As many of you already know… we have finally completed our entire front and backyard renovations. Sooo happy!! If you read my blog post when we first purchased this home, you may remember that I included a few photos of how the yards looked. (Click here to see more of that post – the difference is insane!)
Some before shots of the backyard. The shed was full of mold so that was first to go.
The overhang was rotting and not built to code and all that cracking concrete had to go.
We pushed the fence forward toward the front yard to open up the side more by our dining table – where our french doors are now! (They used to be windows).
When we began the renovation, we knew that we wanted to create an outdoor space that we could sit in both day & night. Even though the backyard is narrow and funky in shape, (because we sit below the neighbors to the left and backside of us) I knew that with the right design, I could make this backyard beautiful.
It was really important for us that the backyard feel like an extension of our home. So when designing the space, I always kept in mind how I wanted the yard to look at night. As you can see in the before photos, there was a tall retaining wall in the back – to break up that high ugly wall, we added a lower wall to sit directly in front of it to add depth and a layered effect for plantings. This allowed us more space (not only for plants, but for lighting as well!) Super important for me.
When thinking about the kinds of lighting I wanted to select for my yard, I knew they had to give a cozy and warm feel. So often I find that people work hard on creating the interiors of their home, and forget about the back. The backyard/garden space is simply an extension of our home.. another room if you will. I decided that, like my kitchen where I made lighting a priority, I wanted to take the same approach for my outdoor space.
Remembering my Brother-in-Law’s (a contractor) advice with the kitchen – I looked for all my lighting to stay near the 2700 Kelvin level. 2700 Kelvin gives your space a warmth without appearing too yellow. Going any stronger than that makes a space appear too cold and bright. It was also very important that the lights be LED. LED is great for two very important reasons.. They use very little energy, and because we love running our lights every night, this will save us money in the long run. You also don’t have to change out lights very often when using LED lights. A huge plus!
Like my last home, I wanted my outdoor lighting to have that layered look. It features the outdoor space so much better with the different directions of lighting and the plants and flowers look even more beautiful when accented. Here is the step by step decision process on our lighting:
Step 1: Outdoor Lanterns
Before shot of the front of our home – with the older lanterns.
When we bought our home a couple of years ago, the original lights from 20years ago were still hanging on the outside of the house. They were outdated, too small for the size house and not LED.. there also were not nearly enough. WE had to make a change.
Our new outdoor lanterns fit the space much better!
I changed out the existing lights and went big with lanterns from Lamps Plus. I loved the classic shape of these lanterns and the warm glow that they provide. The lights are also dimmable which we LOVE… not all lights are.
Click here for the source
Step 2: Café Lights
I knew that I wanted white LED dimmable café lights everywhere along the fence line. They always manage to make a space seem so inviting and cozy – I’ve been in many yards where friends of mine have them strung from trees to the home, etc.. and I’ve always loved the look.
Knowing I was going to have a lot of different lights in lower areas of the garden, we decided to hang these on the highest point of the fence. The dimmable factor is really great also because now that we have so many different lights in the yard, we can turn them up or down depending on the mood!
We bought 3 strands of the café lights – it was more than enough for our yard as they are very long. And they were SO easy to hang.. Jeff used his cordless drill and little screws. The strands came with little “ready to hang” holes, which makes the hanging process simple. The plus for using little screws is that they are very easy to take out if you need to remove your lights.
Click here for the source.
Step 3: Flood/Spotlights
With the top of the fence taken care of, we knew that we needed lights that would shine brightly from the ground to feature the hedges and topiaries properly. One of the styles we purchased is a 60 degree bronze flood light from Lamps Plus.
I chose bronze to match the lanterns and the rest of the lights in the yard.. they blend in beautifully with the mulch. I made a conscientious decision to go high-end with my lighting because they last for years without any issues. I had the same in my last backyard and never regretted my decision, or the price.
Click here for the source.
