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Ideas and Inspiration

Apr 25, 2019

Lighting by Room Outdoor

Top Outdoor Lighting Ideas for your Backyard this Summer!

Imagine making s’mores by the firepit, soaking in the hot tub with a glass of wine or watching the kids take a midnight swim. These are the moments you live for in the warmer months. That’s why you invest in patio furniture, umbrellas, and a high-tech grill. Your patio, literally, becomes an extension of your living room. But there’s a catch: The sun will set on your summer dreams if you don’t have the lighting to support them. From string lights to ceiling fans, there are a number of ways you can illuminate your outdoor space.

Not sure where to start? Use these backyard lighting ideas to keep the good times rolling all night long.

Backyard Lighting Ideas: A Fixture for Every Space

String lights

What: String lights are exactly as they sound; they’re a string of exposed light bulbs that you hang from one post to another. The bulbs come in a range of shapes, but you’ll find mostly globe or candle bulbs dotting each strand. When it comes to patio lighting, string lights are a trendy choice for their almost celestial twinkle. The flexibility of the string allows you to get creative with rows of light in a variety of interesting patterns.

Where: In a space that is otherwise uncovered, string lights can help define the outdoor living room. Try them on an open-air patio, running the length of your pool or wrapped around a pergola.


What: Uplighting usually involves spotlights that are placed on the ground, under trees or hidden in plants. They shine light directly up. Together, uplighting and downlighting are strategic outdoor lighting ideas. When done well, uplighting creates dramatic shadows, adds depth and highlights features or boundaries.

Where: To find a good spot for uplighting in your backyard, look around for any unique features that deserve attention. Maybe you want to put the focus on a big banyan tree, a gazebo or a stone wall. You can get pretty creative with uplighting, but try not to go overboard.


What: The lamps you put in your backyard are not the same as what you put on your bedroom nightstand. These are sometimes lamps that stand tall like a mini-light pole. In other cases, backyard lamps are much more unique outdoor lighting. They may even blend into the scenery like a log-shaped lamp or a piece of patio furniture.

Where: Backyard lamps can be as mobile as a lantern, which means you can place these just about anywhere you need light. Your only limiting factor will be the power source. It will be easier to keep your backyard shining bright if the lamps are in reach of an outlet.


What: Light fixtures that hang down from a ceiling or overhang are considered pendants. You’ll have the most design flexibility with pendants, as they come in an endless array of shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are made with a single light bulb, while others take on the appearance of a chandelier. Your choice will largely depend on the amount of light you want in your backyard living space.

Where: Since pendants require a ceiling for installation, they are most useful on your covered porch of patio. These pieces can help define a dedicated seating area or dining table.

Ceiling Fans

What: Outdoor fans are more durable than their indoor counterparts, but they function much the same. Their main role is to circulate air, which can be harder to do in warm, humid climates. To help push air along, you’ll find fans with anywhere between three and 10 blades. The light source sits in the middle of the fixture and shines straight down to provide general lighting.

Where: Like pendants, ceiling fans are specifically designed for use in a covered space, including your porch, patio, gazebo or greenhouse.

Backyard Lighting Ideas: Important Features & Functions

Choosing lights for a yard is much different than your interior lighting scheme. Outside, you’re up against rain, shine, wind and pollen – and that’s just in the spring and summer. On top of that, you’re trying to plan a peaceful place that everyone can enjoy. With that, you have a lot to consider when shopping for your backyard light fixtures. Here are a few important features and functions that may factor into your decision:

Withstands Weather

Outdoor lighting must be able to outlast the elements. That’s why these fixtures have UL ratings. “UL” stands for Underwriters Laboratories, an independent product safety certification organization. Wet-rated fans, for example, are outdoor fans that are suitable for wet locations, such as open decks or gazebos.

