Make Your Garden Glow With These 9 Lighting Ideas

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

When you’ve put a lot of work into your garden, it’s a shame to let the beauty vanish as the sun goes down — especially since adding the right touch of lighting to your landscape can have a positively magical effect. The twinkle and glow of lights beckon us into the garden, making outdoor gatherings more festive and cozy. Here are nine ideas for enhancing and highlighting your favorite corners of the garden with light.

Black Bear Builders Inc, original photo on Houzz

1. Mix and match lanterns. A mature tree bedecked with glowing lanterns in an assortment of sizes and shapes creates a majestic focal point in this backyard. A hammock and swing strung from its branches give kids and adults alike good reason to get out there and enjoy the glow.

Tip: If you want to hang electric lights from a tree in your yard, you’ll need to hire an electrician to safely install them. Don’t want the hassle (or cost) of installing electric lighting? Solar-powered lanterns can be a good alternative.

backyard lights
The Fire Place Ltd, original photo on Houzz

2. Arbor of light. An arbor, with or without plants growing overhead, is a lovely feature — play it up at night by stringing it with fairy lights. The soft glow provides just the right amount of illumination to make an outdoor gathering feel cozy.

garden lights
Grant and Power Landscaping, original photo on Houzz

3. Submerged lighting. If you’ve invested in a water feature for your garden, such as a pond, waterfall or stream, help it shine after the sun goes down with submerged lighting. The glow of light under burbling water creates a magical effect, softly illuminating the landscape. Lighting designed for water features should be installed by a pro.

Related: Get a Quote From a Local Landscape Design Company

4. Illuminated fountain. Submerged lighting is not the only way to shine a light on water features. Highlight a beautiful fountain by positioning landscape lighting nearby and pointing the glow in the right direction. Just remember, less is more: Think softly glowing lamp and not glaring spotlight.

garden lights
Ornamental Garden Lighting, original photo on Houzz

5. Outdoor chandelier. What could be more romantic than sitting down to dinner in your own private garden, lit by the glow of a chandelier? If you’re willing to invest in outdoor wiring, a chandelier hung over an outdoor dining table is certainly worth the splurge. If you go for it, be sure to have a dimmer switch installed so you can control the ambiance.

Related: Splurge on a New Outdoor Pizza Oven

6. A lighted allee of trees. On a larger property, a path lined with trees makes an elegant way to progress from one point to another in the garden or to light the path to your front door. Encourage enchanted evening walks with uplights positioned at the base of the trees, plus landscape lighting on stakes to light up the path.

garden lights
NightOrbs LLC, original photo on Houzz

7. Softly lit path. For a more subtle glow, skip the uplighting and rely instead on softly lit orbs, or solar stake lights. Lighting like this works beautifully along outdoor stairs, stepping stones and gravel paths.

backyard lights
Green Line Architects, original photo on Houzz

8. Magic treehouse. Have a treehouse or playhouse in the backyard for the kids? Consider lighting it to extend play time as the days shorten in the fall. This fantastical treehouse in Colorado even has a sleeping loft, which is sure to appeal just as much to the grownups as the kids.

9. Candlelight. Candles are so simple and flexible — you can put them anywhere, and you don’t need to worry about wiring. Best for casting a soft glow around a table or small seating area, look for candleholders or hurricane lanterns that will protect the flame from blowing out in a breeze and don’t be shy about using a lot.

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