Six Ways to Brighten Up Your Summer Evenings with Outdoor Lighting

A comfortable and welcoming outdoor space is as good as an extra room in your home. But if it’s time to go indoors once the sun sets, you’ll probably not make the most of it outside of high summer.

Adding lighting to your yard, patio, or garden is a great way to increase both atmosphere and practical illumination. Here are six ideas for doing it with the best effect:

1. String Lights
Quick and easy to install, string lights bring an extra sense of magic and romance to a warm evening. Drape them around garden structures to soften their hard lines, or use them to enhance and highlight natural features.

Try using a mixture of smaller lamps for decoration and larger ones for useful illumination. Also mix in a few twinkling lights for even more atmosphere.

String lighting is also available as a solar-powered option, meaning it’s easy to install without any electrical work required.

2. Landscape Lighting
For larger areas, try using floodlights and lamps, which illuminate relatively brightly and widely. This is particularly effective if placed a little ways away from your main seating area, as it’ll increase the overall brightness without spoiling the feeling of an evening outdoors.

This kind of lighting also has security advantages, especially if you add motion sensors and timers to activate it when you’re not around. However, be sure to use softer, warmer lighting rather than harsh industrial security lamps.

3. Hanging Lanterns
Try hanging single lanterns from trees or walls for decoration and ambiance, or cluster a few together for brighter illumination of a particular spot. Lanterns and other hanging lights make a wonderful addition to a pergola or other covered space.

4. Fire Pits
Illumination doesn’t always need electricity. A fire pit provides warmth as well as an atmospheric, flickering brightness. Fire pits are perfect for autumn evenings when the weather is cooler but you’re not quite ready to call the outdoor season over.

5. Centerpiece Chandeliers
A chandelier isn’t just for a ballroom or medieval hall. If you have a covered seating area, an impressive chandelier hanging above it provides both illumination and a talking point.

6. Wall-Mounted Lamps
Also known as sconces, wall-mounted lamps are ideal for lighting doorways, pathways, and patios. A variety of designs is available, such as rustic and streamlined modern, and they’re also versatile enough to form statement pieces or blend into the background.

For a perfect sultry evening atmosphere, candle-effect sconces provide a flickering glow without the risks, mess, or hassle of the real thing.

No matter which type of outdoor lighting you choose, always keep safety in mind. If in any doubt, hire a qualified electrician to handle the installation, and make sure they’re experienced in outdoor work. The slight extra costs involved in hiring a professional will pay off with years of atmospheric and safe outdoor illumination throughout every season.