Backyard makeover: 5 outdoor lighting ideas for your home

Make your backyard an extension of your living space. Why not have dinner outside or enjoy an evening cocktail with the girls on the patio? With creative outdoor lighting, you can use the outdoor area well after the stars come out for the night.

1. Garden lighting
Highlight beautiful flower gardens, rock gardens, or water fountains with small, decorative garden lighting. These fixtures often operate from solar power and easily poke into the soil, float in water, or hang from shepherd’s hooks. Look for novelty shaped lights. Flowers, hummingbirds, stars, and ladybugs are just a few designs that add interest and a soft glow to the yard in the evenings.

2. Recessed lighting
If you have a sidewalk or walkway in your backyard, illuminate it. Use recessed lighting to make the path easier to follow and safe to walk at night. Recessed lighting can easily be installed on each side of the walkway in soft soil or pea gravel. If you’re building a new walkway, ask a contractor about having the lighting incorporated into the sidewalk surface for a smooth, modern look. Lights disguised as bricks or rocks give the area a natural look during daytime.

3. Yard lamps
To spread more light across the yard, consider installing yard lamps. These smaller versions of street lights stand 6- to 8-feet tall to illuminate a wide area. Place these next to a patio, picnic table, or outdoor whirlpool. Choose outdoor lighting that coordinates with your home: modern, antique, or retro.

4. Mounted lights
When your yard is small or tucked between several buildings, consider adding mounted lights to the structures. Try decorative sconce-style lights on a dimmer switch to control the amount of light in the yard. Or, if you need bright, full yard coverage, look into a flood light. Just make sure it’s carefully aimed at your yard only.

5. Decorative lights
You don’t have to wait for the holidays to make shrubs and trees twinkle. Pick up stands of outdoor decorative lights to use year round. To avoid a kitschy appeal, stick to clear or white lights. Opt for colors when celebrating a special day or event. Twist the lights around fence posts, patio railings, or tree trunks for a festive style.

Creative outdoor lighting can turn your simple patio into a destination for evening birthday parties or a place to relax after a long day of work. Go ahead, get creative!

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