How can you enhance your garden? How can you add drama to it? How can you even extend your ‘living space’ out from your home and into your garden? How can you create an outdoor oasis for family and friends? The answer to all these questions is lighting.

There are of course many types of lighting options that you can adopt to maximize the effect on your own particular garden or outdoor space. Do you have any kind of outdoor structure in your garden? A pergola, sun-room, pond, fountain or waterfall? What about a favourite tree, rose bed or even a sun dial? You get the idea. Choosing to use outdoor lighting can change the landscape completely from day to evening. It can significantly extend the time you spend in the garden and of course it allows you to admire the fruits of your labour for longer. So, let’s look at the different ways you can illuminate your garden space:


This form of lighting is exactly as the name suggests. The lights reflect upwards from the ground to create a dramatic effect. But remember, this upward lighting is not a form that exists in nature so use it sparingly, perhaps to highlight specific features such as pergolas, canopies, statues, ponds or waterfalls. Do not overwhelm your chosen space. Take a step back to consider the overall perspective and ensure that your lights impact the intended feature. Finally, careful placement of the lights is paramount. Your stonework or water feature is the star of the show, not the light fixtures themselves which in most cases should be hidden.

Wall-Mounted Lighting

Wall-mounted fixtures, obviously, are those fixtures that are mounted on a vertical surface, similar in all probability to the light fixture you have at your front door. Whether your style be contemporary or traditional there is now a huge range of wall-mounted lights that you can use to enhance your garden space. This type of lighting is beautifully suited to pergolas, posts, and of course, walls, and will provide an atmospheric quality to your outdoor garden. But careful with the bulbs! Many contemporary energy saving bulbs cast a ghastly forensic glow over everything and definitely do not produce the desired effect, modern LEDs usually cast the glow you are after. And to end on a practical note, applicable to all forms of outdoor lighting really – try to incorporate all the required electrical outputs at the start of your project. This could save you many headaches as work progresses.

Solar Lighting

We love this option! Solar lights are almost maintenance free and very simple to install. Best of all, mother nature provides the sunlight, with no cost to you, which is then converted into electricity. Outdoor solar lighting comes in all shapes and sizes including pathway lights, fence lights, wall- mounted lamps, hanging pendant lights and even free standing lampposts! Solar lights give a gentle glow which could be just what you want to see out of your window when it gets dark.

Hanging lighting

This option is only as creative as your imagination. For instance, a simple way to have a plethora of illuminated hanging outdoor lights would be to use glass mason jar lanterns. Big or small, clear or frosted, plain or multicoloured, the choice is yours. These simple containers can create a beautiful ambience by safely placing small candles inside. Hang them on a tree, individually, or what about grouping them together for a “chandelier” effect, overhanging an outdoor dining table? What about wicker or paper balls filled with fairy lights, that could cast a wonderful dappled effect? If you are not in the mood for all these DIY options, there are many retail shops with a host of readymade choices to give definition and mystical illumination to your outdoor garden space.

String Lighting

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to utilize the fairy light or string light option.  There are so many choices here and so many combinations that you can use. Small white lights look brilliant wrapped closely around a tree trunk. You can zig-zag them across the whole of your garden area or wrap them underneath a sun umbrella so its shape is enhanced during darkness. You can use tube lighting to create a word on your chosen wall like ‘Relax’ or ‘Breathe’. Other ideas include large Edison style string lights, vintage, solar, or mini paper lanterns. You could even construct a lattice of lights –  outstanding when placed on a vertical wall. Mixing and matching these string light options could not be easier or more effective!

Tiki Torch Display

This must be the ultimate lighting for an event in your garden. Impressive ‘Game of Thrones’ style live flame drama! However, when the big party is only once a year and you want to introduce something less melodramatic to your garden lighting, why not use miniature enclosed versions of the torches? Several at a time can be safely pressed into a big planter allowing for colourful flowers by day and a romantic tiki torch display by night.

Start to think differently about lighting and realize that it’s not just for the house. Your outdoor space can be massively enhanced by choosing one or two of the lighting suggestions mentioned above. Give it a try, or to make the most of lighting options for your garden contact North Leeds Garden Design today to discuss your ideas.