Outdoor wall lighting ideas – illuminating ways to use exterior wall lights in any garden

These inspiring ideas will make you want to utilize walls for smart outdoor lighting
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  • Looking for new ways to illuminate your garden? Our outdoor wall lighting ideas are sure to spark inspiration, helping you decide what works best for your space. A well-lit garden can completely transform the look and feel of an outdoor area, not to mention making the space more useable at all times.

    Whether you are looking for dramatic spotlights, old-school lantern styles or more contemporary designs, there’s something for every taste and property.

    ‘Finding the right lighting is key to creating the right ambience in the evening, while highlighting the gardens key features’ explains Natalie Mann at Iconic Lights. ‘It’s best to choose lighting that is in keeping with the style and period of the house. Whether traditional or contemporary, the style of lighting should fit seamlessly into the space and complement the surroundings.’

    Find all the inspiration you need for your plot by visiting our garden channel

    Wall lights in particular are an ideal solution as they don’t take up any additional square footage. Instead they make the most of vertical space, so you have more room to play with.

    Outdoor wall lighting ideas

    1. Give the exterior full exposure

    Brick house exteripr with wall lighting idea

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Trail matching lights along the entire exterior wall to give the house some much-needed exposure after dark. This renovated and extended Victorian cottage exterior is gently illuminated with the help of a line of matching was lights. The beauty of the brickwork, painted woodwork and climbing plants of the cottage all shine in the evening when the external lights are on.

    2. Frame doorways

    black box lights

    Image credit: Davey Lighting

    Make a statement with two boxed lanterns mounted outside a doorway. Many of the boxed light designs are reminiscent of traditional railway lanterns, so you can nod back to history while giving your garden a contemporary feel.

    We love how these sharp and contemporary black box lights contrast to the striking white clapboard exterior.

    For more garden lighting ideas check out our comprehensive guide

    3. Light gateways and entrances

    outdoor wall lighting ideas

    Image credit: Davey Lighting

    An overhanging light is a striking feature for any outdoor entryway, door or wall. It’s almost essential, especially if there’s a tricky lock or combination to enter after dark.

    This particular light with a swan neck from Davey Lighting combines modern design and vintage elegance — whoever said the old and new can’t work well together?

    4. Lead the way

    deck tile patio idea

    Image credit: Bridget Peirson

    Create a seamless flow from indoors to outdoors with the help of wall lighting placed immediately outside of your adjoining living area. The unbroken path of light will help to create a seamless flow for the interior and exterior spaces, ideal if you use the patio for entertaining. Choose designs which reflects the interior decor style to help unify the two areas even further.

    5. Shine a spotlight for directional lighting

    garden seating area with spotlight wall lighting idea

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    Make the garden your stage with spotlights. This style of lighting is a great way to add directional lighting to wherever you wish the focus to be. Spotlights can be used to surround a social seating area to shine a focus and set the scene. Equally they can be used to highlight particular architectural and landscape features, which creates depth and adds character to a garden.

    Related: 42 small garden ideas – decor, planting, landscaping and designs for tiny outdoor spaces

    6. Mix and match to balance a scheme

    Garde decking area with lanterns

    Image credit: Chris Everard

    Grouping two lights together not only looks aesthetically pleasing (especially when they are framing features like doorways and windows), but they offer twice the light as well — making your outdoor area even brighter and more atmospheric.

    Pop them overhead on a patio to lighten up cool summer evenings spent outside, or put them leading up to the entrance of a house, to guide guests to the door.

    7. Go smart with solar power

    solar wall light

    Image credit: Cox & Cox

    Do your bit for the environment and go for garden solar lights, which are a great alternative to the mains powered variety. requires no cabling or mains power, because it’s solar powered.

    A wall-mounted  solar light illuminates your outdoor space without the need for switches or buttons, with many featuring clever sensors to detect when someone is near.

    8. Choose exposed bulbs

    exposd bulb wall light

    Image credit: Homebase

    You’ve probably seen the trend for exposed bulbs over the past few years, and it’s still going strong. If you want to dip your toe in the design craze there are a number of garden wall lights which offer this urban, stripped-back style — like this one from Homebase.

    9. Mount lights beside windows to improve visibility

    garden wall light mounted beside a window

    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    A wall light mounted beside a kitchen window or rear living room will help to throw light onto the view beyond. This not only gives you a glimpse of the garden to be enjoyed by night, especially to appreciate the nocturnal habits of the wildlife you invite into your garden. It also adds a sense of security – being able to see immediately out from the window.

    10. Make light go further with a mirror

    patio garden ideas

    Image credit: David Still

    Use a well-placed wall light and a garden mirror to make the light travel further, a savvy idea for small garden spaces especially. Where less is more a simple wall light placed above an outdoor mirror will reflect the light, bouncing it further around the space – helping to create a sense of extra light, depth and space.

