Celebrate the most glamorous evenings in the garden with beautiful lighting ideas that will extend your stay far into the night
Looking for garden lighting ideas? Check out our pick of the best ideas to get you started on your outdoor room lighting project.
Garden lighting can help create a magical space that can be enjoyed even when the sun’s gone down. Make the most of long summer evenings and transform your garden into a glowing living space you can use after dark, with our stunning garden lighting ideas to illuminate alfresco diners.
If you want to create a cosy dining area for eating out on warm nights, zone off a secluded spot on the patio using elegant garden wall lights to cast a romantic glow over your garden dining table, and set the mood with tabletop candles placed in pretty wind-resistant vessels – perfect for intimate dinner parties and candlelit meals.
Are you landscaping your garden? Don’t forget to work integrated garden lighting into your design as these final details will really set off your scheme and create a stunning effect in the garden by night. Go for smart spotlights in walls and pathways to light your way and uplighters to accentuate beautiful architecture, water features and sculptural planting.
Wireless solar-powered lights are an easy and eco-friendly alternative to plumbed in lighting and come in all shapes and sizes. Embed them deep within your borders or line them up along the path and watch them illuminate your garden at twilight, with a warm glow.
For easy garden lighting ideas, try our simple homemade lanterns for your next garden party, made with a paper bag weighted down with gravel, a hole punch and an LED tealight. Placed either side of garden steps, they’ll light your guests’ way and look totally charming.
1. Mix and match lanterns
Decorative metal lanterns are going from strength to strength as the must-have modern room accessory. From living rooms with a Scandi feel to the centrepiece on an industrial-chic dining table, these adaptable place-anywhere mood setters are at home in any scheme. Remember their origins as the earliest way of lighting up Victorian streets and herald them as the perfect indoor/outdoor accessory. The sheer joy of these contemporary beauties comes from the colour choices and shapes – there is one to suit every garden and every design personality.
2. Update with new-season designs
From classically chic to strikingly contemporary, there’s never been a better time to invest in stylish garden lighting. At the more modern end, designs in zinc, copper and brass will add a Scandi feel to outdoor spaces, while glass lanterns with galvanised steel exteriors hark back to Victorian street lamps for a more classic feel. The sheer joy of these beauties comes from the colour choices and shapes – there is one to suit every garden and every design personality.
3. Cast an inviting glow
When dining outdoors in the garden, the natural glow of candlelight as an ambient garden lighting option cannot be surpassed. As it is in the controlled setting of your alfresco table, go for real candles, but secure them against wind by opting for a sturdy yet elegant vessel. These heavy ribbed glass holders are the perfect balance of smart and safe. Avoid the temptation to keep mosquitoes at bay by using citronella candles – the scent can put diners off. Save them for after dinner.
Get the look
Buy now: Large Captured Glass Lantern, £40, The White Company
Want more garden ideas? READ: How to use paint in the garden to add a dose of colour and vibrancy
4. Hang fairy lights for a magical touch
Add some sparkle to your home, inside and out, with a set of unique fairy light designs. Fairy lights bring a magical quality to any garden, and these flower versions work beautifully with the lace tablecloth and pressed-glass tealight holders. A little light goes a long way at night. Use lighting selectively and remember that darkness can be used to conceal areas.
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Buy now: Similar fairy lights, Lights 4 Fun
5. Go for colour-coordinating candles
If you are fortunate enough to have a garden in full bloom, light up your flora and fauna with lanterns. Especially now, with LED battery-powered candles at their most efficient and cost-effective, you can avoid any risks involved with real candles while still providing a striking glow. The gentle pinks and red of these silk and paper lanterns are just perfect for enhancing the natural palette of the rhododendrons. Just beautiful.
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Get the look
Buy now: Small Pink Cylindrical Chinese Lantern, £15, Orchid Furniture
6. Bring sparkle to garden walkways
Perfect for marking a special occasion, LED-lit trees add a decorative and atmospheric touch to gardens. The bulbs in these designs have been altered to create a warmer colour that is much more inviting than the typical blue-hued glow, creating a magical, twinkling effect ideal for lighting up walkways and garden paths.
Get the look
Buy now: Bulbs, Twilight Trees
7. Make pretty DIY paper lanterns
Nothing makes a bigger garden lighting impact than the repetition of lights on a darkened path – for both striking simplicity and after-dark safety. With a garden party in mind, these steps are smartly lit with decorative paper bags, which can be bought with a pretty punched design or create it yourself with a hole-punch and a few minutes of your time.
The trick is to weigh the bags down with gravel or rice and most definitely use LED tealights. Whether it’s the eco-friendly aspect, the freedom that comes from being wireless or the sleek, industrial look, a solar-powered light is the simplest option for hassle-free garden lighting. As the technology advances, so do the choices for creating a number of looks in your outdoor space – from putting them deep within the foliage for an internal glow to lining them up loud and proud along a path.
8. Make a statement with high-end pieces
Contemporary garden lighting is not just for your industrial living room or chic hotel-style bedroom. Invest in garden-friendly options to take your interior design style outside and keep the flow of good taste on high. The look of this lamp, with its mix of materials and focused glow, is a standout against the rustic stacked-brick garden wall. Even your garden insects will ooze glamour when lit up just so…
Get the look
Buy now: Garden lampshade and sconce, Florian Brillet
9. Add playful touches to dark corners
The humble paper lantern takes position as party-perfect centrepiece when clustered in an array of colours. In a mix of sizes and hung at various heights, they transform this covered garden nook from plain to playful and balance out the darker, heavy garden furniture and the intensity of a fireplace. Truly a light and bright way to have fun with garden lighting.
10. Use uplighters to catch the eye
Clever lighting is the key ingredient for bringing wow-factor to your garden at night. Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles, using both uplighters to enhance walls and hanging pendants in covered areas to create cosiness. And if you’re really lucky, make sure to illuminate the swimming pool at night…
11. Add texture with woven materials
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Sculptural electrical lights make an attractive garden lighting alternative as they can be brought outside onto a deck or patio when weather permits. Or, positioned near the door, will illuminate the are from inside. The woven material on these bottle-shaped designs creates attractive shadows.
Get the look
Buy now: Similar woven lamps, £49.99, Value Lights
Above all, let safety be your watchword. Select fittings designed for exterior use, with an IP rating for water resistance that suits the area they are to be used in, usually IP44, or higher. Employ a qualified electrician to install them safely.