10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas

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Rustic Scandinavian-style garden with decking, wooden easy chairs, firepit, festoon lights, LED candles and wireless lamp | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

There’s still a month or two of warm weather ahead, but the days are getting noticeably shorter and the nights longer. So, if you want to make the most of balmy later-summer and early-autumn evenings with a bit of alfresco living, lighting is going to be key. To help, I’ve teamed up with Lights4fun – Europe’s leading online retailer of decorative home lighting – to share 10 beautiful ways to illuminate and enhance your outside space. All the below ideas will produce stunning results with very little effort, and there are options to suit all types of plot, whether you have a sprawling country garden, a compact urban courtyard or a small balcony.

Add elegance with festoon lights

Festoon lights are one of the simplest and most elegant ways to create an inviting atmosphere. They can be strung above dining and sitting areas, hung along fences or balcony railings, or even suspended from poles staked in the ground. And they’re ideal for zoning your space, giving the impression of welcoming alfresco ‘rooms’. What’s more, there’s a style for everyone, from contemporary opal-white bulbs on sleek black or white cables to more rustic-looking options with visible filaments. And don’t worry if you don’t have an outdoor plug socket, as there are plenty of solar-powered and battery-operated designs to choose from. 

Minimalist balcony with contemporary festoon lights, grey garden bench and LED candles | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog
Minimalist festoon lights | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Make the most of your parasol

If you have a parasol for daytime shade, why not put it to good use once the sun goes down by entwining it with lights? You can buy sets designed specifically for this, with strings that run along the arms of the parasol and a central loop for the upright support. 

Parasol lights | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Use LED candles for ambiance

Few things are more romantic or more relaxing than the soft, dancing glow of candlelight, but the slightest hint of a breeze can blow out the flame or increase the fire risk. Battery-powered LED candles are the perfect outdoor solution, and Lights4fun has a range of waterproof options for alfresco use. They’re designed to look like wax and flicker to mimic the real thing; you can even set them on a timer or control them via remote. They look amazing placed in lanterns, dotted along tables and walls, and grouped in clusters on patios or balconies. 

Contemporary black lanterns with LED candles | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog
Romantic garden sitting area with simple wooden bench and LED candles | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Create a fairy-light canopy…

It’s easy to construct a magical canopy over dining and sitting areas by zig-zagging outdoor string lights back and forth at intervals. You can loop them around handy tree branches or beams, or screw discreet hooks into exterior walls. 

Romantic alfresco dining area with fairy-light canopy | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

…Or a fairy-light cascade

Alternatively, a net or curtain of lights suspended down a wall, fence or hedge will form a beautiful backdrop for alfresco entertaining. 

Scandinavian-inspired garden with fairy light backdrop, LED candles in contemporary black lanterns, festoon lights, firepit and outdoor pizza oven | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog
Romantic fairy light backdrop | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Twist lights around trees

Fairy lights also look captivating wrapped around tree trunks and branches. If you have a large tree you can create an enchanted-forest feel with a long string of lights, but even adding a few to a potted olive, a bay tree or a small shrub will create a wonderful effect. Warm white bulbs look stunning against dark leaves, while white lights are particularly striking when paired with pale bark like silver birch. And if you choose lights with a green cable, it will be almost invisible among the foliage. 

Tree decorated with fairy lights twister around the trunk and branches | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Hang paper lanterns from branches

Another way to make use of trees is by dangling paper lanterns from the branches. Lights4fun’s ‘Miami’ solar lanterns cast a lovely soft glow after dark, and they look very pretty unlit during the day too. What’s more, they can be collapsed down and easily stored away over winter. 

Romantic and cosy garden sitting area with fairy light-entwined tree and hanging paper lanterns | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Add floor and table lamps

Alfresco floor and table lamps instantly produce a cosy atmosphere. Placed by an easy chair or a garden sofa, they create a welcoming reading nook much like they would inside – and there’s an array of wireless, rechargeable designs. 

Rustic Scandinavian-style garden with decking, wooden easy chairs, firepit, festoon lights, LED candles and wireless lamp | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Highlight your favourite features

Outdoor spotlights and uplighters are a great way to accentuate trees, flowerbeds, ponds and planters. There are various options to suit different set-ups, including easy-to-move solar-powered designs that you peg into the ground, waterproof lights that you can submerge in water, and more permanent solutions that require hard-wiring. Just choose something discreet that will blend into the background, ensuring the focus is on whatever you want to showcase rather than the light itself.  

Contemporary garden with black fence and minimalist outdoor spotlights to illuminate planting | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog
Contemporary garden with black fence and minimalist outdoor spotlights to illuminate planting | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Illuminate pathways and decking

Finally, use stake lights, lanterns or festoon lights on hooks to highlight paths, walkways and the edges of decking – particularly useful if your outdoor sitting / dining area is a long way from the door, or if your garden has hazardous drops, level changes and ponds that might not be visible in the dark. Solar-powered or timer-controlled options that automatically switch themselves on at dusk are especially handy.

Festoon lights and lanterns along pathways and decking | 10 beautiful outdoor lighting ideas | These Four Walls blog

Browse Lights4fun’s full range of outdoor lighting here

All photography via Lights4fun

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