Tag Archives | outdoor lighting

DIY Decor Ideas Using Outdoor String Party Lights

Outdoor string lights are great for decorating an outdoor party because they are lightweight and inexpensive. Another great light fixture to use are paper lanterns (DIY Paper Lanterns: Our 5 Favorite Posts). Here are a few ideas on how you can create unique shades for outdoor string party lights and different ways you can use them to decorate an outdoor space.

Origami String Lights

origami lights

Over at the Wit and Whistle website, they have created paper origami shades to cover LED string lights. The great thing about this idea is that you can create any sort of origami shapes from hearts, to flowers and fit them onto the string lights. LED string lights were used as they give off less heat – link.

Ping Pong

DIY ping pong lights

Steven over at Instructables has taken plain colored ping pong balls, and multicolored string lights to create these colorful DIY string lights –link.

Dixie Paper Cup Party Lights

Dixie Cup Lights

Create party lights by using Dixie cups and scrapbook paper to create a garland – link.

Decorating With String Lights

canopy lights

There are a number of ways you can use string lights to decorate an outdoor party. They can be simply wrapped around railing, trees, or hung over fences or bushes. You can create a curtain of lighting by hanging a number of string lights side by side. Another idea would be to hang string lights in rows overhead which will create a starry night effect. They can be hung overhead either from the walls of the house, from trees, or plant a pole into the soil to hang them from. If you hang the string lights upwards onto a pole you can create a nice canopy/tent effect.

Alternative: Floating Balloon Lights

floating light balloons

You can easily create festive and colorful party lights by putting glow sticks or battery powered LED lights inside of balloons and blowing them up. These glowing balloons can then be scattered around outdoors (they will even float in pools). Or if you want to go a step further, look to rent a helium tank and buy helium specific balloons from a party store to create floating glowing lights, which can be tied down around the backyard.

 

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How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting In No Time

Outdoor lighting gives you the opportunity to totally transform the look of your house after daylight as well as increase its safety. Much more aesthetically pleasing than those harsh and obtrusive floodlights, this guide will show you how to install low voltage outdoor lighting quickly and easily.

low voltage lighting

The Transformer: Step 1

low voltage transformer First, select your transformer. Low voltage lighting is easier and safer to work with than interior lighting because the transformer lowers the standard 120-volt wattage to a harmless 12 volts. Choose a transformer that allows you to connect several cables. Mount it either on a stake or on the outside of your home, making sure that it is no less than one foot above the ground and no more than one foot away from your ground-fault circuit-interrupter outlet. Some contain photocells that require exposure to direct sunlight. Make sure it is turned off while you install it. You may also want to add a waterproof covering to the outlet for additional weather-proofing.

Lighting Ideas: How To Install Low Voltage Lighting Step 2

low voltage light fixtures Next, plan the design of your lighting. Do you want to optimally light landscaping and foliage? Do you just want to light a walkway for safety purposes? Do you have ponds or a pool that could benefit from some nighttime lighting? Create a comprehensive lighting plan that includes all lights for paths and their surrounding greenery, offset lighting for footpaths, tree-mounted spotlights for mimicking moonlight, and/or waterproof fixtures for aquatic purposes that you may need. Look into low voltage outdoor lighting kits for hassle-free pre-selected packages and supplies.

For some ideas on what low voltage outdoor lights to use have a look at our related posts:

Wiring Up Your Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting Parts

The fixtures you buy will have instructions included that will tell you the proper gauge of cable to use. Layout your light fixtures beginning with the farthest away from the transformer and work your way towards it. Once you have placed all your fixtures, leaving about eight to ten inches between each source, and laid out the wiring you can connect the wires to the transformer. Remove about three quarters of an inch of insulation from the cables and insert the exposed wires underneath the terminal screws located at the bottom of your transformer.

Burying The Wires and Connecting To The Light Fixtures

Now you can bury the cables in a shallow trench (it only needs to be about three to six inches deep). Be sure to leave some slack and a small amount of cable sticking up out of the dirt at each juncture so that you can easily link the fixtures. Attach all lights and cables according to manufacturer specifications. Turn on the transformer to ensure everything is in working order. It is best to check the functioning at night to determine if everything is to your liking. Then, push all those visible cable connectors about two inches into the soil.

So there you have it, a basic guide on installing low voltage landscape lighting.

image credits: Landscape Design Advisor,  Tyler

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6 Simple Artistic and Decorative Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Along with functional exterior lights such as driveway lighting, wall lights, deck and stair lights, there is a more decorative side to outdoor lighting. By adding a mixture of functional and decorative light fixtures an outdoor space will be filled with a variety of lighting effects making it more visually appealing. Below are 6 decorative outdoor lighting ideas. Ranging from wind powered lights to Sun Jars – these are simple ideas that can be used in any garden.

