Think of you backyard as an used room. Illuminating it can be as simple or as complicated and as inexpensive or as expensive as you want to make it. You can do something simple, like light a path to and from your house, or you can create a whole different world that comes to light when the sun goes down. Learn how to decide what’s best for you and how to make to make it happen, so your yard can be the oasis you’ve always dreamed it could be.
Lighting the Path
Whether you want something simple or something complicated, the right lights are going to make you or break you – and your budget.
To create a path to your front door, you want soft lights that won’t cause a glare and that send most of the light down, toward the grass. It emits a simple, pleasing effect that prevents mishaps and is very welcoming. The simplest and most cost-effective way to do this? Solar lights. Solar lights…
- Soak up charge in the sun and shine at night
- Require very little maintenance
- Inexpensive, ranging from $2-20 per light
If you have a particular shady area that doesn’t see the light of day, an inexpensive alternative is to use a string of low-voltage lights.
Love that huge oak tree in your front yard or that perfect fruit tree in your backyard? Why not add a spotlight? This provides a beautiful glow on your tree and turns it into a focal point. However, if you choose to do this, limit the number of trees you illuminate to one, or two at most.
You can also choose to highlight a water feature, like a fountain or a pond. If you choose to do this, use rocks to conceal the lights during the day, and then they’ll shine directly on the feature at night without causing glare. Don’t use one bright light, but use several lights to provide a softer look. Alternatively, you could light the area around a pond, providing a path around it and a soft glimmer of light on it.
For this kind of landscape lighting, you want it to be well-lit, but you don’t want the lights themselves to be obvious.
Having guests over and want a welcoming area in the backyard? Want to have a beautiful spot to sit and chat after the kids are in bed? Or actually read a book? Maybe you want to listen to music. You can do it all.
For this, might consider illuminating a bench or a deck. Add overhead hanging Chinese lanterns or another overhead lighting that looks pretty during the day and soft light, without being overwhelming, at night.
Adding a firepit in a separate area provides another beautiful and illuminated space where you can relax and enjoy your yard, but with a different feel. It’s almost like the separate rooms of your home.
Sketching It All Out
Once you have a general idea of what you want, sketch out your yard, including trees, a porch, buildings, shrubs, decorations and paths. If you already have some lights, include them. Mark what you want to illuminate and the kind of feel you want it to have, whether you want something romantic or fairy-like or shimmery or bold.