Festive Backyard Lighting Ideas

For the next few weeks, it may seem like you’re holding a constant “open house” between planned events, holiday gatherings, family members visiting from out of town, or college kids home for winter break (not to mention their friends who might drop by). Keep your outdoor living spaces company-ready with these festive lighting ideas.

Decorative String Lights

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Today’s string light options are literally endless. Instead of choosing holiday-specific string lighting, you may want to consider choosing decorative string lights that can stay up all year long. Decorative string lights not only add a festive atmosphere, the chosen style can help define the design scheme of your outdoor living space. World Market offers an eclectic mix of string lighting options that vary from whimsical holiday themes to designs inspired by various cultures around the globe.

Classic String Lights

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You can’t go wrong with classic string lights. They’re available everywhere and are great for wrapping around posts, lining porch ceilings, framing doors, or decorating walls to create an instant party atmosphere. Because of the simplicity of their design, they can be used alone or in combination with other lighting options without conflicting with an existing design scheme.

Hanging Lanterns

Whether you choose store-bought lanterns or decide to take on a DIY crafting project, hanging lanterns around your outdoor living space is a shabby-chic way to add festive outdoor lighting. Lanterns can use either real or battery-operated candles. Just be sure to keep safety in mind with real candles and remember to extinguish them at the end of the night. For DIY ideas, a quick search on Pinterest will get your creative juices flowing.

Colored Bulbs

Colored bulbs are a fun way to turn any outdoor light fixture into a holiday-themed decoration — including sconces, post lights, tabletop lamps, and flood lights. Home Depot offers a variety of colored bulbs for both interior and exterior lighting. Mix and match colors for a vibrant look, or choose all one color to create a stylized monochromatic lighting design.

Hardscape Lighting Ideas

November 6th marks the end of Daylight Saving Time, when it’s once again time to turn the clocks back an hour. With darkness falling earlier in the evening, it’s time to explore a variety of outdoor lighting ideas that add ambiance, increase safety, and most of all allow you to get more use out of your outdoor living spaces. Whether you’re lighting an existing outdoor living area or planning a new one, here are a few ideas on how to light up your space.

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This lovely outdoor living room uses lighting techniques inspired by nature. The focal light emanating from the fire is enhanced by votive candles and low-voltage hardscape lighting that’s built into the walls of the outdoor fireplace. In the surrounding landscape, ambient in-ground lighting reflects throughout the picturesque waterfall. Uplights used for the shrubbery and trees add an ethereal glow.

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Fire can be used in a number of creative ways. This outdoor living room uses a European style fireplace and fire bowls that are all operated off of gas and can be turned on remotely. For additional fire elements, tiki torches are placed around the backyard to add a festive design element that coordinates with the “fire” design scheme.

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This design incorporates a variety of antique brass light fixtures, including attractive pathway lights in the planter beds and coordinating low-voltage hardscape lighting along each wall.

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Columns lights will both dress up a wall and provide additional lighting, as illustrated with the seat wall pictured below. This design also includes hardscape and overhead lighting in the bar area that allows for increased visibility behind the bar, without overpowering the fire pit area.

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Strategic use of pathway lights adds both character and an element of safety for a walkway or patio. The color of the light fixtures selected below incorporates complementary tones to those in the pavers, creating a cohesive design.

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In the poolscape below, low-voltage hardscape lighting was installed in a pattern that complements the sweeping arches throughout the design. To improve the safety, lights are installed on all steps and elevation changes, in addition to the seat walls. All lights in the hardscaped areas face downward, with upward lights facing the trees. The combination creates a subdued and cozy atmosphere.

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Belgard Elements, like the Bordeaux Grill Island pictured below, can be ordered with low-voltage hardscape lighting pre-installed, which adds to the look of the piece and also fulfills a utilitarian purpose.

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String lighting can be a festive way to add additional lighting and comes in a variety of styles to complement a wide range of design schemes. The outdoor pavilion below incorporates simple string lighting that creates a festive atmosphere without detracting from the richness of the rustic design elements. Additional lighting comes from pendants, sconces and hardscape lighting.