String Lights: String lights are one of the most common ways to use lighting to decorate a garden. They are more known as the green and red Christmas variety, but other colors are available. White and yellow colored outdoor string lights can provide soft year round decorative lighting. You can find versions which have glass globes or Japanese style lanterns attached to them. If you want to make it even easier to use these in your backyard, then take a look at solar powered versions – this will eliminate the need for a power source.

Floating Lights: If you have any water features outdoors, such as a swimming pool, pond or fountain, then floating solar light fixtures will work well. At night these fixtures will wash the calm moving water with glow of lighting. Some will even change color – creating outdoor mood lighting. There are upside down floating lights, that allow you to see the fishes in a pond at night. Some are shaped like water lilies.

The Firewinder is an artistic eco lighting fixture. Unlike the solar powered garden lights common today, the Firewinder is powered by wind. At night you can see the lights spinning around, synchronized with the speed of the wind. It can be hung on a tree, a wall or a post. $59.99 available from ThinkGeek.

LED Glowing Garden Pots combine the normal flower pot with lighting. These are light weight pots that come in a range of colors and have a light installed within them. One company that makes them is Rotoluxe. They have a range of different shapes and sizes with prices ranging from $150 to $200. Take a look here for our Modern Exterior Lighting Guide on Rotoluxe’s glowing pots.

Sun Jars are elegant Mason jars that are fitted with an LED light and solar cells. At night they softly glow much like, as the name suggests, a little sun. As they are waterproof, they are ideal for the outdoors, but can be placed on a windowsill indoors. A number of these spread around the garden will create a magical space. $24-28 from ThinkGeek.

Accent Lighting: The last of our outdoor lighting ideas is to use a décor piece and place lights to highlight it. For example a wall sculpture, a bird bath or a mini statue can have a light fixture directed towards it to showcase it at night. Or exterior lighting can be used to illuminate a tree or a flower bush. This helps create focal points in a garden.

 

Related Posts:

L&L’s Photo Guide To Outdoor Patio Lighting Ideas

Home Lighting Ideas: From The Living Room To The Bedroom, The Kitchen To The Outdoors

Outdoor Pathway Lighting Ideas: From Post Lights To String and Tiki Torches

Design Guide: 10 Simple Wireless Deck Lighting Ideas

 

L+L LOOK BOOK: Driveway Lighting Photos

Here in our LOOK BOOK, you can find inspiration for driveway lighting ideas.  Here you will find a number of images showing different ways to light a driveway and a range of different driveway lighting fixtures.

Images For Driveway Lighting Ideas

driveway tress lights This driveway is lit up by the spill over from the accent lighting of the trees and the house facade.  photo by: OLP of San Antonio & the Hill Country, LLC

driveway at night Post lights showing the changes in direction of the driveway. photo by: OLP of San Antonio & the Hill Country, LLC

house light piler Two stone pillars (left one is out of view) with lights attached to them, provide enough lighting for this short driveway. Lighting on the house provides additional ambient lighting. photo by: OLP of San Antonio & the Hill Country, LLC

path lighting Low and warm lighting,  for this longer driveway. photo by: trevhunter

house uplights Lighting the front of the house, done here with uplights, not only showcases and makes the house look elegant, but also provides driveway entrance lighting. photo by: OLP of San Antonio & the Hill Country, LLC

medium post lights Tall post lights being used. photo by: wheany

garage lights If you only have a short driveway, then you will only need light fixtures at the ‘destination’ (shown here as the garage entrance), just as long as there is enough street light to light the entrance of the driveway. photo by: ktgeek

gate entrance One way to light the entrance of your home’s (or mansion’s) driveway, if you have a gate, is to point uplights at the pillars. photo by: Tancread

Driveway Lighting Fixtures

gate lantern A lantern sits atop a gate pillar providing light at the entrance. photo by: Keith Williamson

pole light Tall pole lights work great for the entrance or the driveway itself. photo by: rosipaw

solar light Short solar post lights are an easy, inexpensive, and fast way of lighting the edge of a driveway. photo by: Kyle Rove
garage If you have a short driveway, light fixtures attached to the house or garage entrance can provide enough lighting. photo by: Jeenzy

pole light A medium size pole light, with it’s base lovely decorated with a small bed of flowers. photo by: Andrew|W

A more creative and whimsical way of lighting a path. photo by: -Prescott