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Backyard Lighting Shows Off Your Whole Property

Adding backyard lighting is about more than just enabling you to see your way at night. The right lighting can make an artistic statement in your favorite relaxation spot and even improve your home’s security. You can choose to add backyard lights to illuminate your home’s architecture, your favorite trees and landscaping, to add some mood lighting, or, yes, to make sure you don’t stumble in the dark. Here’s how you can make backyard lighting work for your home.

How to Choose Where You Want to Install Backyard Lighting


When you consider backyard lighting plans, think about your goals. Are you looking to add some nighttime illumination for outdoor relaxing? Then you may want to have soft lights tucked into out of the way spots, like around landscaping or hardscaping. Are you thinking about lighting up your yard for security purposes, or to keep wildlife or unwelcome visitors away from your property? Then motion-controlled lights may be right for you. Do you want to light up a party in your backyard? Will you invite us?

Since all backyard lighting has some degree of exposure to the elements, you’ll want to look for lighting designed for all types of weather, from cold to hot, dry to wet. You’ll also want to walk around and observe your space to consider placement. Lights can come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so you can place tiny lights on areas like fence slats, around rocks, or even up in a pergola’s beams. On the other hand, if you really want to shine a spotlight on uninvited guests, place large security motion lights up on corners, where they can broadcast their beams widely.

Types of Backyard Lighting to Consider


There are many types of backyard lighting to think about when you’re making a plan for your special oasis. A few to think about include:

  • Deck Lighting: Not just for safety on deck stairs or around railings, deck lighting can offer opportunities for a fun party atmosphere. Use rope or string lights to highlight deck edges or planters, or wind them up around banisters for a fun pop of light.
  • Patio Lighting: Patio lighting may not be the traditional mounted lights but will still light up your space. Think hanging lanterns on shepherd’s hooks, or globe lights installed in large planters. Or have some motion lights installed at the corner where you’re dealing with your trash cans.
  • Security Lighting: This type of backyard light is all about peace of mind. Try motion lights or automatic lighting that comes on at dusk. Think about areas where you want to see and be seen. Read all about installing security lights.
  • Landscape Lighting: You have the most amazing trees! Don’t wait for the sun to show them off. Textures of branches, shrubs, and even ornamental grasses and hardscaping like boulders can look amazing at night with the right lighting.
  • Pool Lighting: Remember safety and style when it comes to lighting your backyard pool. Lights under water must be specially designed and installed to withstand wet environments. You can also use pool deck lights to ensure you or your guests don’t end up all wet.
  • Porch Lighting: Frequently installed in porch ceilings or along walls, porch lights can brighten up the exterior of your home. You can pair porch lights with ceiling fans to add some cool breezes along with soft lighting on a screened porch, or wraparound porch.
  • Decorative Lighting: This backyard lighting plan is all about creating magic with the help of a little bit of electric wonder. Create a spa-like setting with comfortable seats and soothing lighting or highlight statues and fountains with the right spotlights. Think about sconces for your backyard patio or lights that help feature your favorite spaces, like a comfy set of patio furniture by your outdoor fireplace.
  • Smart Lighting: Look at colored light bulbs, lights that sync with your stereo, or ones you can shift with the touch of a button or mobile app. Smart lights can be adjusted to suit your mood, or even sync up with your TV or music equipment to create a dance party right in your backyard. This is also a great option for you holiday displays.

How Can You Create Different Lighting Techniques?


You don’t have to have an exterior design job to add artistic touches to your backyard lights. Just consider some of these key lighting techniques when you plan your outdoor lighting installation.

First, task lighting is all about illuminating a space so you can do something in it. This could include a light above your grilling station, or around your outdoor patio furniture so you can enjoy a meal al fresco after sunset. Or simply to see each step on a stone pathway.

Next, direct lighting is best when you want to illuminate a certain spot you need to see, like a doorknob and keyhole. Think about this kind of technique on areas you need to see clearly to interact with them.

Last, "up lighting" is just that: light directed upwards. You see this type of technique on landscape lighting that shines up an interesting tree trunk, statue, or architectural element. It can also include types of indirect lighting where light shines behind or around a space, not directly on it, to create soft spaces without lots of harsh beams.

How Are Backyard Lights Powered?


You’ve come up with a lighting plan but now you’re standing in the middle of your backyard patio, wondering how long an extension cord you need. Not to worry! Outdoor lighting in your backyard is all about hiding that power source – from eyes as well as the elements.

  • Solar Lights: Landscape lighting or backyard lights far away from a power source (like at the edge of a large yard) can be powered by solar cells. Typically these involve specially designed solar lighting kits that include a small solar panel that’s installed in a sunny spot not too far away from the light. This can be great for illuminating areas like fence boundaries or spots near structures that don’t have electricity like pathways. 
  • Electric Lights: These need to be installed in a way that ties into your existing electrical grid. You can dig small trenches and install lighting power cabling under your grass or other landscaping. This way, much like a sprinkler line, your lights are the only thing to shine in your yard, not your power cables. Electricity is also needed for most outdoor lighting like spotlights, and many installation kits involve a minor amount of electrical setup into your home’s system. Our experts at McCoy’s can help advise you if you have questions.
  • Different Bulbs: There are so many different light bulbs to choose from, but don’t get overwhelmed. You can use efficient and long-lasting LED lights to give a “warm” or “cool” color to outdoor spaces that’s perfect for highlighting your favorite greenery or structures. You can also go with “low wattage” outdoor lighting for the most delicate of spotlights, to provide soft light on areas where you really want to set a cozy mood. In addition, there are motion-activated lightbulbs that you can add to existing outdoor light fixtures.

Get Your Backyard Lights At McCoy's


When you have your ideas started, come by your nearby McCoy’s where our experts can shine a light on the right tools and lighting products for your project. We promise we won’t leave you in the dark. When it comes to backyard improvements, we have a lot of—you guessed it—bright ideas.