One of the many charms of summer is entertaining outdoors. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the al fresco atmosphere of one of your favorite restaurants and have been wondering if you could achieve the same effect for you next outdoor party.
The outdoor entertaining experience is all about ambiance – the serene and refreshing feeling you get when you’re surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors and can focus on all the fine details of life, like good food, good wine, and good friends to share it with. In order to create this ambiance, you need the right kind of outdoor lighting.
You and your guests shouldn’t have to squint in order to see clearly at your next evening party. The right lighting is not only practical, it creates the festive, relaxed mood that will make your party a truly memorable occasion.
Here are four tips to help you set up the perfect outdoor lighting to make your next outdoor party a success once the sun goes down:
1. Safety First
Outdoor lighting is critical to the safety of you and your guests during an evening party.
From the moment your guests arrive, they will need to be able to clearly see the pathways they will use to get to and from their cars and into your home and around your property. Depending on your landscaping and how much foot traffic you anticipate, you may want path lights or area lights.
Another more sophisticated option is downlighting, which uses tree lights projecting downward to create illumination over large areas. This lighting can be particularly effective as a transition between other lighting elements and eliminate any potentially dangerous “black holes” in your overall outdoor lighting scheme.
2. Focus on the Food
We eat with our eyes first. So, you want to make sure your guests can clearly see what’s on their plates.
With the popularity of social media sharing, people love to take photos and show off a special meal. To make sure lighting conditions are optimal, make sure there is both area lighting and focused or mood lighting from candles or small bulbs.
3. Show Off Your Landscaping and Home Architecture
Just because it’s nighttime doesn’t mean guests can’t see the pride you take in your home and your property.
Do you have a prized garden, a fish pond, or any outdoor sculptures? Maybe your house possesses unique architectural features visible from the outdoors, like an alcove or specialty façade? Map out a plan of what you want to make sure guests can see after dark so you can make sure it will be properly illuminated.
4. Use LED Bulbs
Although they may cost more upfront, LED bulbs are the best long-term investment for your outdoor lighting. Not only do LED bulbs significantly reduce your energy costs, they have a much longer lifespan than other traditional bulbs.
Look for bulbs with a warm-color temperature, about 3,000K. And make sure you’re getting enough brightness to fully illuminate the area you want lit.
For more outdoor lighting inspiration, check out our collection at Going Lighting.