Five Tips For Creative Outdoor Lighting

Whether you’re hosting a party or just enjoying a quiet night at home, proper outdoor lighting can have a huge impact on your home’s appearance and ambience.  If you haven’t installed outdoor lighting to highlight your yard and the exterior of your home yet, you’re missing out on an opportunity to create a beautiful look and show off your property.  Here are a handful of unique outdoor lighting ideas that can really enhance your home and highlight its best features without looking too predictable or standardized.

1. Use lighting to shape and contour your yard.


Rope lights, string lights, and stake lights can be used to outline the edges of your deck, driveway, and fences, or to separate different parts of your yard.  Instead of looking outside and seeing an indistinct dark mass, you’ll see the order and symmetry of lines of lights tracing spaces.  You have plenty of choices as far as brightness, spacing, and the type of light – you can create a formal effect with stake lighting, a softer and more natural effect with rope lights, or something between the two.  Highlighting sidewalks or paths also gives your yard a structured but inviting appearance.

2. Don’t confine lighting to the ground.


Hanging lights are a popular outdoor lighting option for many reasons.  They diffuse light, so that your yard is softly bathed in light from above instead of being overwhelmed with a harsh glare.  Hanging lanterns come in a variety of attractive designs, so even if you don’t feel like there is much in your yard to show off, hanging lights add an appealing touch.  They can create a variety of moods, from whimsical to elegant.  Hanging lights are also inherently a novel way to light your yard, because you can determine what the lights hang from, what height they rest at, how many you use, how they are spaced, and more.  There’s never a need to worry about your hanging light arrangement looking quite like anyone else’s.

3.  Highlight standout features. 


One of the easiest ways to make your yard lighting unique is to highlight the most interesting parts of your yard.  The best outdoor lighting companies offer lights that will illuminate statues, fountains, pools, ponds, gazeboes, and more.  Small but intense spotlights will draw attention to structures like these, creating focal points and emphasizing the aspects that make your yard unique.  You can also focus spotlights on unusual trees or other plants.  Remember that features of your yard that may look plain during the day will take on a completely different character at night, and highlighting unusual features of your yard will make your overall lighting scheme that much more interesting.

4.  Leave a little mystery.  


Bold lighting isn’t the best fit for every yard, or every part of a yard.  Subtle lighting that gives off a soft glow and just offers a hint of what you’re seeing can make your yard look much more natural and intriguing.  Muted lighting that is low to the ground, especially near shrubs, flowers, and paths, is understated but comforting.  If your yard is a little on the plain or bare side, restrained lighting is a great option because it creates the illusion of eye-catching features.

5.  Don’t forget about your home. 

spotlights- on-house

Facade lighting is often overlooked when people consider outdoor lighting ideas.  But if you’re making an effort to make your yard look lively and inviting, you don’t want your home to look dull or menacing by contrast.  You can use subtle lighting around most of your home, and stronger, clearer facade lighting where you want to highlight unusual or especially well-built features, like arches, large windows, and unconventional lines or angles.  Providing warm and inviting lighting around your front entrance is also crucial – it creates a finished look and welcomes your guests.

Of course, the key to having a creative outdoor lighting scheme is to really customize it to your home and yard.  You should consider what kind of building, landscaping, and space you have to work with, as well as what kind of mood you want to create.  Different homes lend themselves to different atmospheres, from more classical and elegant to natural and outdoorsy to eclectic and whimsical.  Every yard and home is unique, so coming up with innovative decorating ideas for outdoor lighting should be not only possible, but also fairly easy.