Best Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your Backyard Landscape

outdoor patio with low landscape lighting

Many people put a lot of time, money, and effort into their outdoor spaces. Lights are a great way to enjoy your outdoor living space at all times of the day.

We believe that less is more when it comes to lighting. Too much lighting and everything will be bathed in a generic glow, the play of light and shadows allows for a much more dramatic effect and will allow certain areas and features to be highlighted.

Outdoor Pathway Lights

There are several options for lighting your paths, walkways, and outdoor areas at night. Solar-powered lights are quick and easy, but you can also install low-voltage outdoor lights that can be hardwired into your existing electric system.

Solar Outdoor Pathway Lights

If you are looking for a quick, low maintenance solution to lighting your pathways or gardens, then solar-powered pathway lights are worth checking out. This is one of the easiest ways to quickly add some ground level light to different areas.

Most kinds will automatically turn on and off in response to the ambient outdoor lighting. Here are a few of our favorites:

These solar-powered outdoor lights come as a set of 4 and can be placed anywhere along a pathway or in a garden.

These farmhouse-style solar lights have a different and unique style from many of the other solar lights that you will typically see. At first glance, you wouldn’t even think they were solar powered lights.

Motion-sensing outdoor lights are great if you have a walkway that needs a little extra light when people are trying to navigate it. These motion sensing solar lights maintain a low brightness from dusk to dawn, then get brighter when motion is detected.

A bonus of using solar lighting? They are eco-friendly as they derive their power from the sun. Not only are they easy to install, but they are environmentally friendly lighting, sounds like a win-win!

outdoor solar pathway lights, dark sky friendly pathway lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Low Voltage Outdoor Pathway Lights

Hardwiring lights may be more labor intensive, but it greatly expands your lighting options for your outdoor space. You can find tutorials online for how to set them up yourself, or you can hire a landscape lighting expert to set them up for you.

There are countless options for outdoor pathway lights, so we have narrowed it down for you to a few of our favorites.

Modern and Minimalist Path Lights

If the traditional mushroom style pathway lights are not your thing, here are some unique and modern pathway lights.

These sleek, minimalist pathway lights look great with a concrete or paver walkway.

These modern pathway lights come in a 4 pack, so if you have a longer pathway to light, it can be helpful to get a multi-pack.

For a slightly more low profile look, these walkway lights are also a great choice.

We recommend these two-tone bronze and copper lights for unique and modern walkway lights that look just as good during the day as they do at night.

outdoor walkway lights, dark sky walkway lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Traditional Pathway Lights

There are many options when it comes to the traditional style of pathway light. Many varieties have a cone or mushroom shaped top that aims the light down toward the path where it is most useful and shields it from the viewer’s eyes to prevent glare.

These mushroom shaped walkway lights provide good illumination to the area around the light, and using multiples will light the whole length of the path.

This 4 pack of mushroom pathway lights is a modern take on the traditional mushroom style light.

Another great option is these low profile walkway lights. They have the classic mushroom shape, but are smaller and more slender, taking up less space with a more modern look.

mushroom pathway lights, dark sky walkway lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Garden Lighting

Garden lights are great for creating a focal point in your landscape lighting, and can also be placed around a water feature to create some highlights.

These mushroom garden lights are great to place around your garden to highlight any features at night. You can place them anywhere you want throughout your garden.

Sometimes you need a little more flexibility in your lighting and these adjustable height garden lights give you options between 24 and 36 inches. Great for highlighting shrubs or taller features in a garden.

garden lights, dark sky garden lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Patio Lighting Ideas

These low voltage outdoor patio lights provide nice low profile illumination for use along a patio edge, fire pit area, or outdoor kitchen.

Patio string lights are a very popular option when it comes to lighting your outdoor space. These shielded string lights are a unique twist on the classic outdoor string lights. They are a great option whether you have a large or small space.

If you are looking for a few accent lights for your deck or patio, or want to place some lights near deck stairs, these deck lights give off just enough light to bring a soft glow and add safety to any stairway.

patio lighting ideas, dark sky patio lighting
Images courtesy of the Home Depot and Lowes

Front Door Lighting

When looking for a front door or front porch lighting fixture, we highly recommend using shielded wall sconces. Using a shielded light prevents glare, so you are not blinded by the light when you are approaching. The lighting fixtures below are all shielded lights (meaning you can’t see the light source) and will provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Motion Sensing Front Porch Lights

This motion sensing front door light has a dusk to dawn sensor that provides a constant low light and then increases in brightness when motion is detected.

This farmhouse style motion sensing outdoor light gets brighter when it senses motion and dims to a low light when no motion is detected.

motion sensing front door lights, dark sky wall lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Classic Front Door Lights

For a traditional farmhouse outdoor light that comes in multiple color options, this outdoor sconce is a great choice.

This antique finish outdoor wall sconce is a timeless option for your front door lighting needs.

Another classic option that never goes out of style is this zinc coated outdoor wall light that is sure to increase the curb appeal of your home.

Our favorite traditional glass cased front door light will instantly give your home an updated look, and unlike most traditional glass cased outdoor wall lights, the bulb is hidden, so it won’t blind you as you approach.

classic front door lights, dark sky front door lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Modern Front Door Lights

For a unique and modern front door light, this fixture provides visual interest both night and day.

Another option for a modern porch light is this stylish and sleek outdoor light.

These low profile outdoor wall lights provide excellent downlighting, directing the light to where you need it most.

modern outdoor wall lights, dark sky friendly wall lights
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Motion Sensor Security Lights

People like to have outdoor motion sensing lights for a variety of reasons including safety while walking outdoors at night, and for security purposes. Not all motion sensing lights need to be high intensity security style lights. We have some great options that can provide a sense of security without blinding you or your neighbors, and that look good at the same time.

This motion sensing security light can be placed anywhere on the outside of your home. It maintains a dim light from dusk to dawn and gets brighter when it senses motion.

This farmhouse outdoor light is motion sensing and is dusk to dawn sensitive as well. It will automatically turn on at dusk, and as it gets darker out, the light will dim when it is not needed. It is motion sensing and will get brighter when it senses movement.

Another great option is this barn outdoor light that is also dusk to dawn adapted and motion sensing.

A low profile dusk to dawn security light, which is also motion sensing, is a great option when you are looking for a little extra security, but don’t want to be kept awake by bright lights all night.

With so many options now in outdoor security lighting, you are no longer stuck with the blaring prison yard style lights. There are many stylish, modern, and functional outdoor security lights.

Dark sky outdoor lights, security and motion sensing outdoor lights, dark sky friendly lighting
Images courtesy of the Home Depot

Smart Outdoor Lights

If you are into smart devices, the outdoor lighting industry has created options just for you. This motion sensing outdoor pathway light also has a camera, which includes night vision, and has a two way talk feature! They even have an app for Android and Apple phones.

Smart outdoor light with camera, motion sensing outdoor light, dark sky outdoor light
Image courtesy of the Home Depot

Dark Sky Friendly Lighting

All of the lights that we recommend can be considered dark sky friendly lighting. How can you tell if a light is dark sky friendly? When you look at the light fixture, you should not be able to see the source of the light (light bulb).


For many of these outdoor light fixtures, you can change the light bulbs allowing you to increase or decrease the amount of light to customize it to your specific needs, and only use as much light as is needed.

We understand that people like to use outdoor lights, whether for aesthetic effects, entertaining, or security, and we want to help people make informed decisions about the lights being used.

You can use outdoor lights at night while still being a friend to the starry sky movement and decreasing your contribution to light pollution!

For more information about light pollution check out our article What is Light Pollution?

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