In fair weather, diners love nothing more than an inviting patio dining experience. Eating al fresco lets them enjoy their meal with a side of sunshine. But when the sun goes down, the fun doesn't have to stop. You can serve guests well into the night by carefully selecting lighting that's both attractive and functional.
We've talked before about how lighting affects your diners' moods (and their appetites). Creating a warm and welcoming ambience will bring in passersby and enhance guest satisfaction. But when you're shopping for outdoor lighting, there are practical considerations as well, like safety and weather-readiness. Here are a few lighting options you can mix and match in your outdoor dining space.
Depending on how your patio is set up, traditional sconces or overhead fixtures can be used just as they would be inside your dining room. Lights can be attached to pergolas, beams, or even the side of your building. These are a great way to create a base level of illumination, since they provide a consistent and broad wash of light. Good visibility is especially important in areas with high foot traffic to prevent accidents. Just make sure to use fixtures and bulbs that are rated for outdoor use.
Nothing can compare with the elegance and romance of a candlelit dinner. But open flames on a windy day could spell disaster. For all of the ambience and none of the hassle, consider using flameless candles. Hollowick offers LED candles that give off a lifelike flicker, just like the real deal. As an added bonus, they use rechargeable batteries, saving you the cost of replacement batteries or candles.
Rows of round bulbs suspended from trusses have become almost synonymous with patio dining. Use this to your advantage! If your dining space is visible from the street, passersby will see those lights and immediately associate them with a fun-filled meal under the stars. To get the look just right, make sure each strand has a little bit of slack (but not so much that it encroaches on headspace). And attach the strands securely, especially if your patio is prone to unexpected gusts of wind.
In addition to setting the mood, lighting can be used to draw focus toward important or impressive features of your venue. If you have an interesting, historic building, try uplighting the structure. Landscape lights will make your carefully cultivated gardens really pop. If nothing else, point a fixture at your establishment's sign or name, so no one will be able to forget you or the incredible outdoor dining experience you have to offer.
The best part about these lighting options is that you don't have to pick and choose. You can use them all! Build in layers of lighting until you get the mood just right, and the table is set for an unforgettable night.