Types of Exterior Lighting Ideas

exterior lighting ideas

Adding exterior lighting is a great way to accentuate your home’s architectural features and outdoor rooms. It can also provide illumination for safety reasons, particularly for patios, pools and decks. There are many different types of outdoor lighting ideas to consider. These include landscape lighting, pathway lights, security and floodlighting and more.

Choosing the right light for your outdoor space is crucial to the design of your home. It should be bright enough to illuminate walkways and areas that are inaccessible at night, but not too harsh to cause glare. It should also be well-suited to the style of your home and yard, including its materials and architecture.

Pathway Lights

For an effective path-lighting solution, choose a type of fixture that emits low-wattage light. These are typically made from frosted glass, textured clear glass or fixtures that use integrated LED light sources. These lights offer a sleek, minimalist aesthetic that is perfect for contemporary homes.

Recessed Walkway Lights

These recessed lights are the ideal choice for wooden and stone entryways, as they preserve their modern appeal while providing safe passage to the home’s entranceway. They can be placed above the doorway, in a niche or directly into the walkway.

They can be used to highlight steps and railings, add a safe egress from dark porches or add a welcoming glow to your front entry. They are available in a range of styles and finishes, and come with adjustable beam angles.


When using garden lighting to enhance a feature, ‘it is a good idea to choose an area of the garden and position it so that you can see the effects it will have on your garden,’ says Jo Whitehouse (opens in new tab). Positioned in front will give a wash; to the side or behind will define shape; from the back can create a silhouette.

Plant Pots and Colored Lighting

Lighted plant pots are an excellent way to introduce a pop of color into your garden. They are easy to install, and are a great way to show off your favorite plants.

Strings of colorful lanterns or rainbow festoon lights are another great option for introducing color into your backyard. They are inexpensive, easy to install and can be threaded through a tree or over a pergola to create a relaxing atmosphere.

The light can be positioned in a variety of ways to achieve the effect you want, but generally warm light best highlights man-made objects, while cool light works well for water features.

Lastly, you can use colored outdoor lighting to accent a wall or paint, creating a soft, subtle effect. However, you should be aware that this type of light can cause glare in certain situations and is not suitable for use on dark exterior walls or over large areas.

For a cohesive outdoor look, it’s best to follow a design flow rather than a strict matching policy. ‘The key is to make sure your chosen fixtures have a unified style that fits with your overall interior design,’ advises Jamie Moxey.

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