Garden lighting ideas: make the most of your garden after dark with these 27 design ideas

Our garden lighting ideas are the best way to create an atmospheric scheme, ensuring you can enjoy your outdoor space even after the sun has set

garden lighting ideas showing a sofa area illuminated by outdoor festoon lights
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Our top garden lighting ideas will instantly transform your outdoor space, whatever the time of year. They'll add interest to a patio space, highlight key features such as your favourite plants, and set the tone for everything you do in your garden – whether that's chilling out with a glass of wine after a long day at work or hosting friends and family for a weekend barbecue that stretches into the evening. The best outdoor lights can lengthen the amount of time you're able to enjoy your garden too, which is even more important as we head into autumn with its shorter days.

To help you transform your outdoor space, we've rounded up our pick of garden lighting ideas below. Whether you prefer the on-trend look of festoons, the romantic atmosphere of fairy light and candles, or want to illuminate pathways and patios with stylish floor lights, there's something to suit every type of space. Keep scrolling to find the best way to make the most of your garden now and for the months ahead, then check out our garden design ideas for more outdoor inspiration. 

1. Create atmosphere while you’re dining alfresco…

Garden dining ideas: garden lighting ideas

(Image credit: Ella James)

One of the key purposes of garden lighting is to help zone your plot, highlighting key areas like living/dining spaces. If you love eating and hosting outdoors, thinking carefully about your dining lighting scheme is important: you want to create atmosphere while also providing enough light for people to see the delicious spread you've cooked up. We like this idea from Ella James: string lights wrapped around a simple metal bar to create a centrepiece for the dining table. It's simple, yet so effective.

2. …or up the cosy factor in an outdoor living room

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Rust Collections)

Atmosphere is as important outdoors as it is in your house, so make sure you're planning the lighting scheme for your outdoor living area with cosiness in mind. Use lights, lanterns or candles (see below) to create a warm glow that provides a soft light, similar to that of gently flickering candles. We love how this setup from Rust Collections, featuring their gorgeous outdoor coffee table, uses festoon string lights for simple style.

3. Use festoon lights for modern charm

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Next)

Perhaps one of the easiest types of outdoor lighting to get hold of – and to style – festoon lights are a popular choice for gardens. They can be hung up over an outdoor seating area or strung along a fence to provide lighting all the way around the garden. Plus, their minimal, slightly bohemian-inspired style goes with any space, whether yours is a traditional garden or an industrial-style landscape.

Love the assortment of cushions you see here? Shop them now at Next.

4. Light up fences or walls with wall lanterns

Modern garden ideas: outdoor cinema with screen against fence

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

The glow of wall lanterns gives a warm welcome when they're hung outside a front door, but you can get the same good feeling by using them at the back of the house too. Try framing your back door with them, or attach them to a freshly painted fence – we love this Dusky Gem shade from Cuprinol – to show off your handiwork.

5. Go for a group of designs for added impact

grey outdoor lanterns from Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Lanterns give off such a lovely soft glow and you can rest assured you won’t need to keep rebuying pillar candles for this Fraser Grey bamboo lantern duo from Lights4Fun. They each come with a TruGlow candle that runs off batteries, plus there's a six-hour timer so you can set them to come on just as dusk falls. Perfect. 

6. Pendants aren’t just for indoor use

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Rust Collections)

It's perfectly possible to bring any element of indoor lighting outdoors, as long as you're using a product with the right specifications. Case in point: pendant lights, which look amazing hung above a dining table or seating area and make a space feel more like a room of its own. This dining area from Rust Collections, featuring their outdoor concrete dining table, could be mistaken for an indoor scene thanks to the combination of rugs, potted plants and those pendants.

7. Make a feature of your hedges

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

Add interest to a wall of foliage by using LED net lights like these from Lights4fun. They create a twinkling border and help to soften the dense look of hardy planting like hedging. The nets are so fine that you won't be able to tell they're there, even in daylight – so all you'll notice is the gentle shine of the LED bulbs come evening.

8. Or light up your tree for a magical effect

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Trees are a valuable part of any garden, providing structure and a focal point around which planting schemes are designed. Make the most of yours by draping it with string lights, like Cox & Cox have done here, creating a magical scene at night when the leaves and branches come to life in the light's glow. 

9. Add structural lighting with posts

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Oliver Bonas)

If you have a long or wide path in your garden that could do with some lighting – whether that's because it's a key part of the space or because it leads to a living or dining area – consider adding statement style with some posts, like the above from Oliver Bonas. Best for structured gardens and larger plots, they're practical as well as super stylish.

10. Or keep it subtle with stakes

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

Smaller, more slimline stake lights are also a great choice for lighting pathways, and they can also be used to great effect in between planting to highlight favourite flowers or bring attention to a container garden. These ones from Lights4fun are solar powered, so they can be placed anywhere in the garden without the worry of having to switch them on and off each night. Read our guide to the best outdoor solar lights to find out more.

11. Light up pathways with flush-to-the-floor lights

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: The Garden Lighting Shop)

On a practical level, you might need garden lighting to help you and your guests make their way around your garden. If you're not keen on posts or stake lights, consider using lights that sit flush to the floor for a more subtle option. They'll also help to highlight plants along your border, adding an extra architectural element to your space. Try these from The Garden Lighting Shop.

12. Or try globe lights for an architectural effect

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Stone Globe Lights)

Want to make a feature of your garden lighting? This dome-shaped design from Stone Globe Lights looks like a spherical stone feature by day, but by night it lights up with a warm glow for an eye-catching architectural feature. 

