Best outdoor lighting: 8 top buys to illuminate your garden

The best outdoor lighting will make the garden look magical at night – and help prolong that garden party

Best outdoor lighting
(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Our pick of the best outdoor lighting will transform your garden at night. From pretty fairy lights to permanent wall mounted garden lights, we have options for all garden styles and preferences. 

As warmer weather approaches, garden gatherings are one of the best ways to catch up with friends and family – so you're going to want a way to keep your garden lit after the sun goes down. It's equally important to have the best garden furniture to hand too, so everyone has a comfortable seat.

Choose from a range of practical outdoor lighting solutions that best suit your space, whether you're after fairy lights or smart options . And when you're done, check out our garden design feature for all your garden planning and shopping needs. 

What is the best outdoor lighting?

The most decorative garden lights are fairy lights, which can be woven intricately through trees, trellises, shrubs or bushes to create a subtle, atmospheric feel. In that instance, 100 Warm White Micro Solar Fairy Lights from Lights4fun are our top pick.

Looking for a smart solution? Think Philips Hue outdoor lights. Read on for information on these buys and more great options.

The best outdoor lighting you can buy

10-metre 100 Warm White Micro Solar Fairy Lights strung up on the outside of a home

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

1. 10-metre 100 Warm White Micro Solar Fairy Lights

Best fairy lights: create your desired atmosphere with these beautifully bright fairy lights

Specifications

Best for: Atmosphere
Power: Mains/battery
Color: Warm white

Reasons to buy

+
Solar and battery charging 
+
Bendy wire for flexible designs
+
Versatile option

Reasons to avoid

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 Can only be used to illuminate small areas

Truly the most versatile garden lighting option around, these Warm White Micro LED Fairy Lights are special for many reasons. Here are some of our favorite features:

Micro-sized bulbs

The lightbulbs are micro sized, which creates a really beautiful and subtle effect or a dazzling glow if you use multiple strings. 

Customizable

The bendy wire allows for total freedom of expression: tie them around your favourite garden tree, or bunch them up and display them in a jar. Especially, given the 10m cable lead, which gives you plenty to work with. 

Mains and battery powered

Plug them into the mains (the long cable will help with that), or you can run them off AA batteries. 

Philips Hue outdoor lights hung up in a pretty garden with wooden walls

(Image credit: Philips)

2. Philips Hue outdoor lights

Best outdoor smart lighting: control and customize your garden lights from any location

Specifications

Best for: Smart lighting
Power: LED
Color: White and colored

Reasons to buy

+
Control your outdoor lights from any location
+
Choose from over 16 million colored lights
+
Set lighting schedules for an easy home security solution
+
A wide variety of designs to choose from 

Reasons to avoid

-
LED operated lights may not be everyone's preference
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Expensive 
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You will need the Philips Hue bridge

Philips Hue offer some of the best smart lighting around, and now the brains behind the operation have expanded to offer a wide variety of outdoor lights that can be controlled much like their indoor lights. Here's everything you need to know:

Control your smart outdoor lights from any location

Much like the rest of the Philips Hue smart lighting range, it's easy to control your outdoor lights via an app on your smartphone, or using voice commands if you're within range of your Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker.

This makes it super easy to control your outdoor lights from any location, which is great news if you want to give the impression that someone's home, even if they're not. Or, if you want your lights to turn on, automatically, when someone approaches your home.

Choose from a variety of light designs 

Besides offering a super practical smart lighting solution, Philips Hue outdoor lighting is also remarkably stylish. All products in the range – which includes wall lights, spotlights, pedestal lights and more – are available in black or silver finishes for an ultra modern look.

Proven to be weatherproof 

Rigorous testing has proven that Philips Hue's outdoor smart lights are capable of withstanding various forms of extreme weather.

Amazon's Long Life Lamp Company Outdoor Garden Spike Light placed in the ground in the garden

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Long Life Lamp Company Outdoor Garden Spike Light

Best garden post lights: illuminate your favorite garden features, or use them as a stylish security option

Specifications

Best for: Multi-purpose
Power: Mains
Color: White, blue, green,red

Reasons to buy

+
 Range of compatible bulb colors 
+
 Mains powered for constant light 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Bulbs come separately 

These multi-purpose, Long Life Lamp Company Outdoor Garden Spike Lights are a great choice if you’re looking for a subtle security feature or a way to illuminate a garden path. Here's everything you need to know about them:

Mains powered

The fact that they're mains powered make them a much more reliable choice than solar power, and they’re capable of a much brighter output, too. 

Compatible with a variety of bulbs

They’re compatible with both LED and halogen bulbs, which is great if you have a preference for a particular bulb type.

Choose from a range of colors

With white, blue, green and red being just some of the colors available, there’s plenty of scope for you to make them the perfect decorative feature for your garden, which is why it's one of our best outdoor lighting picks.

John Lewis Strom LED Outdoor Wall Light

(Image credit: John Lewis)

4. John Lewis Strom LED Outdoor Wall Light

Best electric garden lights: the perfect garden light for courtyards and patios

Specifications

Best for: Wall lighting
Power: Mains
Color: Yellow

Reasons to buy

+
Very stylish 
+
Two color options available 

Reasons to avoid

-
Mains powered which may not suit everyone

If you’re looking to create a stylish outside area in which to wine and dine, this modern John Lewis Strom LED Outdoor Wall Light could be the perfect choice. Here's why we love it:

Choose from a variety of finishes

Available in silver and black, these mains powered lights will provide your outside area with a warm, reliable light with good looks to boot.

