garden lighting is what you seek! 

Just about anyone can install these 12-volt systems. All that’s needed is to mount the lights, connect them to the transformer, and then plug them in. Low-voltage LED lights are available, but you can also discover a range of brighter halogen bulbs on the market.

Plug and play lighting are available in numerous styles, including string lights, deck lights, and wall lighting.

4. Garden lighting ideas: For the garden walls

If you have a flat vertical surface in your garden, it can become quite the focal point with the right lights. A host of different options awaits you, such as hanging lanterns mounted to walls, spotlights, and more. Many of these use LED bulbs for longer life and lower power consumption. but halogen bulbs are also available. 

When searching for wall lighting, keep your outdoor area’s aesthetics in mind. What look do you want to achieve? Sleek and contemporary? Rustic? Perhaps something avant-garde?

5. Garden lighting ideas: Patio lights

Japanese style planting Modern garden by Earth Designs Modern
Earth Designs

Japanese style planting

Earth Designs

The ideal option for when you require plenty of illumination for your outdoor seating- and dining spaces. Patio lights can be as simple as tiki torches or as magical as string lights draped over a pergola covering your patio. 

Be sure to search for easy-to-install options (plug and play) that are rated for excellent weather resistance.

6. Garden lighting ideas: Contemporary glows

Water feature, bench and Palm tree with lighting Modern garden by MyLandscapes Garden Design Modern
MyLandscapes Garden Design

Water feature, bench and Palm tree with lighting

MyLandscapes Garden Design

With a sleek and modern look, contemporary garden lighting can easily be distinguished from rustic and traditional options. Stainless steel designs are quite popular due to their outstanding durability and resistance to weather, but also thanks to their clean, elegant styles. Proving to be very popular as well are bronze, aluminium and glass. 

Most of the contemporary lights are LEDs, ensuring cool white or warm white illumination combined with lower power consumption. And in terms of fixtures, a variety of options exist including recessed spotlights, traditional spotlights, industrial-style string lights, decking lights fitted directly to a wooden deck, etc.

7. Garden lighting ideas: Party lights

Pergola in courtyard garden Modern garden by Earth Designs Modern
Earth Designs

Pergola in courtyard garden

Earth Designs

Tend to host regular soirees in your garden? Then you’ll require the right kinds of party lighting to (literally) highlight those outdoor events in a fun way.  

We recommend going with multi-coloured string lights for a fanciful look, or paper lanterns that add flair (just be sure to take these down as soon as the party’s over, and they’re also not suited for damp weather). 

Another option would be rope lights wrapped around posts and trees, or fairy lights for a glittering glow.

8. Garden lighting ideas: For garden decks

Ayrshire outdoor living Modern garden by Lithic Fire Modern Sandstone
Lithic Fire

Ayrshire outdoor living

Lithic Fire

Although there are lots of conventional lights that can mount to walls around the deck, there are also styles fitted to be mounted to the floor. These are generally flat in design, with disc-shaped LED lights that emit blue, cool white or warm white light, depending on which you require. 

Some deck lights can be “daisy chained” together, with the entire chain connected to a power source. But if you don’t want to connect to the mains, opt for solar deck lights, which are becoming more and more popular. 

From outside to inside, let’s look at Lighting your home: Picking out floor lamps.

So, which of these garden lighting ideas are perfect for your next outdoor event?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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