Strings of outdoor lights hanging along a garden fence (Photo credit: Getty)

Six of the best garden lighting ideas

Garden lighting can transform your garden – we suggest six great methods.

Garden lighting not only creates a relaxing atmosphere, but also transforms your plot into an evening retreat.

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Fun to play around with, lighting can completely change the way you look at your outdoor space and the plants you have in it. It’ll also make it more inviting and accessible, turning it into a social place to enjoy summer evenings with friends.

To boost the impact of your garden in the evening, be sure to grow plenty of plants with white or night-scented flowers – check out these tips on creating a night garden for more ideas.

Discover some of the best garden lighting ideas and where to use them.

To boost the impact of your garden in the evening, be sure to grow plenty of plants with white or night-scented flowers.

1

Uplights and spotlights

The most versatile of garden lights, most spotlights come with spikes or wall mounts and can usually be rotated to shine in any direction. Perfect for uplighting shrubs and trees to highlight interesting bark, or below plants to bring out the foliage. Mains and solar options usually available, starting at around £25.

Grasses illuminated by a spotlight
Grasses illuminated by a spotlight
2

Lanterns and candles

Tea lights placed in jam jars and set on walls, path edges or tables are the easiest and cheapest way of lighting a garden. You can also find larger lanterns with beautiful, ornate designs. Also consider garden torches, which can burn candles or oil and may contain citronella to ward off insects. Try these tin can lanterns or glass jar lanterns.

Candles in a large garden lantern
Candles in a large garden lantern
3

Post/stick lights

The light source of a stick light sits just above ground and shines outwards and downwards, so they’re perfect for a path, steps or at pond edges. In a long garden, stick lights can tantalisingly make a destination point in the distance. Prices start at around £20, with mains and solar options available.

A post light in a border of white flowers
A post light in a border of white flowers
4

Fairy lights

Dangled over trees and shrubs, or draped over a pergola, fairy lights add a summer party atmosphere to the garden. As well as strings of fairy lights, you can now buy them in rectangular nets, which add more volume to the display and makes hanging them particularly easy. Solar, battery or mains, from £10.

Fairy lights on pyramids of box
Fairy lights on pyramids of box
5

Festoon lights

Strings or festoon lights give gardens a certain party feel. They come in white or mixed colours and look best when strung from one structure to another, or along the edge a pergola where people are mingling. Some festoon lights are pretty bright and give plenty of light for barbecue areas and drinks tables. Mains powered, starting at £20.

Strings of outdoor lights hanging along a garden fence (Photo credit: Getty)
Strings of outdoor lights hanging along a garden fence (Photo credit: Getty)
6

Light-up features

These days you can introduce garden lights that are formed into pieces of garden furniture, containers or large shapes like spheres and cubes. These are fun items that look great in a small garden or in a seating area towards the back of a larger garden. Most are mains-powered, starting at £40.

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A light-up garden planter
A light-up garden planter
Colourful paper lanterns around garden lights
Colourful paper lanterns around garden lights

Safety considerations

  • Permanently installed mains lighting systems need to be installed by a professional electrician – most require a buried cable, which needs to be done to regulation safety standards
  • Installing solar lights is a safe DIY project as the solar panel charges batteries without mains power
  • Be careful with candles if small children or pets are around
  • Be sensitive towards neighbours and wildlife – turn off the lights when you go to bed

Garden lighting not only creates a relaxing atmosphere, but also transforms your plot into an evening retreat.

Fun to play around with, lighting can completely change the way you look at your outdoor space and the plants you have in it. It’ll also make it more inviting and accessible, turning it into a social place to enjoy summer evenings with friends.

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