THE WASHINGTON POST – No outdoor entertaining space – even one with quality furniture, beautiful landscaping, and a ready-to-go barbecue – is ready to turn a star at an evening event until until you add lighting.
“When you walk into a large restaurant or a summer wedding and wonder why it looks so magical, the lighting is the reason,” said Hillary Stamm, founder of HMS Interiors in California.
You can just throw some fairy lights and call it a day, of course. But to make the most of your outdoor space – whether it’s an apartment balcony or a sprawling backyard with a pool and gazebo – experts suggest having multiple light sources.
“You’re not trying to create a really bright space,” Stamm said. “But you need two to three light sources, such as outdoor can lights, candles, or sconces.”
Third Spring Landscape Design Seattle owner Jason Jorgensen said he thinks in zones. What are you going to do outside? If it reads under a covered terrace, you can opt for an LED table lamp.
On the other hand, “if you’re dining outdoors, dim, comfortable lighting works well,” he said. (Think candles and string lights.)
And you’ll want to take advantage of the latest technology. Putting lights on WiFi-enabled timers, for example, will save energy and help you meet Dark Sky Initiative guidelines, said Los Angeles-based garden designer Stephanie Bartron. They encourage homeowners to only use light when needed, on needed areas, and to make sure it’s no brighter than necessary, so people can help minimize light pollution. .
Here are some specific fixtures recommended by Stamm, Jorgensen and Bartron.
Stamm loves Threshold’s Corn Outdoor Lantern Candle Holders to add texture to your outdoor space. Pair them with battery-operated flameless candles. She suggested arranging them in groups of three for a personalized, layered look.
Jorgensen likes to use rechargeable table lamps, like the Poldina Pro or the Balad lamp. The Poldina is available in 13 colours, including dark green and copper, and the Balad is available in eight, plus it can sit on a table or hang on an optional spiked stand.
String lights are inexpensive and weatherproof, making them a great option in places that experience severe summer storms. Stamm suggests the Feit 30ft Color Changing String Lights.
“I like to run them around a space with a long string of lights,” Jorgensen said, rather than around the perimeter of an area. Use wire and zip ties to hang them. “I wouldn’t hang them over a space without a supporting cable,” he added, because they can sag or sway during a storm. String lights can also be installed along a fence or roof fascia.
Stamm loves Pottery Barn’s outdoor globe string lights, which come in 25- or 50-foot strings; hang them singly or in groups of up to three sets with a table or standing poles.
Bartron recommended the Atomi Smart Color Lights because she can control them with the Atomi app, which can be integrated with Google Assistant and Alexa.
“I love being able to adjust color, white balance and brightness,” she said. “There’s also a timer/schedule option and a simple on/off power button.”
As for more permanent hardwired fixtures, Stamm advised customers to buy the best lights they can afford, as they will last longer.
She loves the Warwick, an outdoor wall light with an aluminum frame and an iron finish from Serena & Lily.
“These patinas over time,” she said. “They can be used well in a pool area or porch.”
Jorgensen likes the Kichler Lighting Medium Outdoor Wall Lantern, available in black, bronze, aluminum, and white, and the industrial-looking Carson Gooseneck Wall Sconce, available in 13 finishes.