Now that the weather is warming up here in Australia as we head into summer, you're likely going to want to spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors.
Of course, this includes your own backyard!
Australian’s are known for our love of having a well-designed backyard. This makes it perfect for entertaining guests, letting the family dog run around outside, or cooking up a classic Aussie Day BBQ.
To really make the most of your outdoor space throughout the day and into the evening, you'll need lighting to brighten up the space once the sun goes down. But don’t forget to keep an eye on how much energy your lighting requires as you want to ensure your home is still energy efficient, to keep your power bills down.
Here are some great options to help you create an outdoor living space you'll love.
1. Think About the Overall Lighting Design
First things first, planning the design and layout of your backyard lighting.
When you start installing lights in your backyard, don't just haphazardly place them wherever you like. You'll get much better results if you take the time to sit down and plan out the overall lighting design. This way, you can get a sense of how all the lights will work together.
The last thing you want is to have certain areas that are as bright as day while other areas are completely in the dark. Aim to keep the amount of light relatively even throughout the space, with the occasional focus on your backyard features such as a feature wall, waterfall, pond, etc.
You also want to match your outdoor lighting to the lighting plan you used throughout the interior of your home.
To plan out where you should place lighting in your backyard, grab a paper and pen and create a rough sketch of your outdoor area. This will give you an aerial view of your backyard and make planning out the lighting placement easy.
2. Understand Tasks That Should Be Done By The Professionals
While you may be able to install some backyard lights yourself, it can be beneficial to work with a local electrician. A professional will be able to run power cables underground to the far reaches of your yard so that you don't have unsightly extension cords.
A professional electrician will also be able to help you ensure that all of the light fixtures you choose are rated for use in the outdoors to minimise the risk of electrical problems. While this may not become a severe issue during the warmer Australian summer month, winter can bring storms, strong winds and catastrophe for your outdoor electrical equipment.
3. Hang String Lights Overhead
String lights represent a quick and easy way to bring some light to your backyard. Hang them between trees, from the side of your house to the ground or a post, or underneath your patio or gazebo. With so many possibilities, you have the opportunity to customise the look however you like.
To brighten things up even more, try using coloured light bulbs for a fun, whimsical effect. There are many unique string light options online or visit your local hardware store for ideas.
Note: If you’re planning to hang out string lights under the open air, make sure they’re completely waterproof and that the connection to the power source is covered.
4. Illuminate Your Pathways
When you are spending time outdoors at night, you'll want to ensure you and your guests can see where you are going.
To make things as easy as possible, and prevent people from tripping, be sure to provide lighting along any pathways in your yard. The size of your lights should correlate with the width of your footpath; narrow paths should get smaller lights, while wider paths can accommodate larger light fixtures.
Keep the lights pointed downward and don't make them overly bright. The goal is to guide the way, not overpower the entire yard. Pathway lighting also works well to guide your guests to particular areas of your backyard, perhaps you have a spa or seating area further to the back of your property?
5. Spotlight Your Trees
If you have any trees on your property, especially large ones, make them stand out with spotlights. These types of lights should shine upwards from the base of the tree and into the branches so that you can see the overall shape of the tree. If your trees are around the edges of your yard, this will also serve to create a bit of a border for your lighting design. Just make sure that that lighting on your trees is not intrusive to your neighbours.
6. Add Some Colour
Don't feel locked into only using white light bulbs.
Coloured bulbs are great for making your space feel more festive (Especially in the leadup to Christmas), adding a splash of colour to your outdoor space. During the day, you can see all of the vibrant flowers in your garden, so try to recreate a similar vibe with your lights. With modern LED lighting, you can even get bulbs that can change colours, enabling you to switch up your lighting design to suit the mood of the evening.
Don't worry if you don't have the time or budget to install a complete backyard lighting scheme right from the start. Even a few simple lights in strategic locations can make a big impact, enabling you to start enjoying your backyard right away.