13. Bring the indoors out with a floor lamp

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

We've already sung the praises of using 'indoor' lighting in the form of pendant lights outside, but it doesn't stop there: you can even buy floor lamps designed for outdoor use. This one from Cox & Cox has a slimline design, so it'll slot into the smallest of spaces (we're looking at you, balcony owners), and it's solar powered too, so it doesn't need to be connected to your mains supply.

14. Choose a bulkhead style for an industrial look

two bulkhead outdoor lights on a brick wall

(Image credit: Industville)

These bulkhead outdoor lights from Industville are a great option for those who love the raw industrial style. They are inspired by nautical themes and have an aluminium shade with a gunmetal finish. The light cascades so you can use them to highlight a particular part of the garden or to illuminate a path. 

15. Hang lanterns from branches or poles for holiday vibes

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Argos)

One of the easiest ways to add lighting to your garden is with outdoor lanterns. With a range of styles from tealight holders to battery-powered 'candles', like this from Argos, you can hang them from trees or place them on a table or the floor to create a hygge space in an instant.

16. Wrap string lights around a pergola to create a twinkling canopy

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

We've waxed lyrical about the various benefits of a pergola, but one of our favourite things about the garden structure is the opportunities it offers when it comes to garden lighting. Hang everything from lanterns to pendant lights from its roof, or make like Lights4fun and create a twinkling canopy with layers of string lights. Check out our guide to pergolas for more great ideas for your space. 

17. Hang from a parasol for a chandelier effect

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Ella James)

If you use a parasol for shade in a dining area, consider keeping it up at night and using it as a base from which to hang pendants. Ella James used their solar pendant lights above to create a chandelier effect above this dining set, but fairy or festoon lights wrapped around the pole will look equally effective.

18. Play around with different heights

Modern garden ideas: outdoor sofa, rug and coffee table with string lights and lanterns

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Lighting is all about the layering, so add complexity to your scheme by using an assortment of designs at different vertical points of your garden. John Lewis & Partners have kept things cosy in this outdoor living room with table lights emitting a warm glow at eye level and festoon lights overhead.

19. Opt for classic good looks

outdoor wall light above an arched gateway in a brick wall

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Uber stylish, this exterior bracket light from Davey Lighting is well worth the investment. Crafted to last using century old techniques, it comes in either a black or galvanised silver finish. It’s suitable outdoor use (or in a bathroom) and will look fabulous in a traditional setting, such as over this brick archway in the courtyard garden of @mytinyestate

20. Use different bulbs for a quirky effect

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

If you love vintage style, try taking a mix-and-match approach to your lighting by combining multiple styles in the same area – like hanging different sizes of lanterns from a tree, for example. We also love these quirky string lights from Cox & Cox, which feature bulbs in a range of shapes, from round to teardrop to fluted. 

21. Make a playful statement with colourful lights

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Add a playful edge to your lighting scheme with colourful festoon lights like these from Wayfair. Try stringing them along a fence to cheer up a plain backdrop, or drape around a tree for a statement display. Done right, they can look classy rather than cheesy – stick to small dosages and muted colours for the best results.

22. Wrap lights around branches

solar lights wrapped around tree branches

(Image credit: Ella James)

This cool LED solar lantern chain from Ella James is a great buy – you can hang it in amongst tree branches, from a parasol or woven through a trellis. Solar powered from one panel that sits 3m from the first bulb, and when this is positioned in direct sunlight it will charge up, activate at dusk and last for six hours. It’s the perfect cost-effective way to illuminate your garden this summer! Head to our solar lights buying guide for more great designs. 

23. Integrate lighting into your furniture to elevate a piece

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

If you have a piece of furniture you're particularly fond of, make it a focal point by framing it with fairy or festoon lights, like in this enveloping setup from Cuckooland. This works best for more permanent pieces like outdoor sofas and benches – try wrapping small LED lights around the back of a newly painted bench for instant charm.

24. Add a fun ornamental feature with a novelty lamp

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Graham & Green)

Lovers of kitsch, pay attention: we've found the best garden lighting for those who enjoy a touch of garishness in these delightful monkey outdoor lamps from Graham & Green. Ornament and lighting in one, place one of these on your outdoor coffee table for a great talking point.

25. Illuminate your path

stake style outdoor light next to a pathway

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

For a stylish modern setting, a row of these Strand outdoor post lamps from Garden Trading will be a striking garden feature. They have a nautical cage design finished in carbon and you can use them to light up pathways and driveways – no more searching for the torch! 

26. Combine light and warmth with a patio heater

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

If you're looking for outdoor lighting, chances are you're planning on spending a decent amount of time in your garden in the summer evenings – and you'll need a heating source to stay cosy as the temperature drops. A stylish patio heater like this one from Cuckooland can do two jobs at once, keeping you warm and emitting a cosy glow that will see you through plenty of barbecues and alfresco dinner parties.

27. Add romantic atmosphere with candles (real or fake)

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

We couldn't forget the number one source of hygge in homes all over the country, now, could we? Candles are a great way to up the cosy factor in any room, but taken outdoors they're tricky to maintain – the slightest breeze and they're blown out. Enter LED candles like these from Lights4fun. Far from the cheap and nasty designs of old, the new faux candles are super lifelike, emitting a flickering glow that feels just like a flame. Arrange a few of different heights on your coffee table for instant atmosphere.

More garden lighting: