Homeowner’s Guide to Backyard Lighting

Whether it’s a quiet family dinner or a formal party, the backyard can be a perfect hosting space. Kids have room to run around, hosts can invite more people, and no one has to vacuum at the end of the night. But when the sun starts to set – you’ll want to have thought ahead about how you can keep the party going without having to move inside.

Before you get started, take a minute to think about how what purpose your lights need to serve. Your outdoor lighting should be intentional and useful, not just a hodge-podge of tiki torches and solar-powered spikes. Balance is important – the right lighting will make your yard cozy and inviting. Not enough light and you’ll be tripping in the dark, too much light and it can create disorienting shadows, or lead to complaints from neighbors.

To help you get it just right, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you put together your next backyard BBQ.

Stair and Floor Lights

The deck or patio area is central for meals or small-group gatherings. One popular approach to deck lighting is using stair lights. Not only are they elegant, but they also provide an important safety feature. They light the space gently without being distracting, and they make steps easy to see in the dark.

You can also install smaller lights on the floor of your deck. These lights can help brighten up corners and can also make your space safe when it’s dark outside.

Recessed Patio Lights

On covered decks and patios, recessed lights are a great option. They’re installed up inside the ceiling, so they’ll be well-protected from the elements. From a design standpoint – they’re the perfect choice to provide your patio with even all-over light that doesn’t get in the way of the view of your backyard. Make sure you double-check before you buy, not all recessed lights are rated for outdoor use.

String Lights

String lights are wildly popular – and for good reason. They are fast and easy to put up, and their effect is magical no matter where you put them! You can attach them to the exterior of your house, a deck railing, or anything tall enough to set them up overhead.

If you don’t have a patio or deck area, they can be strung on posts around a firepit, along a fence, or even in the trees and bushes surrounding your entertaining space.

Landscaping Lighting

You can use landscape lighting to show off the best features of your yard, even after the sun has gone down. Just like stair lighting, landscape lights are multi-functional as a design element and a safety feature. Many people opt for solar-powered lights to brighten walkways and highlight design features, but you can also hire an electrician to hardwire these lighting elements to a light switch you can flip on and off from the comfort of your patio.

There are countless shapes and sizes of landscape light fixtures to choose from. You may want to consult with an expert to recommend what will work for your yard space. However, there are a few general principles to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t overdo it. Landscape lighting isn’t meant to mimic daytime, it should create just enough light to make the yard inviting at night.
  2. Consider safety. Lighting pathways is a must if you’re using your backyard after dark – but make sure you do it safely. Keep lights out of the way of where you’re walking so that they don’t become trip hazards. Motion-sensor lights near doors and on sheds are also an important safety feature that can deter theft.
  3. Choose your colors. White / daylight light will show colors just as they are during the day, but they can be pretty harsh. Yellow / warm / soft white light will give your yard a more cosy and relaxing feel, and it attracts fewer bugs.
  4. Timers are your friend. If you’re planning a one-time party it’s not a big deal to flip the switch on and off, but if you’ll be in your backyard daily, consider putting your outdoor lights on a timer so that you won’t have to remember to flip them off before bed.
  5. Look into LED. These bulbs may cost more upfront, but they’ll last much longer and use far less energy.

Your Backyard Plan

Stewart Lighting’s showroom offers a great selection of outdoor lighting options, and our lighting experts would love to help you plan your backyard entertaining space and find exactly what you need. Stop by our showroom and see it for yourself, or check us out online and we’ll help you get started.