You’ve spent plenty of time and money beautifying your backyard with outdoor furnishings, landscaping, a fire pit, and maybe even an open-air kitchen. Wouldn’t it be a shame to let all of your hard work fade into the darkness after the sun sets? Instead, give your outdoor space the glow-up it deserves with the perfect backyard lighting.
HomeLight’s Spring 2021 Top Agent Insights report found that 54% of agents cited outdoor lighting as a top outdoor upgrade in their markets. To help you capitalize on that trend, we gathered some creative backyard lighting ideas from some interior and exterior designers with stunning portfolios. Get inspired to illuminate your outdoor living and entertaining spaces with every type of lighting imaginable.
With a classic aesthetic and sturdy durability, outdoor lanterns are a popular outdoor lighting idea to add lighting to a deck, patio, or exterior walls.
MC Design converted these lantern lights to be low-voltage and wired them through tree branches and lantern-style sconces above the deck in this outdoor space in Palos Verdes Estates, California.
Our top picks for lantern lights:
- Polson Beveled Glass Outdoor Wall Lantern ($65.96 at Wayfair)
- Casa Marseille™ 27 1/2″ High Black Outdoor Wall Light ($199.95 at Lamps Plus)
- Devonshire 15″H 3-Light Black Outdoor Hanging Light ($73 at Lamps Plus)
- Solar Lantern Outdoor Lights, Hanging Wireless Waterproof Lantern Lights ($39.99 at Amazon)
String lights are an easy and affordable way to add ambient lighting to a deck, patio, pool, or garden. Wrap them around a trellis, along a fence line, or throughout trees for a fun, festive effect. There are many different styles and sizes available, from small, dainty “fairy-style” lights to larger, more durable globe bulbs.
In this stunning outdoor space in Rolling Hills, California, MC Design wove string lights through the trellis for a fun, festive ambiance.
Our top picks for string lights:
- Outdoor 48 ft. 24-Socket Plus 6 Bulbs Extra Plug In S11 Incandescent String Light ($44.97 at The Home Depot)
- Weslaco 50′ Outdoor LED 50 – Bulb Globe String Light ($101.99 at Wayfair)
- Portfolio 25-ft 12-Light Plug-In Color Changing LED String Lights ($69.98 at Lowe’s)
- Geomar 33′ Outdoor LED 100 – Bulb Fairy String Light ($36.99 at Wayfair)
Backlighting frames this U-shaped, modular John Michael outdoor kitchen countertop, providing ambiance and additional lighting for the outdoor space in Point Lookout, New York.
Our top picks for counter backlighting:
- 32.8 ft. LED Tape Light 60 LEDs/m Soft White (2700K)-Weatherproof/Outdoor ($129.99 at The Home Depot)
- Flexible LED Strip Light – Ultra Bright (36 LEDs/foot) ($49.99 at Aspect LED)
- 24 Foot Wet Location/Outdoor LED Tape Light Kit ($144 at Build.com)
Also from MC Design, this Mediterranean-style backyard in Sherman Oaks, California, features a mix of candelabra chandeliers and standing lantern lights. “I will often mix multiple lighting sources in one space,” says designer Megan Dufresne.
“This adds layers into the design and creates visual interest. In this backyard, we mixed and matched hard-wired lighting with candle lighting in the outdoor dining area.”
Our top picks for outdoor chandeliers:
- Onyx Faux Stone Candle 30″ Wide Indoor-Outdoor Chandelier ($399.99 at Lamps Plus)
- Westinghouse Lighting Stella Mira Six-Light Outdoor Chandelier in Oil Rubbed Bronze ($250.60 at Amazon)
- Modern Farmhouse Circular 8-Light Outdoor Chandelier ($360.25 at Amazon)
- Ewenn 6 – Light Statement Rectangle LED Chandelier ($199.99 at Wayfair)
Outdoor ceiling fan lights
A ceiling fan is a great way to add a comfortable breeze and overhead lighting while enhancing the design of an outdoor space. For use in a covered porch or three-season room, a ceiling fan should be “damp-rated.” For use in a more open space that’s exposed to rain or snow, a “wet-rated” fan offers more durability and moisture resistance.
Our top picks for outdoor ceiling fans:
- 60″ Wind and Sea Bronze Finish LED Outdoor Ceiling Fan ($349.95 at Lamps Plus)
- 52″ Honeywell Duval Bronze Outdoor Ceiling Fan with Wicker Blades ($92.92 at Overstock)
- 52″ Marina Breeze Oil Brushed Bronze Wet LED Ceiling Fan ($249.95 at Lamps Plus)
- Cedar Lake 44 in. Indoor/Outdoor LED Matte Black Damp-Rated Downrod Ceiling Fan with Light Kit ($99.97 at The Home Depot)
Along with other outdoor lighting elements, the sconces used on the trellis provide lighting for cooking and grilling in this John Michael outdoor kitchen in San Francisco, California, enhancing a perfect evening dinner party environment.
Our top picks for outdoor sconces:
- Arrington 13″ High Mystic Black Outdoor Wall Lights, Set of 2 ($99.95 at Lamps Plus)
- Verano Black 11” H Glass Outdoor Wall Lantern ($108.99 at Wayfair)
- 16″ Edgehill 2-Light Outdoor Wall Sconce ($145 at Signature Hardware)
- Outdoor Lantern Sconce Wall Light with Clear Glass for Patio or Porch ($79.99 at The Home Depot)
Post cap lights
Lighted post caps enhance the aesthetics of a deck while ensuring safety by illuminating railings and staircases. Coordinating with Deckorators decking and railing, Deckorators by Hinkley post cap and step lighting provide a low-voltage solution for brightening any outdoor living space, as shown in the installation below.
Our top picks for post cap lighting:
- Classy Caps 4×4 Bronze Aluminum Imperial Solar Post Cap (Set of 2) ($55.57 at Overstock)
- 4 in. x 4 in. White Solar Post Cap ($24.98 at The Home Depot)
- Deckorators 4-in x 4-in White Solar LED Plastic Deck Post Cap ($12.48 at Lowe’s)
- Solar Post Cap Lights Outdoor LED Lighting (6-pack) ($46.98 at Amazon)
Affordable and easy to install, step lighting enhances the appearance of a deck while also boosting security. Options like these stair lights from Deckorators add safety and modern style to any outdoor retreat.
Our top picks for step lighting:
- Outdoor Solar Lights for Steps, 6 Pack ($29.99 on Amazon)
- Hinkley Luna 4 1/2″ Wide Bronze LED Step Light ($99 at Lamps Plus)
- Terrazza Bronze Low Voltage Integrated LED Step Light Pack ($139.99 at Wayfair)
- Set Of Four Solar Step Lights – Bronze ($49.95 at Plow & Hearth)
Header Image Source: (Drew Thomas / Unsplash)