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Garden structures such as gazebos and arbors can be considered in the same light as a patio or terrace. These are places where you can lay back and enjoy beautiful views. At the same time these features are destinations in their own right and, as such, part of another view.

Whether it is a rose arch over a seat or bench or an Arcadian Temple large enough to accommodate a string quartet, the lighting principles remain largely the same.

There is an increasing number of temporary canvas awnings-open-sided tents which are often described as gazebos. Many offer portable clip-on lighting, which usually takes the form of globe lights arranged in a festoon for draping about at head height or as a group. For temporary parties and festivities, they do an adequate job.

In this guide, I focus on lighting permanent gazebos; lighting to brighten up the gathering space and enhance nighttime viewing from a different angle.

How to light a Gazebo

It is best to think of gazebos as primary objects, focal points, for pleasurable viewing, and secondarily as sitting or alfresco dining spaces.

Lighting should not only make these features visible in the nightscape but also emphasize their importance as focal points. Showcase the shape and form of the doomed or pointed roof with overhead or side lighting and the surface texture of posts, pillars, or columns with wall sconces or grazing uplighting.

Be sure to highlight key elements in and around the gazebo, backlight the plantings, and gently illuminate the steps to enhance safety.

If there is a water feature nearby such as a pond or lake, the water acts as a reflective mirror for the lit garden structure.

Internal lighting can be more difficult and depends on the scale of the feature. A simple rose arch may need no lighting at all, but larger, more complex structures need more lighting by means of pendants, festoon lights, or a medium-angle spotlight to throw light at the center of the floor or table. Keep the lighting level low without being too dramatic.

If the structure is large enough, up-lighters concealed in the beams or brackets can illuminate the roof while spilling residual lighting on the walking and seating surfaces.

But the lighting should be done to avoid glare (light that shines onto a viewer’s eyes). Using recessed-up lighters around the structure or concealing luminaires among plantings are some ways to avoid glare. Fittings with special louvers or glare shields are another great option.

The luminaires should also be in keeping with the style of the structure. For instance, a rustic or aged structure might be best served by a stained wooden or wrought iron lantern lit by oil, candle, or candle-shaped LED.

Above all, take care that any lighting does not obscure the view.


Gazebo Lighting Ideas

Here are some great ideas for gazebo lighting:

1.   Hanging lights:

You can use hanging lights such as lanterns and pendant lights to create various moods. Cluster them together for a statement look.

Ensure they are weather-resistant and rated for outdoor use. Hang the light securely from a sturdy metal hook and adjust the wire length for even hanging.

  • String lights/Bistro lights: String lights are great for gazebo lighting. They create a festive and inviting atmosphere by emitting a warm glow. They are lightweight, easy to install, cost-friendly, and come in various styles. These lights can be hung from corner to corner draped from the ceiling or wrapped around the gazebo posts or a nearby tree. You can hang your lights in a zig-zag pattern, straight across your structure, or hung around the edge to frame the structure.
  • Outdoor chandelier:¬†An outdoor chandelier installed in the gazebo ceiling can add a touch of luxury and elegance to your gazebo while illuminating the structure. Be sure to select a chandelier or pendant that can withstand inclement weather.¬†
  • Festoon lights: Festoon lights are quite similar to string lights but with bigger bulbs. Attach the lights along the frame of the gazebos or as described above for string lights.

2.   Outdoor lanterns:

Freestanding floor lanterns and lamps are perfect for lighting a gazebo and adding a unique decorative flair. They are a simple and effective way to illuminate a gazebo.

You can place them on flat surfaces like tables or overhang them from the roof or posts. If you prefer to hang your pendant lights use metal plant hangers for easy installation.

3.   Wall pendants:

Wall pendants are a statement maker. They provide illumination and serve as decorative elements with their intricate and beautiful designs.

4.   Post lights:

Post lights or sconces are excellent for gazebo lighting. Their bulbs illuminate the space and add a touch of elegance.

5.   Path lights:

Light up the path to the gazebo to complement your gazebo lighting.

Use path light to illuminate low growth and highlight the path leading to the structure. These lights are easy to stake into your yard and create a welcoming ambiance in various areas of the space.

6.   Candles:

Candles make beautiful centerpieces adding warmth and a lively atmosphere. If you are concerned about open flames, warm flameless candle-shaped LEDs provide the same ambiance.

7:   Tiki Torches:

Tiki torches not only add a creative touch to your gazebo lighting but can also keep bugs at bay. They create a tropical and festive atmosphere.

Ensure they are placed at a safe distance from any flammable items such as wooden beams or curtains. They are available in various styles, colors, and patterns to match your style.

With these ideas and techniques, you can bring your gazebo to life with captivating lighting arrangements, creating a welcoming and enchanting outdoor space for memorable gatherings.

George Gitau

Meet George, an advocate for traditional craftsmanship. I will provide you with educational content, techniques and ideas for your next garden and home improvement project. Together, let's create beautiful spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional

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