There is nothing better than summer time and entertaining guests and family in the backyard. Actually, entertaining guests in the cooled off summer evenings may be even better! Summer evenings are the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the ambiance, mystique and perfect temperatures for enjoying the night sky and your friends all at once. Illuminating your outdoor spaces where you dine can often be a challenge. Whether you are illuminating summer kitchen preparation areas, or you are lighting up poolside tables, here are tips to help you choose the perfect fixtures.

  • Illuminate outdoor spaces for ambiance: Aside from the functionality of outdoor lighting, the reality of playful fixtures that create ambiance and set the mood the night ahead are perfect for summer nights. Decide what type of ambiance you’d like to create. For intimate settings, lanterns on individual tables or stand-alone lamps surrounding lounging sitting areas are ideal. For more playful areas, around the pool deck or even in your yard or landscaped areas, consider tiki torches, string lights from the trees, or even light up table umbrellas with Christmas lights in white or summer colors!
  • Lighting food preparation areas: Remember that lighting in food areas is about ambiance, but more importantly, safety. Ensure areas around summer kitchens, barbecue grills and outdoor sinks are well lit, and shadows and dark areas are kept to a minimum. Overhead ambient lighting is essential, and hung from a canopy, pergola, or shining from an adjacent roof line may be helpful. For areas that have plenty of counter area, consider lanterns or flameless candles that are battery powered. Flameless candles keep the lighting soft, but are safe for busy communal areas, and are at no harm if accidentally knocked over.
  • Define your areas with varied lighting sources: Eating areas don’t have to be limited to tables and chairs; often pool parties involve guests walking around with a plate in hand. Therefore, your entire outdoor space should be considered. For walkways and sidewalks, landscape lighting placed along the pathways, will guide guests to their destination. For cozy and more intimate settings, consider firepits, chimineas or outdoor fireplaces to provide light from the crackling fire. The beauty of outdoor spaces is the variety of options, which can be changed depending on the formality of your entertaining. Who doesn’t love roasting a tasty treat over an open fire?
  • Lighting on a budget: Depending on your budget, you can still create an outdoor area that is admired and appreciated by your guests, without having to spend a lot of money. String lights are extremely affordable, and they cover a large area without having to purchase large outdoor fixtures. For many homes, hard wiring landscape fixtures around the home can be expensive and use costly energy. Consider using solar powered landscape fixtures, or opt for light sensor varieties. There are many options on the market to fit any budget and lighting style.

Lighting your outdoor entertaining areas can open up the dining experience for your guests, and create an ambiance you forget about in the daytime. Summertime is the perfect time to explore your outdoor home and make the most of it! After all, once the summer and fall is over, you will wish you spent more time exploring the endless possibilities of your outdoor home. After all, what is summertime for anyway? Enjoy it!

Freshome readers, share with us your creative ideas for lighting your outdoor entertaining areas!