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Best outdoor lights: add stylish illumination to the garden

gardening etc. logo gardening etc. 7/22/2021 Amelia Smith
a close up of a light house on a table: best outdoor lights with pendant lights hanging on a pergola above a dining table © Provided by gardening etc. best outdoor lights with pendant lights hanging on a pergola above a dining table

Armed with the best outdoor lights, you can add charm and ambience to your outdoor space. Plus, as well as looking chic, they are a practicality every homeowner needs. Long evenings outside, outdoor dinners and perhaps even garden parties – whatever the occasion, outdoor lights are handy.

When it comes to finding the right lighting for your needs, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. For example, you might be keen on a solar-powered option, or maybe you'd rather opt for a battery-powered choice. Alternatively, you might be happy with a plug-in option. As you read through our guide, be sure to check out some of the key specs we've outlined. Covering everything from vintage-inspired designs to motion-sensitive tech, our selection caters to all needs. 

A quick search online and you'll be bombarded with options, so to help narrow down your search our selection considers key factors such as quality and ease, as well as unique quirks like flickering flame effects and smartphone connection. 

So, what are you waiting for? Read on below to find your go-to choice. Oh, and if you still need a few initial ideas regarding decor, check out our creative outdoor lighting ideas. 

The best outdoor lights

If you’re already a smart lighting convert, you’ll know how great it is to have so much control of your lighting, so these Philips outdoor smart wall lights should be making their way onto your wishlist. One key way to make your garden feel more like an extended living space of your home is to blend your indoor and outdoor lighting scheme. 

Control your lights from anywhere 

With the Philips Hue, you can control both indoor and outdoor lights through your smartphone, or even by asking Alexa or your Google-assistant enabled smart speaker. This means you’ll be able to turn your outdoor lights on just as easily as your living room lights, enhancing that seamless flow between inside and out.

Wide range of styles

These wall lights offer a practical lighting scheme and there are several stylish designs to choose from too. Perfectly balancing traditional glass cages with modern LED and matt black, the designs will sit back in any space, from ultra contemporary to country cottage style.

Floor lamps might not be your first thought when you think of planning a garden lighting scheme, but we love this Solar Tripod Floor Lamp for the way it creates an intimate outdoor living area after dark.

Contemporary looks 

The white opaque shade ensures there's a subtle glow from the light, while the matt wooden tripod stand gives this design a contemporary edge. Position next to an outdoor sofa as shown here, or allow it to brighten a dark corner and create a cosy evening reading space.


The energy-saving solar powered bulb can also be charged from the mains on an overcast day, and with a handy remote control and multiple light colours to choose from, this lamp will help you set the mood for any garden get together.

These outdoor pedestal lights are ideal for lighting up your driveway and the contemporary design is perfect for modern homes.

Sensor operated

With motion sensors, these lights can detect movement and will illuminate as you arrive to create a warm welcome home. Not only is this essential for unpacking the car at night, but it will also help to keep you and your home safe.

Create smart lighting

You can choose to connect these lights to the Hue Bridge, meaning you’ll be able to switch the lights on and off as you please from your smartphone. Jetting off on holiday? Create the appearance that someone’s home by lighting up your space, providing extra peace of mind while you’re away.

Can't resist a set of festoon lights? Yep, neither can we. Classy and a little old school, these festoon lights from Lights4fun have all the magic of a 1950s American fairground and then some. Ideal for patios, decking and pergolas, these are a surefire way to light up your summer. Oh, and with 20 bulbs to play with, you can illuminate enough space for a garden soirée.

Low-maintenance lighting

Thanks to the ingenious timer feature, these lights switch on and off automatically every night. Plus, they're ever-so easy to set up. Either drape them around the garden or house as you please, or, alternatively, use the side hooks to hang them in a more considered fashion.

Nostalgic style, modern design

With these, you really do get the best of both worlds. The retro bulb design is accompanied by LED technology, plus, you have almost five meters of lighting to use up. And if you still need a little extra, there's a three-meter lead cable, so you can place these lights wherever you like. 

Want to see more options? Check out our guide to the best festoon lights available right now. 

This Cox & Cox Galvanised Swan Neck Wall Light light ticks both the practical and beautiful box. Ideal for installation on the exterior walls of your house or on a garden wall, it looks just as good when it's switched off as it does illuminate after dark. 

Durable materials

Made from hard-wearing galvanised steel, this is a design that's built to last. Its matt finish brings a rustic look, while its swan neck adds a sense of elegance.

Needs to be wired to the mains

This light will need to be wired into your mains, so it's best to hire an electrician to fit this for you. Not only will a professional ensure your fitting is safe and working correctly, but they’ll ensure there's a nice neat finish, too.

Who wouldn’t want to spend an evening in this stylish garden? With this TruGlow Waterproof Outdoor Candle Trio, we're picturing cocktails aplenty and snuggles in peace once the kids have gone to bed. 

Realistic effect

These are by far the most realistic faux candles we’ve seen – it’s only by getting up close that you realise it’s not a real flame as the clever flicker is really that effective.

Comes in a handy set

These candles come in a pack of three, with each candle varying in height so they look perfect clustered together. Requiring two C batteries, they couldn’t be easier to use and they’ll last much longer than regular candles, too.

How to buy the best outdoor lights 

So, you're set on investing in some outdoor lights? Smart move. Before going full steam ahead, it's worth taking a moment to consider some of the features and functions you're after, not to mention any burning questions you might have about outdoor lighting design.

IP ratings

It’s important to check that your lights have the correct IP rating for outdoor use. We’d recommend a minimum IP rating of IP44 for wall and ceiling lights, and IP65 for decking lights, which may be subjected to blasts of water from your best pressure washer.


One of the most important considerations when choosing outdoor lights is the power source. At a time when we’re all trying to make more eco-friendly choices, it’s no surprise that solar lights are becoming increasingly popular. Leaving the panel outside in direct sunlight provides enough energy to illuminate your space at nighttime. For more energy-saving options see our full guide to the best solar lights

Battery-powered lights are great as they are completely portable and you can use them anywhere without unsightly wires. But these will need replacing often, and chances are the light will never be as bright as that created from plug-in designs.

Many of the best outdoor wall lights need to be connected to your mains electricity. This means you’ll be able to switch them on and off from inside. They also allow for a quality bright light without having to keep buying and paying for batteries. This is where it’s important to do your planning – hiring an electrician to fit your lights into walls, fences and floors will be a whole lot easier to do while your garden is being redesigned, rather than after it’s completed.

Smart lighting

Just like indoors, smart lighting is available for outside too, giving you optimum control of your surroundings. Smart tech such as the Philips Hue allows you to control your lights from your smartphone and even set a ‘holiday mode’ where lights come on at the same time each day. Anything we can do to keep our homes safe and secure is a good idea, so smart lighting really is the way forward.

Can I light my backyard without electricity?

The short answer: yes. If you opt for one of the solar- or battery-powered options, you'll be set for mains-free lighting. 


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