Come with LED bulbs

Unlike our previous choice, this wall light comes with long-lasting LED bulbs, which can be dimmed to create your ideal ambiance.  

the best garden lighting: David Hunt Admiral Wall Light, oval-shaped industrial-look bulb with bronze-coloured caging

5. David Hunt Admiral Wall Light

Best garden wall lights: unique garden lighting which blends the old with the new

Specifications

Best for: Traditional lighting
Power: Mains
Color: Yellow/white

Reasons to buy

+
Designed and made in the UK 
+
Handmade and finished using traditional techniques 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Perhaps too obscure for some 

Taking inspiration from traditional nautical style, this David Hunt Admiral Wall Light combines old with new design ideas to create contemporary lighting that will look great on your outside wall. Here's everything you need to know:

Made in Britain

Designed in the UK and made in the Cotswolds, those passionate about investing in UK products will be pleased to know about the origins of this unique light. 

Stylish industrial feel

Blending textures, colors and materials, David Hunt has a range of nautical themed lighting, enabling you to create an exterior theme for your outside area. We think it's one of the best outdoor lighting options if you're into industrial style interiors, too.

Nordlux Vejers Outdoor Wall Lantern

(Image credit: Nordlux Vejers)

6. Nordlux Vejers Outdoor Wall Lantern

Best porch light: a durable galvanised steel outside light that emits a soft glow

Specifications

Best for: Avoiding light pollution
Power: Mains
Color: Yellow

Reasons to buy

+
Strong and durable 
+
Emits low levels of light
+
Stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
 Not bright enough for some 

If you’re looking to invest in garden lighting to place near windows and doors, you may want to look at low level lighting, which won’t filter inside and interrupt sleeping. These Nordlux Vejers Outdoor Wall Lanterns are a great example. Here's everything you need to know:

Minimal light pollution

While strong and sturdy, these wall lanterns have been designed to softly filter light downwards, rather than outwards, which means the light emitted is contained, rather than dispersed. 

Stylish design

Featuring anti-rust coating with a black stainless steel finish, these are traditional lights that will look great in almost any outside environment. Find more porch lights in our buyer's guide.

the Argos Home Solar 20 Festoon Warm White Lights tied up in a tree with a brick wall behind

(Image credit: Argos)

7. Argos Home Solar 20 Festoon Warm White Lights

Best solar garden lighting: with a vintage look, these lights will add a special touch any garden

Specifications

Best for: Decorative feature
Power: Solar
Color: Warm white

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to install 
+
Great value 
+
Solar powered

Reasons to avoid

-
Fragile
-
They don't cover a great amount of space

These Argos Home festoon lights are a great option if you're looking for something a little more delicate. Here's everything you need to know:

Stylish design

These gorgeous garden lights have the beautiful shape of vintage tungsten lightbulbs, and look whimsical and delicate when put up in a tree or above your garden dining table on a string. 

Solar powered

Solar powered, they won’t cost you anything to run. And at just £20 for 20, these lights are incredibly cost effective, making them a great addition to your outside area.  

best outdoor lights: 3 Outdoor Battery LED Candles

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

8. Outdoor Battery LED Candles

Best battery operated garden lighting: create a subtle ambiance with these glowing candles

Specifications

Best for: Realistic candle alternative
Power: C type batteries
Color: Ivory

Reasons to buy

+
Realistic looking
+
6 hour timer option
+
Come as a pack of three

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't be to all tastes

Love having candles out in the garden, but are concerned about safety, or rainy weather? These good-looking, battery-powered LED candle lights from Lights4fun are for you. Here's everything you need to know:

Weather-resistant

Aside from being super stylish, these LED candles can also withstand any weather, with clever small holes at the top and bottom allowing rain water to drain instead of pooling inside them.

Flicker like a realistic candle

The amber LED lights flicker to create a realistic candlelit ambiance, and the plastic used for the body is durable and smooth.

Set lighting schedules with ease

You can also set these lights on a six-hour timer, so you won't need to remember to switch them off when you go in. 

How to buy the best garden lights

When it comes to how to buy the best garden lights, there are a few factors worth considering if you want to ensure you're spending your money on the best option to suit your requirements. These include: 

Function

Before you choose garden lighting, you'll want to think carefully about the function you'd like it to serve. Practical, aesthetic, or both?

Wall lights are the perfect example of a practical yet decorative garden lighting, and they’re a warmer alternative to harsh floodlights which are probably a bit too intrusive if you’re planning on having friends round for an evening BBQ. Outdoor wall lights exist in all shapes and sizes, providing an opportunity for style aficionados to indulge their keen eye in their garden, as well as their interior decor.

Those who are tired of tripping over the edges of their garden path may want to consider floor lights. Floor lights are often solar powered, so they’ll be ready and waiting to guide you safely down the middle of your path every time you return home in the dark.

Power

As we’ve already suggested, garden lighting is, more often than not, solar powered, which means it involves absolutely no running costs. That being said, it relies on the sun’s power for their charge, so you may find that the light begins to dim fairly early into the night if the day has been particularly dull, or in winter. Alternatively, you can purchase mains powered lights. These are often more powerful and are a more reliable addition, especially if you plan to be hosting late evenings in your garden during the summer. 

Looking for more garden advice and inspiration?

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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