You do not have to halt your backyard activities, including swimming and barbecuing, as dusk descends. Investing in outdoor lighting allows you to keep the fun going long after darkness sets in. Carefully positioned landscape lighting fixtures can also improve the outdoor space’s ambiance, boost safety and security, and extend living spaces.

However, picking the right lighting fixtures for your backyard can be daunting because all outdoor lighting options are not designed the same. If you are considering installing landscape lighting, here are five tips to achieve functional and attractive outside lighting.

Incorporate the three outdoor lighting types

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the three basic types of outdoor lighting, including accent, ambient, and task light fixtures, and incorporate them to achieve different lighting levels tailored to specific needs. Accent lights such as spotlights put focus on your hardscape, and ambient lighting fixtures like wall lights and post lights help improve backyard navigation. In contrast, task lighting like security, pathway, and deck lighting fixtures illuminate your backyard.

Invest in LEDs

If you are looking for an effective way to lower your energy expenses, consider installing low voltage LED deck lights. While the upfront installation expenses of LEDs are often at the high end of your budget, these bulbs consume less energy than incandescent and halogen bulbs. LEDs can also help you save more because they require little or no maintenance, have little heat output, and are durable and long-lasting. Choose yellow LEDs instead of white light fittings to avoid draining your outdoor space’s texture and tone.

Consider the look and feel you want to evoke

What type of atmosphere do you want your backyard to achieve? Are you aiming at incorporating drama, excitement, depth, and safety in your landscape, or do you want to add intimacy, warmth, and romance? By establishing the atmosphere you wish to evoke, you can determine the correct type of light fixtures to purchase.

Be sure to consider your home’s architecture and the overall space to establish the look and feel you want to create in your backyard. However, ensure the outdoor lighting fittings you select create a consistent feel between the indoor space, hard materials, and plantings. Consult a contractor if you are uncertain about the type of outdoor lighting that can help you achieve the desired atmosphere.

Consider the lighting position

Before purchasing the outdoor light fixtures, determine where you intend to install them. The light fixtures’ position provides different effects. For instance, installing lighting to the side of an object helps define its shape; positioning on the front creates a wash, and the object casts into silhouette when the light fixture is placed from behind. Uplighting can allow you to enhance architectural details in your backyard, shrubs, and trees. Ideal outdoor lighting placement areas include entries, paths, steps, driveway, Gazebos, pergolas, and patio or deck.

Have a budget

Be sure to set a realistic budget before you hunt for outdoor lighting fixtures. Multiply the square footage of the total area you intend to light by 1.5 to determine the wattage required. Alternatively, set aside at least 5% of your total backyard budget for outdoor lighting.


Outdoor lighting improves your home’s visual appeal and value. Incorporate ambient, accent, and task outdoor lights, use LEDs, consider the atmosphere you want to achieve and the lighting placement, and create a budget to install appropriate outdoor lighting that allows you to maximize your backyard usage even when the sun goes down.


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