7 Unique Patio Lighting Concepts
In Southern California, outdoor living spaces have become increasingly more popular in recent years. Outdoor patios, BBQs, kitchens, firepits, and fireplaces are turning these residential outdoor patios spaces into mini luxury resorts where you can entertain your friends and family not only during the day but after-dark. Lighting these spaces makes it even easier to get more use and enjoyment of your real estate. We now call these spaces our personal mini resort. An essential key to maximizing these unique patio spaces is to extend the use and enjoyment into the evening hours.
Outdoor patio lighting is crucial in maximizing the utilization and beauty of these spaces. Planning outdoor and landscape lighting for your mini resort reaps many benefits. Proper planning for the patio outdoor lighting is key because you don’t want to forgo options due to not having the ability to bring landscape lighting cable to certain areas due to hardscape construction. As experts in the industry, we have many solutions to overcome what may appear as barriers to designing a beautifully well-lit and safe outdoor lighting installation.
I will briefly describe 7 outdoor patio lighting techniques that we have implemented for hundreds of mini resorts in Southern CA for the last 3 decades.
- Table lighting
- BBQ Lighting
- Counter top Down lighting
- Counter top Under glow lighting
- Fireplace Accent lighting
- Unique String lighting
- Fire pit lighting
Our clients have really enjoyed and appreciated the added value and beauty that our custom lighting designs have brought to their outdoor oasis.
This Coto De Caza CA estate features the following outdoor / patio lighting types:
- Downlighting from the upper beams that are used to illuminate the patio table and countertops.
- Soft ceiling bounce lighting to accent the wood beams.
- Downlights to accent the potted plant.
- BBQ spotlight,
- Under counter glow lights.
This Tustin Ranch CA estate features the following patio lighting types:
Downlight from the palm tree illuminates this patio table.
This light is on a switch.
This Oceanside CA home features the following patio lighting effects:
2 Micro bullet lights to create soft illumination on the coffee table and sofa.
Most patio areas have one or two dining areas with tables that family and friends gather to eat and socialize. Nothing can ruin the atmosphere more than an obnoxious glaring light blinding people sitting at the patio table. Very often bright flood or carriage lights on the side of the house are used to illuminate these areas. Unattractive and obnoxious to people but very attractive to bugs. Good patio table lighting it best done directly above the table with small LED fixtures with glare shields. I have designed special shields that can optimize glare protection and create a soft pleasant illumination on the Patio table. We usually put these down lights on a switch so they can be turned off when not in use.
BBQ lighting “Have you lit with your barbecue yet?“
How many people have seen this scene? Barbecuing at night while holding a flashlight to see if the meat is properly cooked. I’ve even seen shop lights jerry-rigged near the barbecue so there would be some illumination on the grill.
If you are barbecuing at night it’s essential that you have good task outdoor lighting to see while you’re cooking. Only recently have BBQ had the option of integrated lights. That usually is not the case so there are two options for barbecue lighting
- Spotlighting focused on the BBQ
This is the best option because a BBQ light mounted on the BBQ counter area can take away valuable counter space.
Lights installed on the structure, wall or tree near the barbecue area are the best solution. Barbecue lights must be installed correctly so that the person barbecuing or the lid of the BBQ doesn’t cast shadows on the grilling surface. This is when strategic design and installation of this type of outdoor lighting is essential. So in designing barbecue lighting, there is a small window or angle at the barbecue light must be placed in order to effectively illuminate the barbecue grill surface. Also since this is task lighting we always put the barbecue light on the switch because you don’t really want to see the barbecue other than when it’s being used.
- The BBQ spotlight mounted on the grill surface. The fixture usually has a flexible gooseneck style post so you can adjust the spot to spot the grill top. The big disadvantage of these type of BBQ lights is it can use up valuable counter space next to the grill.
Bar and countertop illumination
Bar and countertop are very important in patio areas. These counters are by family and guest as a bar or eating area. Since this area is a favorite spot for guest and family to sit soft soothing outdoor lighting is essential. Again nothing can kill the atmosphere of your mini resort than obnoxious outdoor glaring lights.
These lights are usually are also usually on a switch.
SEE OUR LANDSCAPE LIGHTING SIMULATOR FOR AN EXAMPLE OF ABOVE AND BELOW BAR TOP COUNTER LIGHTING.
Click the here and you can turn on and off different patio lighting effects. Have fun
Below Counter Glow
Creating a soft glow under counter top it an awesome effect. By placing lights under the bartop you can create a soft accent of the stone, brick or stucco.
This Trabuco Canyon CA home has under-counter LED linear lights to accent the texture of the stone face of BBQ area.
This home in Newport coast CA has linear glow lights under the bar top.
These glow lights create this soft accent on the stonework. A micro spotlight is used to bounce light off the underside of the umbrella to creates soft ambient lighting. A flexible BBQ light on a goose neck post was used to illuminate the BBQ.
Fireplace Accent Lighting
California and Orange County outdoor living spaces have now included outdoor living rooms that are very often equipped with fireplaces. This special outdoor feature can be a gathering area for family and guests. These are dramatic outdoor architectural features with custom stone or brick and they really add a lot to the outdoor ambiance in the day. But unless the fire is lit this beautiful outdoor architectural feature is lost in the night.
“If it’s an outdoor visual asset in the day it should not disappear at night”
Strategically placed low voltage LED spotlights can really accent this great outdoor feature. This takes some planning and experience to install these accent lights.
This estate in Coto De Caza CA has a fireplace accent light making their patio livable after dark.
It has on spotlight mounted on a tree and custom colored amber lights in the 2 firewood nitches. Uplighting on trees behind the fireplace make a nice backdrop. The fireplace structure can also often be viewed from the inside of the house. By illuminating the fireplace its beauty can be enjoyed both from the patio areas and through windows of the home.
String Lighting for Your Patio
In recent years Patio String lighting becomes very popular. This lighting style is also called Bistro Lights, Cafe lights, or Party lights.
This is a great way to add a festive ambiance to an outdoor area while also provide soft general illumination. String lighting that we used are commercial heavy duty strings of individual bulbs and usually suspended with a guide cable. This type of installation requires some planning and engineering in order to achieve the desired look.