Lighting Ideas for an Outside Arbor

Written by april sanders
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Lighting Ideas for an Outside Arbor
Light up your arbor. (windows,arbor image by Greg Pickens from

Arbors are used to add architectural detail to a garden or landscape as well as shade and protection to an area. Some arbors are merely functional in design while others are ornately decorative; many are used as support structures for flowering or fruiting vines. Regardless of your arbor's function or purpose, lights can be used to further enhance its visual impact.

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Strands of Lights

Decorate your arbor with strands of tiny lights. This illumination adds a romantic, fairy-tale feel to your arbor. Starting at the base of the arbor, wind the lights up and around it. Use solar or battery-powered lights if your arbor is not near an electrical socket. This look is especially effective if your arbor is over a gate, or if you are decorating your arbor for a special occasion, such as a backyard wedding. Use white lights for a sophisticated feel or multicoloured lights for a fun summer party or barbecue.

Hanging Lanterns

Hang several lanterns from the top of your arbor. Lanterns may be helpful and atmospheric, particularly if you have a seating area under your arbor. Use paper lanterns for a festive party atmosphere or wooden or metal lanterns for an old-fashioned, country look. You can even personalise paper lanterns by painting them with black ink. Consider personalisation if you are decorating for a special occasion, such as a graduation party; for example, you could add the graduation year to the lanterns.


Spotlight your arbor from afar by aiming some strong lights at it. Spotlights are especially useful if you want to light up your entire arbor; they are more powerful than other lighting choices. You can plug in the spotlights near an outlet and then direct the beam of light onto the arbor. This lighting choice is dramatic, so it is best used for arbors that are distinctive and showy in design.

Solar Lights

Solar lights provide a subtle, quiet glow. Some sit on top of stakes that can be pressed into the ground; install one stake at each corner of your arbor or use them to line a path to your arbor. Some solar lights are made to hang from hooks; screw the hooks into your arbor and hang the lamps at equal intervals to softly light up your outdoor abode.

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