5 Designer-Approved Lighting Ideas for a Perfect Fall Patio

Mini outdoor accent light by Kichler

Contributed by Alice Whitfield

Houzz, Sponsored Content Editor

A beautifully designed patio has a sense of magic. It draws you in and makes you want to linger as nature works its charms. It’s a backdrop for family memories — think s’mores nights and starlit movies — and, especially now, a much-needed escape. While many elements contribute to the perfect patio, a truly organized lighting plan makes the space complete, designer Jessica Nelson says. “And let’s be honest, most of us actually get a break to enjoy it after work when the sun is going down and we need lighting,” says Stephanie Lindsey, Nelson’s design partner. Keep reading to get your patio set up for fall and beyond with the right illumination.

1. Add Directional Landscape Lighting

Use strategically placed directional lighting to highlight landscape and architectural features, as well as to provide ambient light. “This is where we’d start your lighting plan to ensure all the features you want to highlight are at the forefront,” says Lindsey, who runs Etch Design Group with Nelson in Austin, Texas.

They recommend lighting fixtures that blend into your landscape, putting the focus on what’s being illuminated rather than the fixture itself. Mini accent lights in textured bronze, seen here, exemplify this approach, ceding the spotlight to the garden’s water feature, rocks, shrubbery and trees. “How you’re using the light matters the most,” Nelson says. She favors shining lights on textural surfaces to get the most visual bang for the buck.

2. Employ Higher Levels of Light

Draw the eye upward and add a decorative touch to outdoor living areas with chandeliers, pendant lighting and wall sconces. “Decorative fixtures complete the look of a space and complement elements such as furniture, greenery and architectural details,” Lindsey says. Try a cluster of pendant lights over a seating area, string bistro lights or hang a lantern-inspired chandelier over a dining table, as seen here. “Think about what frames the space the best,” Nelson says.

Add another lovely layer with wall sconces, such as the gooseneck light fixtures seen here. “We love wall sconces, because you can use them as decorative features to highlight wall patterns and designs,” Nelson says. “You can also use them as a more modern element to create ambient lighting — or the lights themselves can be a focal point.” When pairing sconces with other statement lights, match the style and the bulb color temperature for a cohesive look. “Think about scale and proportion too,” Nelson adds.

Wright outdoor hanging lantern by Kichler
LED deck light by Progress Lighting

3. Illuminate Your Walkways

A practical safety choice, outdoor step and pathway lighting also brings a polished feel to a patio. “It’s an element that takes a landscape lighting design from looking DIY to professional and complete,” Lindsey says. You can also use it to delineate specific areas or highlight unique ground elements such as steppingstones.

The minimalist LED step lights seen here shine straight down to mitigate tripping risk without blinding those climbing the stairs. “This is more about function than form, and you’ll see fixtures that blend in with your specific environment rather than stand out,” Nelson says.

4. Brighten Up With a Feature Wall

Bring a dash of panache to your patio with an accent wall adorned with lights. “It’s eye-catching and stunning when done right,” Lindsey says. Either direct lights at a high-style accent wall or use light fixtures themselves to create a gorgeous pattern. “This would be a focal spot that’s easy to see when you walk into the space,” Nelson says.

Mix lights with textural materials such as stone or wood, and don’t be afraid to play with color. Wall-mounted LED floodlights and large-format tile create an artistic feature wall in the outdoor space seen here. “The world is your oyster in this area with all the finishes, designs, colors, materials — you can really create your own custom oasis that is unlike any cookie-cutter neighborhood scene,” Lindsey says.

Landscape LED wall-mounted flood lights by Kichler
Montague fan by Progress Lighting

5. Embrace Smart Lighting

Implement smart technology so you can easily control your lights and schedule their use from your phone — perhaps for Friday happy hour at sunset? “Smart technology is in almost every area now and makes managing your outdoor spaces effortless,” Nelson says. Lindsey adds, “It provides a number of options for you to customize your space, depending on if you want to increase illumination levels for a lively dinner party or decrease them for a more intimate setting.” Smart technology extends to ceiling fans with lights as well, such as this farmhouse-style fan; you can control it via a Wi-Fi-enabled remote.

Use these lighting ideas to enjoy a beautifully illuminated patio now and later — “2020 is the year for outdoor living, so there’s no better time than now to invest in your outdoor space!” Lindsey says.

Want styling advice? Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, which has showrooms across the country, is ready to assist with both virtual and in-store appointments at select locations to help you find the perfect outdoor lighting. Learn more about these styling sessions and book yours on Ferguson’s website.

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.