lluminating an outdoor room can be as simple as setting candles on a table, hanging a string of whimsical lights under a shade umbrella, or planting tiki torches around the patio. Solar-powered lanterns can provide an ambient glow around dining and lounging areas without the need for wiring.
If you want something more permanent, consider low-voltage path lighting, which can safely lead the way from the house so you don’t have to traipse blindly through the yard. Strategically focused spotlights mounted in trees can help define the perimeters of the space, but beware of the baseball-stadium effect. “You want to light up a discreet area, not the whole neighborhood,” says Schechter. If your outdoor structure has a solid roof, weather-resistant recessed cans and hanging pendants offer task lighting, which is especially useful for prepping food in a kitchen area.
Of course, the beauty of any outdoor space is that it lets you take advantage of nature’s own light-up-the-night sources: the moon and the stars.