I think sometimes we forget the “living” aspect of outdoor living. Just like living indoors, lighting is an important part to enjoying your outdoor living. A well-lit room indoors has 3 levels of lighting:
Overhead lighting like can lights or chandeliers
Task lighting like table lamps
Ambient lighting like candle light and lights on a dimmer, these are the soft touches that create a mood
These three levels apply to outdoor living as well. Overhead lighting can be outdoor chandeliers, ceiling lighting and market lighting or string lights -- if hung high enough. Task lighting can be lamps and even sconces hung on posts, depending on where you hang them. And ambient lighting, my personal favorite, creates that great feel. You can work in ambient lighting by softly illuminating a set of stairs, a tree or a garden area. Truly, this level of lighting makes or breaks an outdoor living area. Even a fire pit can work as ambient lighting.
There can be a practical side to lighting too. Adding lighting to steps and ledges so they can be seen at night takes care of any safety issues. Of course at the same time, these pathways can be areas that add charm and lead you throughout the yard and garden to experience special unseen places.
Take some time to explore what's out there in terms of outdoor lighting. Lowes and Home Depot are great, but there are some really fun and funky options out there. I love these fun jacks lights. Would you use these in your yard?
I can just see these colored glass drops down a garden path, or in a garden area.
As far as powering your lighting, you can look into solar or low voltage in addition to the average battery powered options. I really enjoy lighting a fence or overhang with these solar lights. If you have the power of the sun, I say use it!
Another option is low voltage lighting, but this is one you have to plan for. Conduit and cabling have to be run and plans made to create the finished look. I highly suggest bringing in a professional, their ideas and insights will help immensely. Turn on the lights outside as well as in, your space will be available both day and night!