Step 4: Large Spotlight/Wash Light
In our front yard, we have 5 larger hedges along the left side of the fence line that we needed wider spotlights for. The wash lights give the perfect amount of light for this otherwise dark space.
They are bronze as well to match the other lighting..
Click here for the link.
Step 5: Path Lights
I chose these pagoda shaped path lights because I had them in my last home and loved them. The shape is classic and beautiful.. they shine the perfect amount of light on the path as well.
I think it’s important to take the time and research what style path lights you like the best because they really do stand out when looking at the yard. There are so many different styles to choose from.. modern, contemporary, traditional.
Click here for the source.
Step 6: Wall Lights
The two travertine retaining walls were important features to light. If we had to have the walls I knew I needed to make them look as beautiful as ever. (WE had the same issue in our last backyard.. what are the odds?) The elegant travertine stone helped elevate the look but it’s the lights shining down them at night that really make the difference. They stand out so much more and give the backyard a gorgeous depth that I don’t think it would have had without the two level tiers being accented. Love them!
Click here for the source.
Step 7: Step Lights
When designing the front steps I knew that I would have to add stair lights underneath each step for safety. The best part? They also provide a gorgeous glow that leads everyone to our home. I love the way they shine at night. These are 6″ wide and bronze to match all our other lighting. They really accent the curve in the steps so beautifully.
Click here for the source.
I added a quick roundup with all of my lighting from Lamps Plus below… including the links & where to purchase.
- Kichler Shepard’s 27 1/2″H Bronze 2700K LED Path Light – Along the paths, we included these in both the front and the back to light up every inch. Love the shape & color. Click here for the source.
- Radiax 3000K 60-degree 6.5 Watt LED Bronze Flood Light – We used these lights in both the front & back to light up various plants and hedges. Click here for the link.
- Kichler 6 1/2″ Wide 3000K LED Bronze Wall Wash Light – We used these lights in our front yard to light up the hedges. Click here for the link.
- Kichler Mount Vernon Outdoor Wall Light – Love our outdoor lanterns! Click here for the link.
- Kichler Stainless Steal Transformer – We use this transformer to plug in all the lighting from our backyard! Click here for the source.
I hope you enjoyed this post & found it useful if you are thinking of renovating or changing the lighting in your backyard. It was a huge process for me – researching takes a ton of time but it was well worth the effort. A huge thanks to Lamps Plus for providing me with so much of my lighting.. thankfully they carried so many of the brands & lighting styles that I loved.
My backyard redo saga isn’t over yet – look for water features and a whole outdoor seating space to be added outside of my dining room soon! Everything has been ordered.. now the wait begins. :)
30 thoughts on “Outdoor Lighting and Sources”
The backyard transformation is crazy amazing Kristy, just splendid all the way around ??
This was a very helpful well organized post. Your yards are stunning. Your hard work and Jeff’s and your gardener have paid off. I can’t wait for the new furniture and water features! You continue to inspire me Kristy :)
What a beautiful transformation! So cozy and inviting. You guys did an amazing job!
Your yard is really lovely. My favourite comment you made earlier in the week about it was about the fact that you don’t need to worry about the furniture/cushions being outside because it won’t rain until fall! That must be amazing!!! Even today we had steamy hot, thunderstorms, downpours and bright sun!!
Enjoy that yard!
Such a beautiful outdoor space. Thank you for sharing all your research and products. Well done!
Your yard has just gotten more and more beautiful with each addition you add. I can’t wait to see all the new furniture and things you’ve ordered. You and your husband have a talent for sure.
Breathtaking! The most beautiful vision I ever set eyes on! My mouth dropped! I literally Stared at my phone until the battery died “ Calgon take me away” relaxing!!!
What color fabric is the sofa they have so many choices. Also what is your shrubs and topiary it wasn’t listed in the plants list Thank you! I love your taste!
Thanks so much April! So sweet of you. :) Everything should be listed in these posts.. If not let me know. Hugs!
