Daylight Savings and Outdoor Lighting

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outdoor lighting orbs grass wall

This is a kind of sister-piece to an article written last week about exterior lighting and dealing with longer nights of daylight savings time. This one has even more ideas about how to plan your lighting for a new season.

Beautiful lighting can make or break your outdoor space, especially after having turned back our clocks, losing even more light in the evening. The right use of subtle lights can accent your decor and highlight your space, and to help you to better enjoy your outdoor space for longer, too.

Without resorting to flood lights or lighting that’s too bright and harsh, follow some of these tips to bring soft illumination to your deck or patio.

Walkway lights

Putting small lights along your walkways will both make it easier to navigate your landscape at night and will give your outdoor space a soft glow in the darker evenings outside. Many LED solar options are available, meaning you don’t have to plug in or change batteries. Choose lights that are six to eight inches tall with a few lumens per light.

Sprinkle them between one and two feet apart, depending on the length of your pathway, for an ethereal glow, and try to avoid straight lines, which might make your path look more like an airport runway.

Farmhouse Exterior by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Arcanum Architecture

Hanging lanterns

Lanterns are a beautiful option not only for adding light to your outdoor space but for enhancing your decor. If you have a sleek, modern feel outside, add simple white box-shaped lanterns. If you like wicker and wood, round lanterns in spring colors will look great.

The paper of the lanterns softens the light to make the perfect outdoor feel. You can also create your own lanterns by putting tea lights inside mason jars, which has the added bonus of saving energy.

Traditional Patio by Birmingham Media & Bloggers Unskinny Boppy

Ambient candles

Placing tea lights inside mason jars to create DIY lanterns is only one way to use candles to enhance your outdoor space. Candles are a great way to enhance existing outdoor lighting or to replace it if you don’t have an easy way to get power outside or you don’t want to use electricity.

Tropical Landscape by Vancouver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Glenna Partridge Garden Design

Unscented pillar candles are the perfect centerpiece for an outdoor meal but need to be coupled with other lighting around the table. Lining your outdoor space with candles in translucent holders will add a very subtle, ambient light.

Illuminated trees

If any trees hang near your outdoor space, use them as holders for light figures. Put small string lights in the branches that arch over your dining area, or hang lanterns near your deck to add soft glows at differing heights throughout the space.

Make sure to keep your light placement random, and stay away from reds so that you don’t create an accidental holiday effect.

Recessed wall lights

Use recessed wall lights to accent any interesting design elements or architectural features of Your house. This technique works in the front of your house, especially as an accent to your front door, and in the back, where you may want to create a unique outdoor dining or party space.

Cover the recessed lighting with square shades to keep it from being overwhelming. The shades can also direct the light in a single direction or in multiple directions to best highlight your unique architecture.

Subtle outdoor lighting as nights get longer

No matter your outdoor lighting needs, choosing the right soft, subtle lighting turns your outdoor space into an extension of the house. Make an ethereal space, and watch as your guests gravitate towards your patio or your porch instead of remaining inside. Because your outdoor space should be available to you all year round, even when nighttime comes earlier than it did in the summertime. One way to save daylight is to recreate it yourself, afterall!


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.