Fall Back Outdoor Lighting Ideas

This week, we once again had to “fall back” as Daylight Saving Time came to an end. This time of year typically has wonderful weather for outdoor living in most areas of the country — no more hot steamy nights, yet not quite cold enough to send everyone scurrying indoors for warmth. But in order to take full advantage of your outdoor living space once the clock has been turned back, it’s time to invest in outdoor lighting. Here are some of our favorite modern ideas for illuminating your outdoor living space.

Illuminated planters

Flower pot by day, light source by night, illuminated planters are a chic and modern way to shed a little light on your outdoor living space. Outdoor-rated LED illuminated pots are available from a number of retailers in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Or for the DIY-er, a quick browse through Pinterest will help you generate unlimited ideas for your own unique creations.

Pendant lights

Today’s trendy outdoor living rooms and kitchens emulate the look of their indoor counterparts. One of the easiest ways to create an indoor look for an outdoor room is to install outdoor-rated pendant lights over bars, coffee tables, and dining areas. With thousands of fixtures available, design options are endless. In addition, the nature of designing outdoors allows for bolder, and more creative choices.

Hardscape lighting

If you’re planning to install pavers, garden walls, or Belgard Elements kitchen or fireplace units, be sure to plan a lighting scheme prior to installation. Low voltage lighting can be affixed directly into the hardscapes during installation to provide attractive ambient lighting throughout your outdoor living areas.

Hardscape lighting

String lights

Nothing says “outdoor entertaining” like string lights. From bare bulbs to Japanese lanterns, today’s string lights are available in a variety of motifs that complement any outdoor living design scheme and add a festive atmosphere any time of year. To put up permanent string lights, consider having an electrician install outlets into the eaves of soffits and porches with a conveniently located light switch to turn everything on or off at once.

Entertaining Ideas for the
End-of-Summer Bash

As the lazy days of summer begin to come to an end, it’s time to plan for the end-of-summer bash. Here are a few of our favorite decorations and accessories for the occasion.

LanternsFestive Lighting

Lanterns add character, ambiance and illumination to outdoor living spaces. These lanterns from Restoration Hardware can either be placed on a flat surface or hung from tree limbs or porch rafters. For safety reasons, consider choosing flameless candles for your lanterns. Just remember not to leave flameless candles where rain can get to them and destroy the electronics.

Outdoor FanKeeping it Cool

This remote controlled oscillating fan provides both an attractive accent piece and additional comfort to summer outdoor living. Built-in lighting enhances the comfort for evening gatherings. The space-saving tower design and quiet motor allows for optimal placement near sitting areas. In addition to cooling things down, the air movement also helps keep bugs away from your party guests.

Mobile Brick OvenNow, That’s Hot!

Turn your outdoor space into a gourmet outdoor kitchen with this powerful, yet economical, brick oven. Available in either domed or pyramid styles in either bronze or silver vein, the mobile version of Belgard’s brick oven offers the flavor of wood-fired cooking with a small footprint and is available in classic wood-burning and hybrid wood/gas models. The movable cart allows you reposition your outdoor kitchen to suit your party’s needs.

Yummy Goodness

Nothing ensures the success of a party like simple and tasty appetizers. This cast iron cheese baking dish from Crate & Barrel allows you to bake brie and other cheeses on the grill, where they can be infused with smoke to add additional flavor. The heavy duty two-piece baker can also accommodate savory or sweet sauces to enhance the decadence.

Teardrop Beverage ContainerElegant Refreshments

What makes a party festive? Why festive drinks, of course. This teardrop shaped beverage dispenser with solid wood pine lid provides an elegant container for your party cocktails and brings distinguished formal beauty to your outdoor space. For ideas on how to fill this 2.5 gallon container with festive liquid refreshment, check out our crisp summer cocktail blog.

Eye-Catching Accessories

If you’re looking for a unique way to serve hors d’oeuvres or dinner rolls, then look no further. This playful ocean-themed Pottery Barn bowl attaches to any patio umbrella pole to provide a serving spot for either a bowl or loose rolls without taking up counter or table space.

Designing with Fire

A gas fire table can make a unique gathering spot.
A gas fire table can make a unique gathering spot.

