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on December 22, 2015

How to Create an Outdoor Living Space

When the summer months roll around, or you are fortunate enough to live where you can be outdoors year-round, you want to be sure you can take advantage of your outdoor living space as much as possible. Whether your backyard is a pristine oasis complete with a pool and garden or you are limited to a small balcony overlooking nothing but your neighbor's place, there's always room for improvement.

Enhancing your outdoor lighting will give your area so much more versatility: Host a cookout and have guests linger after dusk. Enjoy a late dinner on the patio. Bring a book out after the sun goes down and listen to the crickets.

Chances are if your current outdoor lighting situation is lackluster, you are not using the space as much as you could. Customize your lighting to enhance your space by following the tips below:

For Staircases

Adding some degree of step lighting creates a beautiful effect that frames your outdoor space. It makes negotiating a dark staircase after a long day much more manageable. As far as product recommendations, it depends on what you are looking for. You can choose a model with dusk-to-dawn sensors so that you will never have to worry about turning it on and off, you can choose a color-changing look, or you can stick to a basic model that will replace a standard outdoor wall outlet.

For Pathways & Sidewalks

Lining your pathway or sidewalk with motion-activated or remote-controlled lights is another inexpensive addition that can make your outdoor area brilliant. It's easiest to choose battery operated lights for this project so you won't have to deal with snaking a power cord to a distant outdoor outlet. If you would rather illuminate your entire path with one light, try an LED spotlight. Spotlights can be incredibly powerful, allowing you to get enough light output to cover the area.

For Railings

LED rope light is fantastic for deck railings or balconies. It's an upgrade from the string lights you use during holidays: It's more durable, highly energy-efficient, and the light does not attract bugs (LEDs do not emit UV rays). Also, the overall look is more sophisticated.

For Dining Areas

Try complementing your outdoor dining table with candles: they will create a soft, cozy atmosphere for summer dinners. For a more dramatic effect, think about hanging a candelabra overhead. With outdoor tables, you can get away with a little less light output – and there's no substitute for the natural glow of candlelight.

For Grills

Don't forget about the area that requires a good deal of task lighting for cooking. Clip a barbecue light to your grill (or mount it right on the grill shelf), and you will no longer worry about whether the steaks are overdone.