There’s something special about parties that include outdoor space. During the day, people can soak up sunshine and enjoy the fresh air.
But when the sun goes down, you need some outdoor lighting to keep the party going.
Choosing how to light the great outdoors for parties can be tricky. Even if you use a moon calendar to hold the party during a full moon, you can’t count on it being a cloudless night.
You need to add some lighting. And maybe more than one kind. For example, you might want bright light near the food and subtle lightning around seating.
But don’t worry, we can shed some light on the topic! Read on for six ways to add light to your next outdoor party.
1. Fake Fire Pit
If you have enough space, adding a temporary fake fire pit can provide light and draw people together.
You can find a variety of styles and sizes at home improvement stores. Some use electricity to create the illusion of flames and can work well on patios. If you do choose an electric fire pit, make sure the electrical cord is secured with reflective tape to prevent tripping.
But if you’re feeling creative, there are many ways to make a fake fire pit that adds a comforting element to your party decor.
There is nothing more classic than outdoor lighting from lanterns.
The most common type of lantern uses battery-powered LED bulbs in the shape of a tealight or flame.
A benefit of lanterns is that they can be used in different ways. Hang them from tree branches. Sit them on tables. Place them on flat ground near pools, at the edge of lawns, or along the edge of the house.
If you use them on the ground, be sure to keep them away from heavy foot traffic to prevent falls. If you use them to create a lit “runway” through a garden or across a lawn, keep them secure by looping string through the handle then “pegging” it like a tent.
3. String and Rope Lights
String and rope lights are the most versatile option for outdoor lighting. In basic terms, they’re strands of small light bulbs along lengths of coated wire. String lights have the bulbs (often in ornamental shapes) hanging from the wire. Rope lights have the bulbs encased in continuous pieces of translucent plastic.
String lights have been around for ages in the form of Christmas decoration.
But the introduction of LED bulbs boosted the year-round popularity of strings of lights and made rope lights possible.
LED lighting is safer than incandescent because it emits less heat. It’s also more cost-effective and energy-efficient.
String lights are great for spanning spaces such as patios, across pools, or between trees. Place them so that the decorative bulbs are at least two feet above head level.
Rope lights can be placed anywhere. Secure them around door jambs or archways. Run them along the underside of deck or terrace edges in multi-level outdoor spaces. Wrap them around tree trunks or weave them through gazebos.
Many people leave rope lights in place after the party. This is a great way to continue enjoying them. Just make sure they are weatherproof.
Both string and rope lights make adding different colored lighting easy. You can even get rope lights that cycle through multiple colors, for outdoor lighting that creates a unique atmosphere
4. Water Reflections
Do you have a pool or water feature where you’re holding your party?
If so, consider using the reflective properties of water to enhance your outdoor lighting.
Place lightweight plastic trays and tealights atop the water to create an elegant and romantic vibe. For the best effect, use clusters of 3-5 tealights and space them out.
If you have a pool but don’t want people swimming in it during the party, floating tea lights is a great option. Tealights spread out across the surface create a gentle but clear “no swimming” sign.
But this kind of outdoor lighting isn’t just for people with pools. You can use tealights in glass bowls filled with water to gain the benefit of water reflections.
Get creative and include water-holding items in your decor and use them to float lights. For example, use rain barrels for a party with a rustic theme. Or, use colorful, large plastic tubs for a beach-themed gathering.
5. Garden Lights
Adding points of light throughout a garden or other landscaped area can be practical as well as engaging.
Well-positioned garden lights can help guest find pathways or guide them toward activities in another part of the yard or property.
When used in gardens they can highlight especially beautiful trees, shrubs, or flowers. Space them far enough apart that their light doesn’t overlap to get the best effect.
A bonus of installing garden lights is that you can continue using them after the party. For that reason, choose a style that suits the everyday aesthetic of your home and landscaping.
Note that some garden lights require electrical wiring. Installation isn’t difficult, but it should involve a qualified electrician. It’s also more difficult to rearrange the lights so take some time to plan the arrangement.
But there are also solar-powered garden lights. Installation involves little more than securing them in the ground like a stake. And there’s no maintenance or worrying about turning them off or on.
They automatically charge during the day, and sensors trigger them to turn on as the daylight wanes.
For formal or semi-formal outdoor parties with a dining table or bistro tables for people to eat together, illuminated centerpieces are a great idea.
Flowers are always a nice touch to any table and it’s easy to add battery-powered LED lights to enhance floral arrangements. Using candles is generally a bad idea.
Most home improvement and big box stores offer a wide selection of single, battery-powered LED lights. They range in shape and size from tiny icicles to huge spheres.
There’s no shortage of internet videos that walk you through how to make a centerpiece with lights. So, have fun with it.
Just remember that the LED lights can never be in contact with water so you might want to stock up on floral foam.
Closing Thought About Outdoor Lighting
Adding light to your outdoor space can help turn a good party into a great one.
Remember always to put safety first and think of your guests’ comfort. Avoid putting bright lights at eye-level. Don’t create tripping hazards or put hot, exposed incandescent bulbs within ordinary reach.
Don’t limit yourself to only adding light to the back of the house where most parties happen. Simple lighting in front yards and around front doors can add a welcoming touch.
Also consider reusability, which improves affordability.
At Birddog Lighting, we have seen some astonishing transformations of space through the use of LED lighting.
Whether you’re decorating for a party or everyday life, you can’t beat the ease, safety, affordability, and range of aesthetic appeal of LED lights.
To learn more about LED rope and strip lights and how to install them for your next party, check out our FAQ page.
Then visit our online store to get your new outdoor lighting today!