Installing outdoor patio lighting makes it possible to enjoy your patio whenever you choose - so no more packing up and retreating indoors as soon as the sun goes down.
But that's not all...
Outdoor patio lighting is quite simply one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring your garden to life after dark.
Using straightforward techniques, and a little imagination, you can conjure up an atmosphere of enchantment and mystery by using carefully placed lights to illuminate special plants, highlight focal points, and create dramatic contrasts between light and shadow.
The trick with outdoor patio lighting is to create a balance between the higher levels of light you need for safety and security, and the more subtle lighting effects used to create mood and ambience.
From a design point of view less is definitely more when it comes to outdoor patio lighting.
There is little point in trying to light your patio to the same degree as during daylight hours. After all, why have more of the same when you can enjoy an entirely different, and much more exciting, after-dark atmosphere using areas of light and shadow to create drama and interest?
Wall lights provide the practical lighting you need for security and carrying out tasks safely.
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to install a number of standard wall lights to provide the levels of illumination necessary, but the effect can be rather bland and uninteresting.
The solution is to supplement these with other types of light, and to use well established outdoor patio lighting techniques to create the desired effect.
If you have a large patio, one possible solution is to combine a small number of wall lights with bollard and spread lights.
This should provide you with enough illumination to move about and use the whole area safely whilst still retaining mood and atmosphere.
Bollard and spread lights are also useful for illuminating pathways and steps and marking the edges of a raised area without flooding the entire patio with light.
For decking patios consider installing recessed deck lighting which allows you to create a quite magical pattern of lights to illuminate the corners and edges of your deck and define walkways and seating or dining areas.
Choose deck lights made from top grade stainless steel (the cheaper ones just don't last) and with frosted lenses to soften the lighting effect.
Whatever type of patio you have, if you really want to make a difference, install a small number of spotlights. These can be either wall or ground mounted, or even attached to the beams of a pergola, and will enable you to create a range of interesting lighting effects.
You can use ordinary torches or flashlights to test some of these techniques to help you decide which ones to use to create the overall effect you want.
This will give you a better idea of the type of patio lights you will need and will make it easier to ask the retailer the right questions.
You can find more information about patios at patio ideas.