The most effective garden lighting ideas are about adding that all-important glow at dusk. The evening garden needs soft lights to get the right effect. For the best results add layers of lighting at different heights, starting with wall lights to throw out a soft glow, battery powered lanterns for a cosy feel, and downlighters to throw out warm light.
There’s a trend for metallic lights in soft shades right now. Warm metals such as copper and bronze are perfect to amplify the cosy glow that’s ideal for creating a welcoming garden setting. Think also about spotlighting individual plants to create warmth in a shadowy corner of the garden or to add drama.
The latest LEDs are an easy solution as they offer a range of designer effects, including lights that change colour and systems that can be controlled via a smart phone. This means you can also enjoy seeing more of your garden at night from inside of the house too. Keep reading for our top ideas, then check out our best outdoor lights buying guide for our top garden lighting picks.
1. Enhance your exterior
Downlighting is good for illuminating textural qualities such as brick detailing and other architectural features. As well as lighting the way and showing off your exterior, stylish wall lights in soft metals such as brushed copper and polished brass can enhance the design aesthetic by throwing out a soft wash of light. They take a little planning though as they need to be connected to the mains electricity supply so don't forget to factor in talking to an electrician. Head over to our best outdoor wall lights guide for more great ideas.
2. Use reflections to up the wow
Be creative and design a completely different look for your garden at night. Throw a net of LED lights over a hedge or pergola to create a magical look for parties and other alfresco get-togethers. It's so easy to do and takes only a few minutes to set up. Then use reflections to enhance the magical effect and add to the shimmer. All you need is something like a decorative metal screen or polished tiles to pick up the reflections. You can achieve the same look with water feature ideas or garden mirror ideas.
3. Choose lanterns for atmosphere
Outdoor spaces used for relaxation and entertaining can be lit in a similar way to indoors with sleek low-level lamps. Choose a style that throws out a calming ambient light to add a little hygge to your patio space when it comes to downtime. You can always use lanterns as a test run to work out how you want to light different areas and see what sort of effects you can achieve. After experimenting you may even decide that LED lanterns grouped together is all you need!
4. Create a welcoming glow
Nothing says welcome home quite like a warm glow. Use lights to enhance your front porch and create a soft subtle effect that brings one or two elements into focus like a door or window. Remember that flooding the front garden with harsh light doesn't look great and won't win you any friends among your neighbours. Opt for more of a theatrical effect by emphasising one or two key things and leaving everything else in shadow. It also adds kerb appeal by showing off your house in the best light.
5. Uplight plants for drama
Discreet lighting can be used to create a welcoming ambience for the evening garden at any time of year. Plants take on architectural qualities when uplit, with the angled lights enhancing the shape of leaves. Choose up-lights that are either recessed into the ground or set on moveable spikes for illuminating plants and the trunks of potted trees, as they can be shifted to suit the mood. Or choose modern planters with built-in LED lighting that can be controlled with a phone app.