Circulates Air

You know the summer months are going to be hot. If your outdoor living space isn’t covered or doesn’t get ample shade, you may want to incorporate a ceiling fan in your backyard lighting plan. This doesn’t have to be your only source of light, but it will, at the very least, give you some relief when the temperatures start to rise. Before you go shopping, though, ask yourself this: what size ceiling fan do I need? For the optimal cooling effect, you’ll need to measure your patio and plan accordingly.

Emits a Warm-Tone

Backyard lighting is a necessity if you want to spend any amount of time outside after sunset. But part of the allure is feeling like your yard is an extension of your home’s living space. To establish that kind of inviting atmosphere, your outdoor lighting should emit a warm tone of light. Oftentimes, this comes down to the type of light bulbs you use. Incandescent bulbs, for instance, give off a soft, warm light that is very flattering during the day and can be quite romantic at night.

8 Backyard Lighting Ideas for Your Living Space

Feiss Hilo 12 Light Chandelier by Generation Lighting

1. Hilo by Generation Lighting

Provided you have enough space overhead, this oversized pendant belongs on your back patio. Between the 12 bursting bulbs and celestial lighting design, the Hilo will create the kind of intimate gathering spot you never want to leave. Just add a few comfy chairs and a warm fire.

Odyn Outdoor Rated 84 Inch Ceiling Fan with Light Kit by Fanimation

2. Odyn by Fanimation

Even though the Odyn is one of the larger wet-rated fans with an 84-inch blade span, it uses 70% less energy than other fans. It also features a dimmable LED bulb for even more money-saving sensibility. Add to that the sleek nickel finish and you won’t be disappointed in what this fan has to offer for your outdoor lounge.

Meditterano 4 Inch Large Pendant by ELK Lighting

3. Meditterano by ELK Lighting

Ironically enough, this pendant has a lantern-style design that feels like it could fit into almost any outdoor motif. Plus, the tapered frame creates a rather slender profile, giving you the option to hang more than one – even in a small space.

Wish List View Scale Mill Valley Outdoor Low Profile With Light 52 Inch Outdoor Rated 52 Inch Ceiling Fan with Light Kit by Hunter Fan

4. Mill Valley by Hunter Fan

If you’re looking for a subtle patio fan, the Mill Valley will serve you well. The combination of a matte black pendant and striped walnut blades make this a neutral accessory. Even at 52 inches, this ceiling fan blends right in with the natural wood in your backyard.

Rhodes 4 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Hinkley Lighting

5. Rhodes by Hinkley Lighting

Taking elements from traditional chandeliers and modern geometric styles, the Rhodes pendant is a universal design. It is also flexible in its height. Simply adjust the chain, depending on your outdoor space and personal preference. A low-hanging light will almost act like task lighting, while something higher up can create a beautiful ambiance.

Paume Outdoor With Led Light 54 Inch Outdoor Rated 54 Inch Ceiling Fan with Light Kit by Casablanca Fan Company

6. Paume by Casablanca Fan Company

Keep your space light and bright with the Paume patio fan. It not only has a white finish on the blade and base, but even the light cover is painted white. You get a hint of texture on the blades, where a basket-weave pattern mimics classic wicker furniture.

Feiss Allier 24 Inch 5 Light Chandelier by Generation Lighting

7. Allier by Generation Lighting

This is a different kind of floating orb – one that’s suspended in mid-air and draws your eye up. While it’s not a solid sphere, the five-light candelabra in the center does give it some substance. Pair it with chunky lounge chairs and you’ll feel right at home.

Sylvan 16 Inch 4 Light Chandelier by Crystorama

8. Sylvan by Crystorama

A cage design can be clunky and overwhelming in a small space. But this one manages to remain understated and elegant, thanks to a few low-key flourishes. The curves you see are classic of traditional style. If your backyard is more modern, opt for the polished nickel finish, instead.

Light the Night

If you go through the trouble of landscaping and maintaining a beautiful backyard, don’t you want to enjoy it? Of course you do. That’s why you need ceiling fans, pendant lights, and floating orbs to light the night. With these outdoor lighting ideas, you can actually soak up every last second of summer.