6 Cost-Efficient Lighting Ideas for Your Backyard

Outdoor lighting can be a great addition to your backyard. They add both ambiance and security and are very versatile. You can highlight a specific planting or piece of garden décor, light a walkway, or add warmth to a dining or entertaining area. The possibilities are endless and thanks to today’s energy efficient lighting, they don’t have to break the bank.

Getting Started

The first thing to do is map out exactly what you want the lighting to accomplish. Do you want security lighting? Lighting for walkways to improve safety? Or are you looking at more decorative lighting for your garden, patio or outdoor kitchen? Your specific needs and wants will strongly factor in on the type of lighting you should get.

Next, think about what kind of lights you want, as there are several to choose from. For simplicity, solar powered lights on stakes you just drive into the ground are best. There are also LED lights, which are bright, weather resistant and last forever, battery powered lights, string lights and the traditional electric lighting system, which will require wiring and more maintenance than the other options.

Consider the cons of each type of lighting too. For example, electric lighting systems can require frequent bulb changes and solar lighting isn’t as bright as other types. Decide what you can and can’t live with.

Once you’ve got all that mapped out, you can then start designing your yard lighting.


Line walkways and garden paths with lights for both safety and beauty after dark. You can do this with string lights, solar lights or a built-in electrical lighting system. If you’re having an outdoor party after dark, use lighting to lead the guests to where the fun is.

Pool Lighting

Pool lighting is another great décor idea, even if you don’t use your pool at night. A pool area with soft lighting reflecting off the water adds style and sophistication and can be very romantic as well. You can use floating lights in the water and have lighting surrounding the pool.

String Lighting

Strings of lights hanging from trees, fences and other structures are very popular right now. It adds just the right amount of fun and romance to an area, and they are very inexpensive. They can also be wrapped around tables, umbrellas, deck posts and almost anywhere you want warm yet subtle lighting.

Rope Lights

Rope lights lining driveways, doorways, walkways, or specific areas in your garden or yard make a dramatic statement. Use them to highlight specific plants or décor, or if applicable, a gazebo or shed. They can also be used to outline a pool or small pond.

Torches and Lanterns

Torches and lanterns make fun party lighting. Choose sturdy ones and keep them at a safe distance from trees, tables, and anything else that could potentially be ignited. Position them strategically around your yard to create fun social, dining or even dancing spaces.

Step and Spotlights

For safety and security, you may want to invest in step and spotlights. Step lights are inserted into stairs and light each individual step. This is an especially good idea for steep steps or if you have persons in your household with sight or balance issues. Spotlights have traditionally been used as security lighting and are very effective, but be considerate of your neighbors and make sure to aim them away from any windows.

Spotlights can also be used to highlight parts of your yard you are particularly proud of-for example a pond, garden bed, sculpture, or structure like a gazebo. Over the winter they can be used to show off your holiday décor.

Lighting for your yard is a good investment that can add safety, security, style and even a bit of fun to your patio and landscaping. There are a variety of options available, so research them thoroughly to find the ones that fit best into your budget and your needs.