patio lighting ideas to illuminate your gathering place

Summer is on its way, and people with patios are likely to spend more and more time enjoying theirs as the mercury rises. Proper patio lighting allows you to enjoy your patio well into the night, which means alfresco dining and late-night drinks are on the cards.

With so many options, it can be difficult to find the perfect patio lighting to illuminate your outdoor space. Once you know more about what’s available and tips for getting your lighting on point, you’ll soon be enjoying your patio long after dark.

Types of lighting for terraces.

Consider what type of patio lights are right for your outdoor space. While you can use just one, you’ll often get a better effect by using several. These are some of the most popular types of patio lighting.

sconces

Wall lights, or sconces, are great for patios that are placed right next to your house, as they can be mounted on the exterior wall. You can choose between versions that radiate light around, uplights and downlights. This allows you to customize your patio lighting scheme.

Generally, these types of lights are attached to your home. You will need an electrician to install these unless you are replacing old lights and the wiring is already in place. However, you can find some that plug into an outlet or are solar powered.

road lights

Path lights come on stakes and are designed to be driven into the ground along the edges of garden paths. However, if your patio is surrounded by grass or flower beds, you can place them around the edges to brighten the area. While you can find a handful of wired versions, most are solar powered, making them easy to install.

string lights

If you want to create a relaxed atmosphere for your outdoor space, string lights are a great option. You can choose from large pendant lights, dainty fairy lights, or string lights with lanterns and other decorative finishes. The brightest are the ones that plug into outdoor power outlets. You can also find battery-powered and solar-powered versions.

There’s something special about string lights that can turn a basic patio into a magical place to hang out.

flashlights

Whether solar-powered or battery-powered, lanterns are a great way to add an extra layer of lighting to your yard. They are self-contained, so you can move them around as needed. They also usually have hooks, so you can choose to hang them from trees or poles or place them on a flat surface. Some are quite bright, while others are quite dim, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you buy any.

campfires

Although their main function is to heat patios, fire pits also produce light. They are great as central focal points for patios, providing light that radiates outwards. Paired with another light source around the edges or over the top of your patio, they can illuminate your entire outdoor gathering space. Plus, they have the advantage of heating you up on cool nights and allowing you to use your patio for more of the year.

light pole

Post lights sit on top of fence posts and can be solar powered or wired. The latter option is brighter, but the former is more convenient and easier to install. They are great for deck areas or for paved patios that are fenced in. You can find a variety of styles, from low-profile post caps to elaborate lanterns.

Tips for patio lighting

Use a variety of light sources.

Try using several dim lights in your yard instead of one bright one. This is a great way to brighten up a patio because you end up with a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for socializing. With a bright light, on the other hand, it can feel like you just turned on someone’s security light.

Think about which light sources work best for your space. For example, some areas may look great with a variety of string lights and path lighting around the edges, while others may work better with wall lighting and flashlights.

set a mood

Think about the kind of ambiance you want to set with your patio lighting scheme. If you want a relaxed space, you may want to keep the lighting fairly dim. Bright enough to see the people you’re socializing with, yet dim enough to feel relaxed. Alternatively, you may want to make the mood livelier with slightly brighter lighting. If you’re going to eat after dark, keep this in mind too, as you’ll want to see what’s on your plates.

consider lighting

You can use uplight sconces, path lights, or even spotlights to create uplight areas. It looks especially good when you use uplighting to illuminate trees, bushes, or interesting architectural features. Uplighting can create interesting ambient lighting and cast beautiful shadows, creating an effect that could never be exactly replicated anywhere else.

Think about the electrical installation

If you choose lighting that requires direct wiring to your home’s electricity, you’ll need to have an electrician do it for you. It can end up being expensive, which is why many people opt for lights that don’t need professional installation. Solar and battery powered lights are great, as are those with an AC power source, especially if you already have a suitable outdoor outlet.

best patio lighting

Solar lights for paths Solpex

With eight in a pack, these solar path lights are great for staking out around the edge of your patio or in adjacent flower beds. You can choose between cool white and warm white versions.

Sold by Amazon

DenicMic solar light post

DenicMic solar light post

If you have a deck or railing around the edge of your patio, these post lights are great for lighting up the area. Patterned exterior casts an attractive shadow.

Sold by Amazon

Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Powered Outdoor String Lights

Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Powered Outdoor String Lights

These commercial grade, fully waterproof string lights are perfect for adding a layer of illumination to your patio. You can choose between 27-foot and 48-foot versions, depending on the size of your yard.

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Bright Town Solar Moroccan String Lights

Bright Town Solar Moroccan String Lights

Are you looking to add a touch of decorative flair to your outdoor lighting? These string lights have a Moroccan-style finish, which is perfect for adding an extra dimension of ambiance to your patio gathering spot.

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Globe Electric Bowery 1-Light Outdoor Wall Sconce

Globe Electric Bowery 1-Light Outdoor Wall Sconce

This outdoor wall sconce is perfect for anyone looking for a brighter patio lighting source for larger areas or to avoid the need for too many light sources. It must be wired into your electrical system, which will require a professional if the correct wiring is not already in place.

Sold by Amazon

Pearlstar Outdoor Solar Lantern

Pearlstar Outdoor Solar Lantern

Suitable for hanging or placing on a table, this lantern provides ambient lighting for a relaxed atmosphere. It won’t light up a large space on its own, but it’s great combined with other light sources.

Sold by Amazon

Best Choice Products Gas Fire Pit Table

Best Choice Products Gas Fire Pit Table

Providing both light and warmth, it’s perfect for cool evenings. It runs on a propane tank and has a tabletop rim for drinks and snacks.

Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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