Backyards, whether they are big or small, give homeowners their own private outdoor space. Those who are blessed may have the room to install a swimming pool or water features. Others make do with constructing a deck so that they can socialize with friends on warm evenings.

No matter what size your backyard is, it will benefit from some outdoor lighting. During the pandemic, backyards took on a greater importance. For many, they represented the only way that fresh air could be enjoyed while under social restrictions. A few friends could gather in a backyard to enable social interaction.

Light Up Your Backyard: 10 Creative Outdoor Lighting Ideas - outdoors, lights, lighting, backyard

Now, there are no longer any restrictions. But, backyards remain a vital part of family life. And they will benefit in many ways from creative lighting.

What benefits does outdoor lighting bring?

To find out the benefits of external lights, Oregon Outdoor Lighting were approached for their advice. The advice given included the added security benefits of outdoor lighting and enhanced curb appeal.

Benefits of installing backyard lighting include:

  • Increased curb appeal
  • Ambiance
  • Extended use
  • Socializing and gatherings
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Functionality

Without external lighting, backyards become mostly redundant in the evenings. Once the sunset, backyards become dark and unusable. External lighting increases the use of backyards and adds functionality.

The ambiance and curb appeal are increased through the use of uplighting and colored LEDs. Smart lighting can rotate through soft-colored gradients to light up a backyard and create an atmospheric environment to socialize.

And outdoor lighting has practical benefits also. A well-lit backyard will help to improve safety by highlighting tripping hazards and steps. Security essentials for any home should include some external lighting. Burglars don’t like well-lit buildings. So, external lights will increase your home’s security.

But, how to enjoy outdoor lighting the best?

10 ideas for installing outdoor lights in your backyard

The great thing about outdoor lighting is that it can be creative or practical, or both. Lighting may improve the atmosphere in your backyard, or it might be used to create a space that lets people socialize.

Here are ten ideas for installing outdoor lighting in your backyard. Depending on how big your outdoor space is, you could take just one or two ideas or even all of them.

1. Silhouette lighting

This technique is used to create silhouettes and shadows from objects in your garden. Lights can be placed to create striking silhouettes from trees or garden decorations such as statues. Any object can be used, and the effect can be visually impressive.

2. Wall grazing

So-called, because the light grazes the wall’s surface. Use uplighting to wash your walls with color and light. The textures of the walls will be highlighted and create a stunning backdrop to your yard.

By using colored LEDs you may experiment with different effects to find what suits your backyard the most. And remember, lighting up a backyard doesn’t have to mean bright white lights. Subtle use of colors will provide illumination without blinding anyone.

3. Step lighting

Installing lights on outdoor steps and pathways does two things; it enhances safety and aesthetics. Using backyards at night increases the risk of tripping. But, this type of practical lighting solution not only looks good but improves safety too.

Small changes such as step and path lights are beneficial when a house is marketed too. Potential buyers want to know that the home is safe, especially for children. Outdoor lighting helps to reduce the risk of simple accidents like trips.

4. Tree uplighting

Less functional and more about aesthetics, tree uplighting can be used to create a dynamic canopy effect. Uplighting is as it sounds. It involves the use of positioning lights at a base area, and pointing them upwards. In this case, the lights should be pointed upward at the lower limbs to create the canopy effect.

If you’re looking to create ambiance in your space, then uplighting is one trick worth playing around with. Uplighting may be used on all manner of objects and surfaces.

5. Wall and fence lighting

Installing lights on the tops of walls and fences helps with curb appeal. This type of installation helps to create a boundary that is attractive but also increases security.

Lighting can be used in other outdoor areas such as columns adding elegance. And on porches to make your entrance welcoming, but also well-lit for security.

6. Water feature lighting

Water features can be tricky. On one hand, some water features add aesthetic value to gardens. But, on the other hand, they might put off buyers further down the line. According to UpNest, water features won’t add any dollars to the price of your home. And they might actually devalue it.

One way to make water features desirable to potential buyers is to make them eco-friendly. Use solar-powered pumps and lights. Using lights with water features will help bump up their visual appeal too.

Submersible and underwater lighting works very well on ponds. Waterfalls and fountains will benefit from external lighting. And when done properly, the look will be captivating.

7. Swimming pool illumination

One area of the backyard that should always be lit up is the swimming pool. If you are fortunate enough to have a private pool then illuminate it for safety. Many swimming accidents occur in home pools. These are often as a result of slips and falls. If nothing else, pool lighting will help to improve safety to a degree here.

However, ambient lighting can be used along with floating LED lights to create a wonderful atmosphere for those late-night dips. Waterproofed color submersible lights will show your pool in a completely different way after the sun has gone down.

8. Shadow creation

Similar to silhouette lighting. This type of light play involves creating shadows from objects in your backyard. Play around with the fixtures in your yard to see which ones create the most interesting patterns or shadows.

9. House uplighting

With all this lighting going on, you may be concerned about the use of energy. Outdoor lighting can be environmentally friendly by using LEDs as they are longer lasting, and use less energy than traditional light bulbs. Green energy sources can also be used for outdoor lighting.

The solar lights industry was worth $8.8 billion in 2022. Many backyards in the US are illuminated through the use of LEDs and solar.

One visually pleasing use of LEDs is to uplight the exterior of a home. Uplighting can be used to change the color of a home to whatever the LEDs are projecting. For instance, your home’s exterior is cream. With uplighting it can be switched at night to blue, red, or any color you desire.

10. Spotlighting

Just as it sounds, spotlighting is used to shine a light on a specific target. Statues or pillars could be highlighted this way. Garden features, or anything of interest can be spotlit to unique effect.


Outdoor lighting can be incorporated into a backyard in many ways. Festive string lights, and hanging lanterns, are simple options. You could highlight your landscaping or even your firepit.

External lighting has a number of benefits beyond illumination. Lighting up a backyard creates ambiance as well as adding functionality. External lights improve safety and increase security. And outdoor lighting may enhance your curb appeal and possibly your home’s value.