Install Outdoor Patio Lighting
And Transform Your Garden

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.

Outdoor Patio Lighting Design Tips

Less is more

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?

Use wall lights for 'practical'  outdoor lighting

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.

Bollard and spread lights

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.

Recessed deck lighting

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.

Use spotlights creatively

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.

For example:

  • Illuminate an al fresco dining area by using a wide beam spotlight attached to a wall or pergola post to cast an intimate pool of light.
  • Use a combination of uplighting and downlighting to vary the scene and give your night time patio a very different look and feel to the day time landscape.
  • Pick out one or two special plants or other focal points using spike mounted spotlights. Spiky architectural plants like Cabbage Palms (Cordyline australis) really lend themselves to this technique and throw dramatic shadows on to walls and surfaces.
  • Make the most of interesting walls by using carefully positioned high or low mounted spotlights to throw a sheet of light over the surface to highlight the colour and texture.

Test out your ideas

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.

Key Safety Points for Outdoor Patio Lighting

  • Installing and using electrical equipment outside can be hazardous so make sure that your system is installed correctly and that you comply with any relevant laws and regulations. If in doubt, seek professional advice.
  • Consider using a low voltage outdoor lighting system as these are much safer and will give you more design flexibility.
  • Use equipment designed and rated specifically for outdoor use.
  • The glare from eye level lights can be annoying and hazardous so take this into account when positioning lights.

Related Pages

You can find more information about patios at patio ideas.