Light It Up: Tips For Outdoor Lighting

Never under estimate the power of well-planned outdoor lighting. As Martha Stewart says (and she's not been wrong yet, apart from that nastiness surrounding her brief stint in jail):

"Lighting is one of the easiest (and least-expensive) ways to cast an enchanting spell on any outdoor space."

You said it, Martha. Let's take a look at some tips for lighting up your backyard:

Overhead Fairy Lights

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Okay, so these are rather 'plump' fairies, but nonetheless, using many smaller lights is a great way to create soft, subtle shadows and romantic mood lighting in outdoor entertainment areas.

Rope Lighting for Paths and Edges

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Highlight the edge of paths or garden beds with a string of rope lights. This creates a clear guide for where to walk (or in this case, where not to walk) and casts a soft light onto the path or garden.

Go A Little Crazy With Lights

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The garden is one place you can go a little crazy with lighting and get away with it. This liberal use of fairy lights demonstrates how dramatic and stunning a mass of lights can look when wrapped around a large tree and left dangling overhead. So don't be afraid to go a bit OTT with lights outside.

Feature Light (Doesn't have to be Expensive)

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Your outdoor lighting doesn't need to be expensive, either. This innovative instagram user shows us how to make a fairy light chandelier out of a sting of $10 lights, a hula hoop (of all things), some lace, and that mainstay of any crafter's cupboard, a hot glue gun. So even if you're on a budget, you can tis up your outdoors with some creative lighting.

Using Outdoor Materials for Lighting

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Outdoor lighting doesn't even need to be the conventional electrical kind. If anywhere is appropriate to use candles and cheap building materials, it's the outdoors (I'd hate to think how many house fires have been started by a bathtub pamper session gone awry). Make or sticks some candles in the frogs of your leftover bricks and you have a charming table centerpiece or path lighting for your moonlight party. 

Replace Standard Lights with Solar Lights

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Even a regular chandelier can be retrofitted into a glam outdoor light by swapping out the normal light bulbs with those garden variety solar lights. The best part? You don't even need a sparky (but if you did, you'd know where to find one, right?)

Light Up Trees and Plants

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Add to the drama of your outdoor lighting scheme by uplighting trees and shrubs. This will create a feature in the garden by highlighting the architectural nature of the trees. It wall also cast a beautiful indirect light onto entertaining areas nearby, so you can avoid blinding your good friend Billy with a spotlight directed at his retinas.

Or Fences

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Lighting up the fence can also provide a stylish backdrop to your pool, backyard, and or outdoor lounge wrapped around a fire pit. (Ok, I admit, I'm a little jealous of this backyard)

Task Lighting

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Don't underestimate the importance of good task lighting in the garden. Just like the need for good overhead lighting in the kitchen or bathroom, consider where you might need brighter pools of lighting in the garden. Over the BBQ is a good place to start. And while it can be a softer light, try to light your outdoor table from above, so no one is casting their own shadow over their chops!

Moon Lighting

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Ever wandered around the garden on a full moon? It's incredible how brightly that faraway rock can light up the night. Now, there's a company called Night Light, Inc. who attempts to replicate the soft, eery-blue lunar light even when the werewolves aren't roaming. 

How? Well, they put cool white lights high up in trees so they cast a bluish light through the foliage in much the same way the moon does. You could get an electrician to set up something similar, of course, and save paying Night Light's travel from Illinois - it's quite a commute!

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