Your pre-summer outdoor lighting checklist: prepare your outdoor space for warm nights

Prepare your outdoor space for long summer evenings by checking, replacing, and cleaning your outdoor lights.

Outdoor patio area lit up in the evening
(Image credit: Alamy)

While we wait in anticipation for longer, warmer evenings, now's the perfect time to make sure that the outdoor lights are ready. It's best to follow these steps before summer arrives so that when it does, we can enjoy our outdoor spaces straight away.

Checking your outdoor lighting involves making sure every light works, cleaning them, and maybe even making some changes for the new season. 

Here's our step-by-step checklist of everything to do to prepare your outdoor lights for summer this year. We even caught up with the experts to make sure everything's covered.

Your pre-summer outdoor lighting checklist

Prepare your patio, porch and yard for summer evenings by checking on your outdoor lights. You could even use it as an opportunity to try something new.

1. Check the power source

outdoor summer dinning setting with festoons and candles in a courtyard

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

'You should start by making sure your power source or transformer is working,' says Nels Peterson, VP of Blingle. 'This process is as simple as opening it up and looking inside.' This will help to see if there's any damage or even if any small animals have made a home in there.

'Also, make sure it's operating at a comfortable temperature, you should be able to touch it without getting burned or feeling that it's too hot,' adds Nels. If your transformer or power source has exposed, ungrounded parts - do not touch these with your bare hands. Consult an electrician if you're unsure.

2. Inspect light fixtures

Once you're confident the power source is working as it should be, it's time to inspect the lights. A good way to do this is to walk along the runs of power to every light fixture, making sure to also check any lights that aren't connected to the system like string lights, solar lights or LED strips.

'With time, outdoor lights get exposed to various weather elements, which could cause corrosion or physical damage,' explains Andrei Newman, founder of Designer Home Spas.

'Inspect if the gaskets of outdoor lights remain intact. Gaskets prevent water from seeping into the fixture, which can lead to electrical issues or bulb failures,' adds Jimmy Hiller, CEO of Happy Hiller.

3. Make any adjustments

wall lights on modern patio

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

'If you find any visible damages, either order replacements for worn-out parts or buy new fixtures to maintain your outdoor aesthetics,' Andrei advises. These damages could be on the cables, the fixtures, the steaks, or the lights themselves.

'Steaks should be pushed into the ground and loose wire should be tucked in the ground at least 6 inches,' explains Nels. Making sure your loose wires are buried at least 6 inches helps to mitigate fire risks.

Jimmy also recommends protecting any lights that are currently exposed: 'For those lights which are unprotected in the open air, add protective covers to shield them from direct exposure to rain, snow, and sun. This can help prevent corrosion and fading caused by ultraviolet light.'

4. Replace bulbs (if necessary)

If any bulbs have gone out, now is the time to replace them. Better yet, even those bulbs that are still working but are perhaps a little old could do with being upgraded.

'If you haven’t yet, replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which are 90% more efficient and last longer,' recommends Jimmy.

It's also a great opportunity to upgrade the ambiance that your bulbs provide. Switching to warmer colors will make a noticeable difference to your outdoor space, so consider upgrading to the best warm light bulbs

5. Clean light fixtures

Once everything's working and in its place, clean your lights and fixtures. This will truly refresh your outdoor space in time for summer.

'Use a soft brush to remove dust from the light fixtures. If there is some stubborn debris, use a soap solution, but remember to wipe light fixtures down thoroughly after cleaning them with water,' Jimmy recommends. Look out for any calcification, too, where fixtures have become white. 

6. Play around with the arrangement

cozy patio with lighting by Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Finally, now that everything's up and running, it wouldn't hurt to move things around and see how you can completely transform your lighting setup.

You can consider new string lights, color-changing LEDs around the patio, solar lights along walkways, or maybe even some focused lights to illuminate a tree, sculpture, or eye-catching feature in your yard. If you have strong Wi-Fi (or a Wi-Fi extender), you could even opt for some weatherproofed, outdoor smart bulbs.

It's a satisfying feeling ticking off everything in this list, especially knowing that it brings us ever so closer to warmer days. If you're looking to try something new this summer, consider checking out our patio lighting ideas, front porch lighting ideas, and pool lighting ideas.

Dan Fauzi
Home Tech Editor

Dan is the Home Tech Editor for Homes & Gardens, covering all things cleaning, smart home, sound and automation across the Solved section. Having worked for Future PLC since July 2023, Dan was previously the Features Editor for Top Ten Reviews and looked after the wide variety of home and outdoor content across the site, but their writing about homes, gardens, tech and products started back in 2021 on brands like BBC Science Focus, YourHomeStyle, Homes & Antiques and Gardens Illustrated.

Dan is based in Bristol, UK with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Magazine Journalism. Outside of work, you'll find them at gigs and art galleries, cycling somewhere scenic, or cooking up something good in the kitchen.