Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Brighten Your Space

Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |

Create the perfect backyard ambiance ahead of a summer of entertaining.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Brighten Your Space

The best outdoor lights are bright, layered, and inviting; they set the scene for al fresco dinner parties or lounging outdoors long after the sun sets. For those looking to host events, big or small, outdoor lighting can also help guide guests to your door, highlight greenery, make your space feel bigger, or act as beautiful decor. 

To create the perfect ambiance for your backyard, patio, or garden, mix up your outdoor lighting types and brightness levels. Accent lighting like lanterns, candles, and fire fixtures add warmth, while wall lights, landscape, and path lights are more functional; they illuminate walking paths and doorways for safety reasons. You need both! 

Follow our tips below on the best ways to use outdoor lighting in your front yard and backyard and get inspired by our creative outdoor lighting ideas. There are plenty of exterior lighting options for every style and budget.

How to choose the right outdoor lighting for your space

LED Lights

LED Lighting For Your Outdoor Space

Where function is concerned, LED lights add visibility, are easy to control, and can be installed or added to your outdoor area to improve the safety and flow of your space. But they're not all boring. There are plenty of beautiful modern pendant lights that use LED to create soft natural lighting. You can also have low voltage lights installed into the structure of your home (like on steps or in the ceiling of a covered porch) for a more natural flow. LED lights and lightbulbs are ideal for the outdoors because they are energy efficient—you can leave them on for a long time without having to replace them and are designed to be durable and functional. They can even be controlled by remote or in some cases, an app on your phone.

Landscape Lights

Pool and Landscape Lighting in a backyard

Brighten your home, garden, and landscaping and make walkable pathways with landscape lighting. Landscape lights are versatile and low-maintenance and can be hidden from view with plants. In addition, you can use landscape lights to highlight certain features of your home or garden. Floodlights, uplighting, and path lights are the most popular landscape lighting options. Path lights make it easier for your guest to find their way around and can be solar-powered to save energy and money. Pro tip: set up your landscape lights with a timer to come on every day at dusk. Improved visibility can help keep your property safe and easy to navigate for your family.

Pool Lights

Pool lights

Adding waterproof lighting in and around your pool adds a unique soft blue/green glow to your space that reminds us of nights at a luxury hotel. The right pool lights can make you feel like swimming after dark or can entice you to take a dip in your a spa or hot tub after dinner. Pool lights help make the water a focal point in your yard, and can subtly illuminate the greenery around the pool. You can install simple LED lights underwater on your pool walls, but you can also invest in floating pool lights or even place lanterns on the pool's deck. If you'd like, pool lights come in fun colors to set the scene for a themed party.

Market Lights

Market lights under a pergola

One of the most popular DIY options for outdoor lighting is market lights. Like fairy lights, you can string market lights over or around a specific area of your space. The lighting they provide is warm and intimate, perfect for summer get-togethers or a romantic date night. We love market lights and fairy lights because they're easy to hang and budget-friendly depending on the style you choose. They work for small spaces and big spaces and can look modern or rustic depending on how you style them. If you aren't sure where or how to hang market lights, you can purchase a string light anchor pole or fix them to pergolas, trees, umbrellas, or a gazebo. Hang a string of lights over a dinner table or wherever you set up your FSC-certified teak dining table to make the space brighter and more inviting.

5 Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Summer 2021


Outdoor pendants

For family meals outdoors, a pendant light over the table makes your outdoor space feel like an extension of your interior. Pendants are best for covered areas but are also available even for those who can't access hard wiring on the patio. Similarly, an outdoor chandelier can be mounted over an open space, seating area, or dining table to elevate your setup and make a big impression instantly. Let your style dictate which light you choose, and add personal touches like with a vintage-style Edison lightbulb. Just be sure your pendants or chandeliers are made for outdoor use and withstand wind, rain, and heat. Materials like wicker, iron, rope, and metal are better for the outdoors than breakable glass.


Couple sitting together outdoors

Lanterns are a versatile lighting solution for your outdoor space. They're low maintenance (especially when used with a battery-powered candle) and provide soft lighting for all kinds of areas and surfaces. We've seen them on tables, steps and hung out of the way near entrances or under covered patios. You make a lantern look like a light fixture with a wall-mounted lantern hook. Lanterns are the perfect solution for summer because they don't require installation and can act as decor during the daytime. We love a lantern next to a teak outdoor chair for the ultimate outdoor reading nook.

Candles and Mood Lighting

Candles for a romantic vibe

If you're in a pinch, candles on tabletops or a set of tiki torches in the garden add soft mood lighting to your space. Tea lights or taper candles add a calm, romantic vibe to an outdoor setup, and citronella candles keep bugs away. If you're hesitant to bring candles into your backyard because of the messy wax or because low lighting might increase the chance of spilled drinks, read up on how to clean outdoor cushions and furniture. Relax, and enjoy the night!

A Fire Pit

Couple by firepit

For instant cozy vibes, add a fire pit to your yard, poolside, or grass area. The warmth from the fire and the low, intimate lighting are a great way to bring people together. For some reason, a fire pit makes you want to stay out later telling stories and playing outdoor games. We've also seen plenty of beautiful fire pits in luxury spaces that double as coffee tables for snacks and cocktails. Whether you opt for a traditional wood-burning bonfire pit with Adirondack chairs and outdoor blankets or the ease of a gas-powered fire pit with teak outdoor sectional seating, your yard will become everyone's favorite place to hang out. S'mores anyone?

The perfect outdoor lighting ideas will make your space more inviting and lets you enjoy your outdoor space for hours after sunset. On warm nights and evenings, hosting parties, eating, and relaxing outdoors is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. With the right patio lights, your backyard will feel like a getaway or can act as a private space for you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. 

If you're ready to create family memories, host outdoor dinner parties, and make s'mores in the comfort of your own outdoor space, check out Neighbor's teak furniture featured in the outdoor furniture collection. Made of solid teak, the honey-colored furniture with premium Sunbrella cushions will add warmth and comfort to your well-lit outdoor space and make guests want to stay longer and visit more often.

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