Outdoor Patio Lights...
add atmosphere to your patio at night

Outdoor Patio Lights will transform the total look and feel of your patio during night time into an attractive and useful evening entertainment area.

It is not necessary to try to simulate typical indoor light levels on your patio – the whole idea is to experience your patio during those beautiful balmy evenings.

You can always supplement permanent lighting with special occasion lighting such as outside lanterns, candles and then also make use of the best evening light of all…….moonlight.

Careful design and planning is necessary as the patio lights should continue the style that you set with the rest of your landscape lighting.

Outdoor patio lights will:

  • Add the desired effects to your patio, and

  • Accentuate the important features of your patio at night.

Outdoor patio lights are such a useful tool and it adds such a huge amount of value for very little money. It is also something that, with a little thinking and planning, will give you a lot of joy in implementing.

Plan for your patio lights and your electrical points during the design phase so that the wiring and fixtures are integrated into the construction. It can be quite a nuisance to dig up your patio to run the power cables once all your cement work has been done if you did not plan properly in the beginning.

There are different types of outdoor patio lights, just as there are different types of outdoor landscape lighting that can be used to great effect:


Cleverly positioned floodlights can be used to define a specific area, but be careful in small areas that you do not overpower your patio with light. If your patio is large enough, then position the floodlights low down to throw the light upwards to illuminate a big tree on the edge of the patio or the water feature. It is important to select the correct type and colour bulb to use. Ask your local supplier what type and colours to use for your specific needs.


One of the advantages of a spotlight is that it can be adjusted and angled to accentuate different areas or different shrubs, depending on the season or depending on the effect you want to create for a specific occasion. Although spotlights can be movable when fitted with a spike, I always encourage people to fit them permanently.

It is much easier to hide the power cables in underground conduit, which also makes it much safer, as the chances of digging through the cable with a spade are greatly reduced. With their narrow beams, spotlights are ideal to illuminate shapes and textures, or it can be bounced of white walls to illuminate a wider area.

In South Africa, we also use spotlights to light the outdoor fireplace where we “braai” (barbeque for those that do not know this South African word) on the patio. I would say that the sole purpose of a patio in South Africa is to have a place where we can “braai”.

At night though, we need a proper concentrated light source to ensure those wonderful steaks are not scorched; hence a strategically placed spotlight.

Functional lighting

Functional lighting is exactly what the name implies. It is a light that is designed to light doorways and steps and other specific areas where light will be required for safety or atmospheric reasons.

For a lounging area, the lights must be placed so that it will give a relaxed atmosphere; warm colours can be used to create an intimate setting.

For a dining area, the lights should be above table top height, and I always use dimmable lights, as they are ideal to create a romantic atmosphere while eating, but then, when the family decide to play a hand of cards, it can be set a bit brighter so that you can see that “royal flush” you have in your winning hands.

In a food preparation area, the lights should be bright enough so that the cook can see what he or she is preparing.

Special occasion lighting

This is where your imagination can once again run wild. Special occasion lighting, like candles, look beautiful in the right setting, as long as you always remember the fire hazard. Unfortunately we can not use candles often in Cape Town, as the South Easterly wind will not allow any candle to burn too long here.

We use decorative strings of bulbs suitable for outdoor use. These lights one can either be installed permanently around the edges of your pergola, or you can place them temporarily around a tree for a special effect, like during Christmas.

These are just some of the ideas for outdoor patio lights that you can use. 

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