skylants paper laterns

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The backyard can be the perfect place for fun, laid back get-togethers with family, friends, and neighbors. It’s a place where you can all come together and forget, even if it’s just for a moment, that you have jobs and responsibilities.  There, you just focus on the small joys of life that make the day worthwhile.

While kids are busy getting covered in dirt and grass stains, adults can socialize while basking in the aroma of hot food on the barbecue. Ice cold lemonade is passed around when it’s hot, and hot cocoa warms you up when it’s chilly outside.  Often times, you are having so much fun making memories and close bonds that the sun goes down before you realize it even started to set. Instead of moving the party inside, light up your backyard so there is never any time limit to your backyard extravaganza.  Light it up with these tips and outdoor lighting ideas.

Light for Warmth

fire burning in a fire pit

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When it’s cold and nippy out, it’s hard to experience something better than standing around a smoky, blazing fire. The relief of the warmth is intensely satisfying, and there is just something about the ancient tradition of starting a fire and sitting in front of it with those closest to you. We don’t all have a fireplace in our backyard, but luckily you can find a fire-pit fairly cheap in almost any home department of any store. Not only are fires great for keeping you toasty on a chilly evening, but they provide dim, natural light perfect for late night talks while roasting marshmallows.

Paper Lanterns

If you have a porch roof or another area you can use for hanging objects, paper lanterns are one of the cheapest ways to light up your yard. It also makes for a great DIY project. They are very versatile in terms of what kind of ambiance you wish to create. Bright, neon colored lanterns can add an element of playfulness and youth, while gold or white lanterns will create a more sophisticated and warm feeling. You could even go so far as to create a surreal, space-like atmosphere with silver or translucent lanterns. The possibilities are endless, and there is an option out there for every occasion.

Ground lights

large retreat employing ground lighting

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Ground lights are becoming increasingly popular. Normally articulated as up lighting, they are perfect for lining your garden walkway or even just the beginning stretch of your backyard. The location should depend of where you spend the most time in your yard. For the most part, these lights tend to be softer, so it would be better to focus these lights on where you and your company will actually be. They are very easy to install, and some are solar powered leaving the sun to do all the electrical work. Some ground lights come with interchangeable lenses with each have a different effect on the light coming out, so there multiple ideas for you to experiment with there alone.

Moonlighting

Moonlighting happens to be my favorite way to brighten up the night.  Also called down lighting, it is often accomplished with flood and spot lights that are mounted above the landscape rather than below.  When done right, it’s the perfect way to set the whimsical and gentle tone that the moon illuminates. However, this lighting trick is also one of the most difficult to do. It’s important to get the lights hoisted up in a very tall tree. Another tall feature would work as long as the lights are set up to beam through the open spaces of the branches to mock the luminescent shadow of the moon. Some people choose to use bright white lights, whereas I like to use a light blue bulb.  The number of lights you install, as well as the intensity of the color of bulb you choose, are two of the most important factors to consider. Too strong of a color or too many lights can be overpowering and cause an phony effect.

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Lighting up your backyard can be a fun and challenging experience. It’s a rewarding feeling to put all the pieces together to create the exact tone and mood you hoped to set. Not only that, but it’s something your family and neighbors will admire and enjoy as well. There are countless options, so when your mood changes the lights can too.

- Ross Donald has always loved anything to do with houses, homes and humble abodes. He’s a stay at home dad, a blogger and a chronic DIY’er. Ross is writing for the outdoor lighting supplier Lightingsale.com.

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