Ideas to incorporate patio lighting

Updated Oct 24, 2023
Outdoor fireplace and patio area
Mid South Night Lights

When it comes to lighting up an outdoor living area, great patio lighting is imperative. It not only makes the space beautiful in the evening hours, but it makes it functional, too.

Jesse Wisley, the owner of Mid South Night Lights in Memphis, Tennessee, shares some of his best ideas for incorporating patio lighting.

Use built-in lighting

Wisley says that one technique he likes to use around hardscaped areas is built-in lighting.  Lights can be built right into steps, retaining walls, and more. You can even build lighting right into the patio itself. 

"We also like to incorporate niche lighting around specific features of the outdoor living area that the client wants to highlight," Wisley adds.

Light up the landscape

Oftentimes, the areas around the patio contribute to the patio's appeal. Wisley says that they like to light up the landscaping around a patio so that plants can be enjoyed in the evening hours. Lighting up trees and shrubs also gives them a dramatic look and they can take on a whole new aesthetic appeal after dark. 

Uplighting can be used to showcase a tree's beauty. With uplighting, the light fixture is mounted on the ground and the light is directed upward. This can make branches or the canopy of the tree take on a whole new look.

Take advantage of downlighting

Wisley says that one of his favorite lighting techniques is downlighting.

With downlighting, the lights are mounted above the space (usually in a tree), and the light shines down. This can be a really great approach to light up a patio area in a subtle and appealing way. It is so much less abrasive than having a spotlight shining on your guests, says Wisley.

"We also like to use downlighting to light up a pathway and make sure people can see where they're going," he says.

Add lighting control

Finally, Wisley adds that lighting controls can also take a patio space to a whole new level. Clients love the idea that they can customize their lighting settings for any gathering. Using pre-set lighting arrangements, the perfect ambiance can be created at the push of a button.

"People love the idea of controlling their lighting from their phone," Wisley says. "Pre-set lighting, brightness, and other specifications can be customized exactly as the homeowner wants."

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