Adding lighting to your patio

By The Secret Gardener


Lighting is about two things: Function and Atmosphere.

You need to have the right light for whatever you may use your patio for; dining, working, or just relaxing. But lighting is also about atmosphere. With the right lighting choices your patio can be transformed into an extension of your living room on long summer evenings.


If your patio has a roof or beams overhead, then start with a good, straightforward overhead light. This will give you enough light to use your patio functionally, whatever your needs, and can be switched off in favour of more intimate lighting when desired.

If you don’t have a roof, then wall lighting is your next stop. A couple of good wall lights at the patio doors create a warm and inviting entrance to the home, whilst also illuminating the surrounding area very well.


If you’re looking for an atmospheric spot to chill your evenings away, then try running string lights back and forth across the ceiling in a zig zag pattern. You can also do this with no roof, as long as you have something to hang the lights from on either side.

If you’re lucky enough to have a tree overhanging the patio area then you can create a magical effect by attaching string lights to the lower branches of the tree.


Fire pits and chimineas can provide a fabulously warm and natural light if you’re willing to keep a fire going. They also provide a great focal point when entertaining outdoors, and warmth that allows you to extend the outdoor season a little.

And don’t forget the simple beauty of candles. You can hang them in jam jars from tree branches and along walls and fences to dazzling effect. But their versatility means you can place them just about anywhere – and they’re cheap too.


Be careful not to create too much glare when placing outdoor lights, and think carefully about what you are going to expose. You may not want to highlight the dirty old shed in the corner at night, so think about the beam direction. If you have some lights at the bottom of the garden, make sure they are not pointing directly back at the patio. An unwanted glare will stop you from being able to see the rest of the garden in comfort.



Meet the author

The Secret Gardener

The Secret Gardener is an award-winning landscaper, specialising in bringing colour and ambience to any space.

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