    11. Shield the bulbs to create ambience

    ambient outdoor wall light ideas

    image credit: Paul Reaside

    While you want outdoor lighting to help illuminate the space, you might not want the designs to dominate. Especially in a sociable setting, such as a dining area where the lighting works best when more ambient as opposed to bright. For this approach choose wall light designs with concealed bulbs, meaning the light gently cascades  down the wall from around the edges rather than shining directly into an eyeline from the front.

    12. Contrast with an industrial style

    industrial outdoor wall lighting

    Image credit: Davey Lighting/ @mytinyestate

    Industrial accents and features have been a hot topic recently, whether it’s concrete kitchen floors or black crittall windows. Bring this industrial look into the great outdoors with a garden wall light. It’s perfect if you want your garden accessories to contrast to the natural world in your garden.

    Founded in the shipyards of 19th century London, Davey Lighting’s IP43+ rated exterior lights are manufactured in the UK with the same attention to detail required for their original industrial purpose. With a timeless aesthetic equally suited to traditional and contemporary homes.

    13. Light the front door with a traditional design

    lantern wall lamp

    Image credit: Wayfair

    Ensure your front door is not shrouded in darkness, thanks to the help of a characterful outdoor wall light. Newer styles aren’t for everyone and if you’re a traditionalist at heart, there are a plethora of outdoor wall lights that come in more classic and simple varieties with no fuss — like this traditional garden wall lantern. Or perhaps opt for a ship’s light or clipper style.

    14. Take inspiration from lanterns

    lantern style light

    Image credit: Cox & Cox

    If you have a period property or a country-style house then a lantern light might blend in with your surroundings better than a more modern piece.

    There are a number of styles with a more contemporary twist, like this Cox & Cox arched lantern light, which is guaranteed to make a statement on a garden wall or over an exterior door.

    Buy now: Arched Box Lantern, £150, Cox & Cox

    15. Add warmth with a touch of copper

    copper outdoor wall light

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    Warm metallic accents have been hugely popular in the world of interiors over recent years, with finishes such as aged brass and copper dominating.

    If you love the copper look inside, it’s likely you’ll adore this style outside too. This gorgeous Howick Wall Light from Garden Trading is a sleek and stylish addition to a garden. It’s also got a slightly nautical feel, so it works in decked areas divided off with rope, in keeping with the seafaring theme.

    16. Keep it simple with fairy lights

    garden fairy lights along the fence

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    The may not be ‘wall lights’ in the  typical sense but fairy light ideas do light up walls, so we say it still stands. You don’t need to have a power supply to dress walls with lighting, as this idea proves. Hang strings of fairy lights along fences to add an easy level of ambience. Choosing solar powered lights will make the process even easier because they will charge all day and illuminate come darkness, with zero effort.

    17. Add fun to an outdoor entertaining area

    quirky wall light

    Image credit: Oliver Perrott/Lights4fun

    Novelty wall lights aren’t just for the festive season, go for something a little different with a themed wall light — like this shooting star piece from Lights4fun. Stand out from the crowd and choose something totally unique — guests won’t be able to take their eyes off it.

    How do I choose outdoor wall lights?

    Lighting is a fundamental part of your outdoor scheme, so it’s important to get it right. ‘Typically, garden lights have four main functions that should be considered when choosing your lights’ explains Natalie Mann, new product development coordinator for Iconic Lights. ‘The style of design, access and movement around the property, security and night-time usability. Mounted wall lights are a great option as they cater for all four functions.’

    ‘It’s important to pay attention to the IP rating’ Natalie advises.  This will give an indication to how well protected the fitting is against moisture, dirt and other outdoor elements. Typically IP44 is considered splash proof and is standard for most outdoor wall lights.’

    Natalie adds, ‘When shopping for the best security lighting, look out for styles with a built-in motion or PIR sensor. These will activate when motion is detected within a certain range.’

    What is an IP rating?

    ‘IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and refers to the degree of protection provided against water to its electrical connections’ explains a spokesperson for Davey Lighting. ‘The higher the number, the more watertight the light. Look for a minimum rating of IP43 if the light will be in a covered area, or IP54 if it will be exposed to direct rainfall or jet-washing.’

    north facing garden ideas

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    How high should outdoor wall lights be?

    As a rule of thumb, outdoor wall lights should be placed between 5.5 and 6ft, any lower and you begin to reduce the amount of space that is illuminated. Natalie adds, ‘Aim for the lightbulb to sit just below eye level to decrease the glare, but bear in mind if the lights are not flush to the wall and placed in a thoroughfare area, they need to be high enough that you won’t knock your head as you walk past.’

    How many lumens do I need for outdoor wall lights?

    ‘It all depends on the fixture you choose. A prominent floodlight with a higher IP rating is brighter and therefore requires an output between 700-800 lumens’ Natalie insightfully explains. ‘Smaller wall lights used to highlight design features give off less light and require bulbs that produce around 400 lumens.’

     

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