Outdoor wall lighting ideas – ways to use exterior wall lights in any garden

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  • Lighting your garden and the exterior of your home can make all the difference when the sun goes down. Making use of outdoor wall lighting ideas means you can illuminate your space without using up any of that precious square footage.

    All garden lighting ideas make a huge impact in the look and feel of your outdoor space. Additionally, it makes it inviting whatever time of the day – or month of the year (provided you’ve got a cosy jacket!).

    However, a lot of lighting solution can impact or change your garden ideas. Meanwhile, wall hung options can be as subtle or statement as desired and can play as much or as little a role as you like in your overall garden design.

    ‘Finding the right lighting is key to creating the right ambience in the evening, while highlighting the gardens key features,’ explains Natalie Mann, product development coordinator, Iconic Lights. ‘It’s best to choose lighting that is in keeping with the style and period of the house. Whether traditional or contemporary, the style of lighting should fit seamlessly into the space and complement the surroundings.’

    Outdoor wall lighting ideas

    Whether you are looking for dramatic spotlights, old-school lantern styles or more contemporary designs, there’s something for every taste and property.

    1. Opt for subtle spotlights

    Garden with white walls with two spotlights above dining area

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    Outdoor wall lighting ideas don’t always have to shout about their existence. Simple spotlights can go a long way in creating ambience and adding practical light.

    Although they can work in just about any garden zone, they’re especially useful to run alongside outdoor dining areas. You can illuminate the zone so guests can see their plates, and then move on to candles to set the mood as the evening progresses.

    2. Have fun with festoon lighting

    Garden with festoon lights strung from black fence

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    Festoon lighting is one of the most popular choices for a reason. It’s easy to set up and looks great whether switched on or off. While they’re often strung on pergolas or trees, hanging along a fence or wall can be very effective for garden or patio lighting ideas.

    Painting the wall a deep colour will enhance the warm lights of the bulbs even further.

    3. Welcome guests with classic good looks

    Front of white house with grey green door and two lights on either side

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Woolley

    Fewer homes have the traditional double front door light than in the past – and that’s a shame. Not only do they look incredibly inviting, but they’re simply useful for finding your keys, or stepping out on a dark early morning.

    The double light brings a wonderful sense of symmetry, which is incredibly pleasing to the eye. Enhance this by placing two pots of elegant trees or seasonal flowers underneath.

    4. Put a stylish shade on it

    Close up of outdoor light with lampshades

    Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson

    Lampshades aren’t just for indoors. Weatherproof shades can add an unexpected hit of style to your outdoor wall lighting ideas. There are no rules for what to opt for – simply go with your style.

    Natural materials like wood and raffia will add that Mediterranean touch. Alternatively, have moment of urban chic with a fun, patterned design.

    5. Hang ad hoc solutions

    Close up of exterior brick wall with shelving and hanging individual bulbs

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason

    Wall lights don’t necessarily have to be a static addition. Individual lights with hooks, like solar powered bulbs, can be hung as and where needed. So long as you have a few hooks around your garden you can move the lighting around to suit. This is also a great solution for small garden ideas.

    6. Give the exterior full exposure

    Brick house exterior with three wall lights and climbing plants

    Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes

    Trail matching lights along the entire exterior wall to give the house some much-needed exposure after dark. This renovated and extended Victorian cottage exterior is gently illuminated with the help of a line of matching was lights. The beauty of the brickwork, painted woodwork and climbing plants of the cottage all shine in the evening when the external lights are on.

    7. Frame doorways

    Two black box wall lights on white panelled house

    Image credit: Davey Lighting

    Make a statement with two boxed lanterns mounted outside a doorway. Many of the boxed light designs are reminiscent of traditional railway lanterns, so you can nod back to history while giving your garden a contemporary feel.

    We love how these sharp and contemporary black box lights contrast to the striking white clapboard exterior.

    8. Light gateways and entrances

    Close up of outdoor wall light on brick archway

    Image credit: Davey Lighting

    An overhanging light is a striking feature for any outdoor entryway, door or wall. It’s almost essential, especially if there’s a tricky lock or combination to enter after dark.

    Swan neck designs combine modern design and vintage elegance — whoever said the old and new can’t work well together?

    9. Lead the way

    Patio with deck tiles and wooden bifold doors

    Image credit: Future PLC/Bridget Peirson

    Create a seamless flow from indoors to outdoors with the help of wall lighting placed immediately outside of your adjoining living area. The unbroken path of light will help to create a seamless flow for the interior and exterior spaces, ideal if you use the patio for entertaining. Choose designs which reflects the interior decor style to help unify the two areas even further.

    10. Look to directional lighting

    Garden seating area with spotlight on brick wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson

    Make the garden your stage with spotlights. This style of lighting is a great way to add directional lighting to wherever you wish the focus to be. Spotlights can be used to surround a social seating area to shine a focus and set the scene. Equally they can be used to highlight particular architectural and landscape features, which creates depth and adds character to a garden.

    11. Mix and match to balance a scheme

    Garde decking area with lanterns

    Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Everard

    Grouping two lights together not only looks aesthetically pleasing (especially when they are framing features like doorways and windows), but they offer twice the light as well — making your outdoor area even brighter and more atmospheric.

    Pop them overhead on a patio to lighten up cool summer evenings spent outside, or put them leading up to the entrance of a house, to guide guests to the door.

    12. Go smart with solar power

    Black outdoor solar powered wall light

    Image credit: Cox & Cox

    Do your bit for the environment and go for garden solar lights, which are a great alternative to the mains powered variety. requires no cabling or mains power, because it’s solar powered.