Hi Kristy! I LOVE everything about your space. Who installed the transformer for your backyard? Was it Jeff? If so, were directions provided on how to do it? Same with laying all of the lights and wires. I know you guys move then now, but who originally installed them? My husband is super handy and installed LEDs in the built-ins he created. Trying to figure out if we should just hire someone. Thank you!
Thank you!! Jeff did everything. His brother flew out and started the project with him then he finished the rest. It took quite a bit of time and tons of work. I can’t believe how much he knows. He installed the transformers but not sure how… I know he doesn’t want to post what he does simply because he doesn’t want to be held liable. ;) Good Luck!!
Kristy, we a mfr rep for energy saving lighting. I read your post to my husband about your lighting knowledge. For a lay person, you did well! Another arm we’re considering is outdoor landscape lighting installation. It’s rather easy, but I agree about the liability side and not sharing Jeff’s tranformer installation. Bravo to your choices, placement of fixtures & creativity!!
Your backyard is amazing. What kind of pavers are those?
Hi Karl – here’s the info for you: Calstone Pavers – Quarry Stone – Color, Cameron Cream, Pattern – QS4
Thank you! Do you have a post with details of plants and what not from the backyard? I see this post is mainly about the lighting.
beautiful! I watched when you & Jeff did the lights , but had for where u purchas. I really wanted the spot light but they r sold out. However, i also loved the lantero! I enjoy your dec so much! Socel but class that you can keep for a while! Thanks❤️🌸🌺
Thanks so much Keit!! Hugs!
Kristy, this looks amazing. SERIOUSLY in awe of your style. Any chance you can share where your couches are from?
I love your back yard!! I would love to do what you did. Who designed it? And can you recommend sources for me to research? Did you have a landscaper come in and do your backyard ? Thank you for posting pics. It has given me great ideas in how to do my backyard.
Thank you so much! I designed both the front and back yards. :) My husband and our gardener did all the work.
Your transformation is unbelievably beautiful. You worked wonders and it made the space gorgeous.
You definitely have the talent to transform spaces… you should consult online….ask for photos of spaces and give your ideas Or get the app where you can superimpose plants, paving, lights etc onto a photo to someonE the idea of what it will look like.
God has blessed you with a gift…continue sharing with others.
(From Johannesburg South Africa)
You’re always so thorough. Thank you for the deets!
This is truly incredible!! I am refreshing my landscaping right now and this is such great inspiration. Thank you for sharing this! I have always said I don’t care for the appearance of LED lighting, but I now will have to reconsider. This is gorgeous!! Magical!!
Beautiful lighting. Curious what the bushes are along the back. We had to tear out our ficus because the they pushed up everything in 25ft of it. Your bushes look like Bay but would love some feed back. Thanks.
Thanks Cathie! The trees are called Prunus Carolinianas. :) We love them!
Kirsty love how you did the lighting in your yard . There is one picture you have with the garden light and there is a pink flower behind it could you please tell me the name of that flower. It was in your step 5pictures.
That is one of my mom’s favorite perennials! It’s called Penstemon. Hope this helps!
This was EXTREMELY helpful!!! Thank you for not only providing a description and rationale, but also for including links to specific lights!!! Thank you so very much!!!
Dear Kristy, Your garden it looks beautiful and it does inspire me a lot. Many thanks for sharing :)
Really stunning. I agree with you, lighting is SO important, and I am just embarking on installing some for my backyard patio. I just subscribed to your site today. I am so curious as to what variety your topiaries are! Beautiful. Where do you live?
I live in Fernandina Beach, Florida (moved here from CO and AZ!!) and my challenge is that most of your outdoor furniture would not make it here! I do not want to be dragging pillows and cushions in and out at my age, which is over 70! The island life requires really sturdy outdoor furniture because of the humidity, rain, dew, etc.. Maybe you have done a previous post for my climate?
All my topiaries are Ligustrum. We live in Santa Barbara now but in the pics you’re looking at we lived in Pleasanton.