With the great trends toward using your yard as part of your house, more and more people are discovering how to best utilize their patios, decks, and gardens as dining or living rooms. These outdoor living spaces can be usable all year long in many areas. One of the challenges to using your outdoor spaces in this manner is lighting them.
There are many elements in a well designed outdoor living space. A good arrangement of furniture, clear access to the inside of your house, noise levels from surrounding streets or properties, all of these things help determine how usable your outdoor space will be. But, even the best designed outdoor living space can be ruined if there isn't appropriate lighting.
There are myriad types of lighting that you can use in your garden depending on the effect that you want to achieve.
You can use spotlights directed at particular areas of the garden that you want to highlight to give the area a magical feel. Hanging lanterns are a nice option to string across a space or between trees. Strings of lights can be wrapped around tree trunks to create a unique effect. Pathways can be lit with lights that you spike into the ground alongside your walkways. Even ponds can be lit with submersible lights if your fish don't mind.
The other major choice in backyard lighting is that of energy sources. If you want your lights to come on automatically when darkness falls and you don't want to have to pay for the electricity to run the lights, solar lighting may be just what you need. Most solar systems work well even when the days are overcast as well.
Another method for outdoor lighting is using candles or groups of candles to provide a warm flickering glow. The downside to using candles is that they need to be supervised as they can be a fire hazard, especially in the hot dry summer months. The nice thing about candles is that you can set them out single in jars or cluster them for more intense light. There are many kinds of lanterns available for myriad different looks.
If you have well-placed electrical sockets in your backyard then you may want to opt for electrical lighting. Most strings of lights require a plug in, though some types are available with battery power. There are even outdoor lamps akin to living room lamps that are designed for outdoor use.
Take a good look at the parts of your garden that you might like to highlight with your lighting and also how much lighting that you will need to best utilize your outdoor living space. If you make your lighting decisions based on your needs, then you will end up with a space that is usable instead of a dim uninviting space.
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