Utilizing backyard living space has become more than a trend, and people are spending much of their time enjoying the great outdoors, relaxing in the backyard, or hosting friends and neighbors for an al fresco dinner. The term “al fresco” is an Italian phrase that means “in the cool” or in the open air. Al fresco dining is dining outside on a patio, deck, or in the yard with tables and chairs. Most often, it is associated with European outside dining, and the atmosphere is casual, festive, and party-like.

landscape lighting

An outdoor landscape lighting system enables activities to continue even after the sun goes down. However, many homeowners do not have a lighting system, or their current setup is inefficient or in disrepair. Needs vary, and a one-size-fits-all DIY kit is insufficient to accommodate a full slate of evening outdoor activities. Patching together wall lights and string lights can actually diminish the ambiance and create safety hazards.

Three Basic Types of Lights

A great lighting design incorporates the three basic types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Wall lights, hanging lights, and post lights are effective at creating ambient lighting, which impacts the atmosphere of the space. The word “ambient” derives from the Latin “ambiens,” which means “to go around.” Hanging lights, post lights, and wall lights cast a surrounding light that creates mood and character in the ambient environment.

The second type of lighting is task lighting, which includes deck, security, and pathway lights. Task lighting focuses on activities that take place outdoors. Deck illumination increases functionality while also enhancing safety. Steps, tiers, benches, and high traffic areas can be dangerous if not adequately illuminated. Walking, cooking, and milling about are tasks or activities that require lighting to be performed safely.

The third type of lighting, accent lighting, directs focused light on a specific area or object. Common examples of accent lights include wall sconces, floodlights, recessed lights, or track lighting, and string lights, solar spotlights, and solar candles can accommodate a small patio and a modest DIY budget. The accent lamp’s concentrated light contributes visual interest in an outdoor space.

Estimate How Much Lighting Is Needed for the Area

To arrive at an estimate of how much wattage will be needed to illuminate the desired area, multiply the square footage by 1.5. A small 10X10 area requires around 150 watts of lighting. Homeowners can schedule a free consultation with the lighting professionals at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Acworth.

Choose the Right Fixtures

LED is superior to halogen and incandescent lighting. In the areas of energy efficiency, maintenance, safety, and sustainability, LED is the clear winner. Using professional-grade lighting fixtures, such as the ones installed by Southern Landscape Lighting Systems, means the system will last for years.

Look From the Inside Out

Consider how patio spaces, gardens, water features, statues, and pathways appear from inside the home. Illuminating landscape features that can be seen from inside the house gives a room-expanding view to the outside at night.

Entertain With Subtle Lighting

Al fresco guests do not want a bright spotlight on them while they are enjoying their outdoor meal or activity. Lighting that creates a soft glow is best.

Michael Murphy, Interior Design and Trends Producer for Lamps Plus adds, “Outdoor rooms, especially outdoor dining areas, benefit from subtle, indirect lighting that helps create a restful mood. We’re seeing more use of outdoor lanterns, pendants, and ceiling fans equipped with light kits to illuminate seating and dining areas. Use a dimmer with these fixtures; turn to full light when cooking or preparing food or dim it down for eating and relaxing.”

Consider Security

Outdoor lighting not only provides ambiance, but it can also make the home more secure. All entry points of the home should be well lit. Identify and illuminate any side of the house that is in the shadows. Spotlights installed on the eaves or wall lanterns at side doors, windows, and garages are also effective for promoting safety and security.

landscape lighting


Al fresco living and dining may be here to stay. If it is, then custom landscape lighting will facilitate the growth and permanence of this trend in American culture. For more information about lighting up the outdoors for dining and entertainment, visit the Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Acworth by phone at (678) 324-6842.

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