If you’re a fan of the great outdoors then you’ve come to the right place. We spend so much time pruning, mowing and trimming our gardens, so it’s only fitting that we be able to enjoy them long into the night after the sun has set.
Creating a warm and inviting outdoor entertaining area is great when hosting family and friends. Whether it’s for an event, relaxing with some friends or you just want to enjoy your outdoor space solo, lighting it well will pay dividends in the long run.
How to light an outdoor area
Lighting up any area should be done with purpose in mind. Having it merely illuminated enough to see is only the beginning. Different lighting configurations are best utilised for different areas. For example, you wouldn’t light your bedroom the same way you’d light your kitchen.
In the case of outdoor lighting, more often than not the purpose is to create a healthy blend of comfort, function, and ambience. If you’re trying to set the mood it’s best to avoid flood lights as these are more suitable for a tennis court than a backyard barbecue.
How bright does outdoor lighting need to be?
The intensity or brightness of lighting is measured in “lumens”. The amount of lumens you need for outdoor lighting will depend on the area and the kind of lighting you’re after, but as a general guide, you can follow the recommendation below (if unsure, a lighting designer or specialist can help you determine the lumens of your chosen fixtures).
A key recommendation for outdoor lighting is to vary the lumens for different areas. If all your outdoor lighting has the exact same brightness, your outdoor area might look a little bland and boring. Using lights with varied lumens enables you to play with light and shadow, separating different areas and creating a more interesting look and feel.
|Ponds and pools||200-400|
|Motion sensor lights||300-700|
How warm should outdoor lighting be?
Lighting temperature (or warmth) is measured in Kelvins. Lower Kelvins produce warmer light, while higher Kelvins produce cooler light. Generally speaking, outdoor lighting should sit between 2500K and 4000K. Architectural features tend to look better when illuminated by warmer lights, while landscape can look better when illuminated by slightly cooler lights that mimic moonlight. You can use the table below as a guide:
|General||2700K - a warm light ideal for most outdoor areas to create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.|
|Entertainment areas||2000K - a warm reddish glow that mimics a glowing bonfire. Will provide a romantic or rustic feel.|
|Landscape||3000K to 4000K - a cooler light that mimics moonlight. Perfect for placing high in trees with the light facing downward.|
|Architecture||Between 2500K and 2700K|
What kind of lightbulb should you use?
When it comes to outdoor lighting, LEDs and CFLs are you two main choices.
It’s no secret we’re big fans of LEDs. While a little more expensive upfront, LEDs last up to five times longer than CFLs and because they’re so energy-efficient, they cost less to operate. LEDs also don’t produce much heat, so there’s no risk of getting a nasty surprise if you get too close.
CFLs, on the other hand, can become blisteringly hot to the touch. They also have a ‘warm up’ period, meaning they take a little while to fully light up after they’re switched on. They also don’t do well in extreme temperatures, so not ideal for outdoor use.
Our top ideas for lighting your outdoor space
So now you understand how to pick your lumens and your kelvin, here are a few ideas for designing an inviting and safe outdoor space.
Stay safe with path lighting
Safety first. Whether you’re hosting friends or have kids running out around in the summer nights, lighting paths to and from doors will ensure the event starts well and continues safely. LED light strips are a great way to light paths in a stylish and environmentally friendly manner.
Bring on the festivities with string lights
As those warmer nights start rolling in so do the end of year festivities. Striking a balance between function and style can be difficult, but string lights never fail to enhance those summer memories. Strung over a dining area or entertaining space in a zig-zagging pattern, Festoon lights are the perfect way to bring that sense of occasion to any event.
Create some interest with a spotlight
If your outdoor area is filled with vibrant flowers and greenery, why not shine a little light on it? Highlighting an array or trees or even a feature plant can have a huge visual impact and really put your guests’ minds at ease. When positioned upward-facing, spotlights can create a modern and lively aesthetic for any backyard event.
Set the mood (create some ambiance)
Any outdoor dining or entertainment space should be well lit while remaining intensively flooded with light. Set the mood with some Gaapro lights that subtly light the area from their mounted wall position. This will allow your event to open up and create a comforting and stylish vibe.
Install a conversation starter
Creating ambience with decorative lights is a sure-fire way to ignite the party. Hanging one of our Kinke IP65 lights from above or placing it on a table to gather around is always going to tell your guests “this is where the party’s at”.
Added security with a sensor
Home security is just as important as lighting when it comes to providing a fun, safe atmosphere for guests, and indeed yourself. Installing motion-activated lights allow pathways to be lit up when people are walking around the outside of your house and illuminate those shady areas.
Light up your backyard events
If you’re looking for lighting solutions to transform your outdoor area into an entertaining space you won’t want to leave this summer, get in touch with one of our lighting experts or book a consultation for more information.