Bright Ideas: Outdoor Lighting

In the season of outdoor living nothing helps to extend your time in the garden like outdoor lighting. From inviting wall sconces to romantic cafe lights, we’re sharing intel on all the basics for getting your garden glow on.


Low-Voltage Lighting

Image by Anthony Crisafulli for Staghorn Living 

Our go-to option for many spaces is ambient, low-voltage uplighting set amidst plantings. We love the way these kinds of lamps highlight — and even accentuate — the shapes and forms of the flowers, shrubs, and trees in their immediate vicinity. Not bright enough for reading, low-voltage lights cast the kind of warm, inviting glow that makes a space feel magical after dark.


Cafe String Lights

Image courtesy Better Home & Gardens. 

The most DIY-friendly option is definitely overhead cafe string lights. Whether you string them up on a pergola, hang them between trees, or zigzag a strand between posts, these inexpensive lights offer bright, functional, festive light that's perfect for entertaining. To help keep the strings tidy, taught, and secure, we highly recommend running steel cables first and then attaching your string lights to them. Both the string lights and steel cable are easy to find on Amazon or at Lowes.


Line-Voltage Fixtures

Image courtesy Royal Botania. 

If you can install a customized lighting program, we recommend line-voltage fixtures installed on fencing, walls, or overhead — or a combo of all three. This requires installation by a licensed electrician, but you'll get the widest range of options for fixtures and the ability to to use dimmers. Wall- and fence-mounted sconces are especially helpful for spaces where overhead lighting is not an option and for areas with minimal planting. Lumens is a terrific source for fixtures.