Nightscaping: 4 Ways to Make Your Backyard Lit

backyard with nightscaping in pool, outdoor kitchen, and fire pit
Picture of The Green Scene
The Green Scene

Landscaping & Swimming Pools

Ideally, we’d all get to enjoy our backyards during the day, but sometimes the business of life gets in the way. Work, school, appointments, and all the various errands from grocery shopping to running to the post office can impede your daytime relaxation. Many homeowners find themselves finally coming home after dark with no daylight left to enjoy their backyards. Remedy this by “nightscaping” or incorporating outdoor lighting throughout your outdoor space!

4 Ways to do Nightscaping Outdoor Lighting in Your Backyard

LED Pool Lighting

Contemporary pool with LED lighting

LED pool lighting serves your swimming pool both functionally and aesthetically. Not only does lighting let you continue to enjoy your pool long after the sun goes down, but it brings your pool’s design to a whole new level of wow.

Well-designed lighting placement of low voltage color-changing light fixtures can be simple and subtle or a wild party show.  Modern controllers come with phone apps that allow you to choose any one of 20 fixed colors and a variety of preset shows.  The latest innovation from Hayward Omni-Logic allows you to dim or brighten the lights with a slide bar on your phone or speed/slow down the shows.  Our favorite show is called tranquility and it fades from cloud white to sky blue to cobalt blue and back again.  

With methodically placed, well-lit LED pool lights, it doesn’t matter if it’s light or dark out. Your pool is ready to enjoy any time of the day! Take advantage of the versatility of LED lighting to highlight your swimming pool’s best design elements and add to water features like bubblers and waterfalls to really make them pop.

Outdoor Kitchen Lighting

outdoor kitchen with outdoor lighting

One of the best meals to enjoy in your outdoor kitchen is dinner! But dinner isn’t always finished (or even started) before the sun sets. That’s why lighting in your outdoor kitchen is vital.

In your outdoor kitchen design, you’ll want to be sure to hang overhead lights that provide optimal lighting for food prep and grilling.

Fiber optic lighting is another nightscaping method that enhances an outdoor kitchen space after dark. Running fiber optic lighting throughout a custom cast concrete countertop with recycled glass creates a visually stunning effect.

However, fiber optic lighting can also be used to help make your outdoor kitchen usable and functional after dark. Underlighting counters offer more visibility, so that you can still easily see as you chop vegetables for grilling or preparing drinks.

Bistro Lights

Outdoor kitchen and patio with bistro lights and fire pit

One of the easiest ways to add night lighting to your backyard is by stringing up bistro lights over a sitting area. Bistro lights give off a soft, warm glow, creating a cozy ambiance. 

However, in order to best utilize bistro lighting, placement does matter (as it does with all outdoor lighting). People often make the mistake of stringing them up into trees or twisting them around posts. This isn’t the most effective method, because leaves and posts can actually block the bistro lights, keeping your backyard in the dark.

In our experience, we’ve found that the best place to hang bistro lights are in clean lines over an open space, so the lights have a clear path to shine. We focus on attaching the lights between a pergola or patio cover over an outdoor kitchen to the backside of a house, creating the perfect space for setting up an outdoor dining set or lounge chairs for relaxing after dark.

Landscape Lighting

nightscaping outdoor lighting in front walkway of home

Adding landscape lighting not only creates a welcoming glow to both your front walkways and backyards, it can also increase the level of safety and security in your home.

In his LandscapingNetwork article, “Landscape Lighting Benefits,” Green Scene backyard designer Scott Cohen states, “The first thing I look at when designing landscape lighting is safety. I look at lighting the steps and paths and I pay special attention to where the shadows will fall. I always want to light from the side or from below to make sure shadows don’t obscure vision.”

When it comes to landscape lighting and security, Cohen adds, “Once safety is addressed I consider security. I look for places where people could hide. Not only does lighting deter prowlers, it creates a feeling of comfort for guests as well. Dark pockets in a yard can present an undertone of fear, whereas a well lit landscape provides a more relaxing environment. How you feel about a space can be just as important as how it looks.”

When combined all together, nightscaping could make your backyard lit, allowing you to spend even more time in your backyard. Learn about more ways to use outdoor lighting here or subscribe to our YouTube channel for ideas.

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