Research continues to name fire features as one of the top “must haves” in modern outdoor living, making designing with fire a hot topic. In the early days of the trend, the fire feature was typically an add-on freestanding element, like a ceramic chiminea or metal fire bowl, which could be easily moved to other positions as needed. However, the trend has evolved over time to include more built-in permanent fixtures — such as a custom outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or gas fire table — which require more planning in terms of the overall design scheme of the outdoor living area.

Safety First

When planning a permanent fire feature, there are a number of safety issues to consider. Before beginning, check with local municipalities regarding safety codes to avoid costly design mistakes. Never underestimate the value of a professional plumber when running and installing gas lines. Also, be sure the contractor uses only non-combustible materials, and remember to include a fire-resistant liner when building a fire pit over existing hardscapes. This is especially important if the fire pit is on top of granite or limestone, which can retain water and explode when overheated.

Location Location Location

This outdoor living room incorporates several units from the Bristol Belgard Elements collection of prefabricated outdoor living features.
The design of this outdoor living room centers on the Bristol fireplace and incorporates several other pieces from the Belgard Elements Collection.

A fire feature will be the visual anchor of the design. When determining the best placement, it’s best to check for building code restrictions. Although it varies by municipality, gas-burning fire features can typically be placed just about anywhere, but most building codes require a wood-burning feature to be placed at least ten feet from any vertical structure. When using a wood-burning fire feature, it’s also a good idea to test wind patterns in the yard with a portable grill to check smoke flow direction and avoid choking out seating areas. Making the fire feature the furthest design element from the home will create a dramatic view and take into account both safety and functionality.

Integrated Design

Once placement of the fire feature has been determined, additional hardscapes can be integrated into the design to complement the feature and create a cohesive outdoor living space. Paver patterns and retaining wall designs can mimic the lines of the fire feature, delineate separate gathering areas, or direct traffic flow. One option is to create a paver pattern in front of a fireplace that mimics the look of a rug. Seat walls can also be incorporated into the design but should be placed at least four feet from the fire feature to maintain a comfortable distance from the heat source. It’s important to consider how the space will be used and remember to leave room for furniture and walking space.

A faux "area rug" of Mega-Arbel pavers break of the design of this Urbana patio to enhance the "living room" concept of this design.
A faux “area rug” of Mega-Arbel pavers in front of the hearth break up the design of this Urbana Stone patio to enhance the “living room” concept.

Finishing Touches

A number of elements can be added to the design that will make the space more functional, as well as add ambiance. Low voltage lighting can be installed directly onto the fire feature, as well as nearby walls, pillars, and around landscaping to increase both visibility and mood. Outdoor rated music speakers can be installed at various locations around the space to allow for a consistent sound level without bothering the neighbors. And, custom cushions added to seat walls will add both color and comfort.

Product Spotlight: Brighton Fireplace Series

Summer is winding down, which means fall is quickly approaching. Crisp leaves, shorter days, and cool nights are on the horizon.

But colder weather doesn’t have to sentence you to an eternity cooped up inside. In fact, there’s no better time to grab the family and lounge next to a warm fire! Our Brighton Fireplace Series is just what you need to make sure your outdoor nights don’t end.

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We know money doesn’t grow on trees, so we created the Brighton Series to address the need for a lower-priced fireplace set. Featuring the same 36’’ firebox as the other fireplace collections, the Brighton is a great option for those who want to enjoy an outdoor fire without breaking the bank.

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The Brighton Fireplace is available in wood-burning, natural gas, and liquid propane configurations, and can come with or without a chimney/top. Measurements vary depending on installation, but you can plan for your fireplace to be approximately 3.3’D X 4.3’W X 8.5’H.

The series also includes beautiful wood boxes sold in units of two that measure approximately 2.3’D X 3’W X 2.9’H. Don’t worry about fetching wood from another storage area when you’re running low—keep it right next to your Brighton fireplace!

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When planning for your fireplace, make sure you keep the rest of your hardscape in mind. We have a multitude of brick hues like tan, slate, mist, or haze to match your current outdoor theme. Or, use a variety of shades to give your fireplace added dimension! We have everything you need to be sure your fireplace complements your hardscape.

Fall is on its way, and you don’t want to miss out on those crisp nights next to a warm fire. So, make sure you’re ahead of the game and order your Brighton Fireplace today!