    A wall-mounted  solar light illuminates your outdoor space without the need for switches or buttons, with many featuring clever sensors to detect when someone is near.

    13. Choose exposed bulbs

    Exposed bulb wall light on exterior of home

    Image credit: Homebase

    You’ve probably seen the trend for exposed bulbs over the past few years, and it’s still going strong. If you want to dip your toe in the design craze there are a number of garden wall lights which offer this urban, stripped-back style.

    14. Mount lights beside windows to improve visibility

    Garden wall light mounted beside a window

    Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson

    A wall light mounted beside a kitchen window or rear living room will help to throw light onto the view beyond. This not only gives you a glimpse of the garden to be enjoyed by night, especially to appreciate the nocturnal habits of the wildlife you invite into your garden. It also adds a sense of security – being able to see immediately out from the window.

    15. Make light go further with a mirror

    Wooden clad courtyard patio with bistro set and mirror against one wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Still

    Use a well-placed wall light and a garden mirror to make the light travel further, a savvy idea for small garden spaces especially. Where less is more a simple wall light placed above an outdoor mirror will reflect the light, bouncing it further around the space – helping to create a sense of extra light, depth and space.

    It’s a masterclass in how to make a small garden look bigger.

    16. Shield the bulbs to create ambience

    Outdoor dining area with covered wall lights

    image credit: Future PLC/Paul Reaside

    While you want outdoor lighting to help illuminate the space, you might not want the designs to dominate. Especially in a sociable setting, such as garden seating ideas where the lighting works best when more ambient as opposed to bright.

    For this approach choose wall light designs with concealed bulbs, meaning the light gently cascades  down the wall from around the edges rather than shining directly into an eyeline from the front.

    17. Contrast with an industrial style

    Close up of industrial outdoor wall light

    Image credit: Davey Lighting/ @mytinyestate

    Industrial accents and features have been a hot topic recently, whether it’s concrete kitchen floors or black crittall windows. Bring this industrial look into the great outdoors with a garden wall light. It’s perfect if you want your garden accessories to contrast to the natural world in your garden.

    18. Light the front door with a traditional design

    Exterior of brick house with black lantern wall lamp beside blue door

    Image credit: Wayfair

    Ensure your front door is not shrouded in darkness, thanks to the help of a characterful outdoor wall light. Newer styles aren’t for everyone and if you’re a traditionalist at heart, there are a plethora of outdoor wall lights that come in more classic and simple varieties with no fuss — like this traditional garden wall lantern. Or perhaps opt for a ship’s light or clipper style.

    19. Take inspiration from lanterns

    Lantern style light against stone wall

    Image credit: Cox & Cox

    If you have a period property or a country-style house then a lantern light might blend in with your surroundings better than a more modern piece.

    Buy now: Arched Box Lantern, £150, Cox & Cox

    20. Add warmth with a touch of copper

    Copper outdoor wall light against black fence

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    Warm metallic accents have been hugely popular in the world of interiors over recent years, with finishes such as aged brass and copper dominating.

    If you love the copper look inside, it’s likely you’ll adore this style outside too.

    21. Keep it simple with fairy lights

    Garden fairy lights along wooden fence

    Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore

    The may not be ‘wall lights’ in the  typical sense but fairy light ideas do light up walls, so we say it still stands. You don’t need to have a power supply to dress walls with lighting, as this idea proves. Hang strings of fairy lights along fences to add an easy level of ambience. Choosing solar powered lights will make the process even easier because they will charge all day and illuminate come darkness, with zero effort.

    22. Add fun to an outdoor entertaining area

    Novelty shooting star shaped wall light

    Image credit: Oliver Perrott/Lights4fun

    Novelty wall lights aren’t just for the festive season, go for something a little different with a themed wall light.

    Stand out from the crowd and choose something totally unique — guests won’t be able to take their eyes off it. It’s a perfect example budget garden ideas which pack a punch.

    How do I choose outdoor wall lights?

    Lighting is a fundamental part of your outdoor scheme, so it’s important to get it right. ‘Typically, garden lights have four main functions that should be considered when choosing your lights,’ explains Natalie Mann from Iconic Lights. ‘The style of design, access and movement around the property, security and night-time usability. Mounted wall lights are a great option as they cater for all four functions.’

    ‘It’s important to pay attention to the IP rating’ Natalie advises.  This will give an indication to how well protected the fitting is against moisture, dirt and other outdoor elements. Typically IP44 is considered splash proof and is standard for most outdoor wall lights.’

    Natalie adds, ‘When shopping for the best security lighting, look out for styles with a built-in motion or PIR sensor. These will activate when motion is detected within a certain range.’

    What is an IP rating?

    ‘IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and refers to the degree of protection provided against water to its electrical connections’ explains a spokesperson for Davey Lighting.

    ‘The higher the number, the more watertight the light. Look for a minimum rating of IP43 if the light will be in a covered area, or IP54 if it will be exposed to direct rainfall or jet-washing.’

    How high should outdoor wall lights be?

    As a rule of thumb, outdoor wall lights should be placed between 5.5 and 6ft, any lower and you begin to reduce the amount of space that is illuminated.

    ‘Aim for the lightbulb to sit just below eye level to decrease the glare,’ adds Natalie. ‘But bear in mind if the lights are not flush to the wall and placed in a thoroughfare area, they need to be high enough that you won’t knock your head as you walk past.’

    How many lumens do I need for outdoor wall lights?

    ‘It all depends on the fixture you choose. A prominent floodlight with a higher IP rating is brighter and therefore requires an output between 700-800 lumens,’ Natalie insightfully explains.

    ‘Smaller wall lights used to highlight design features give off less light and require bulbs that produce around 400 lumens.’

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