A lot of backyard BBQ kitchen areas always talk about how to set up your cooking area and preparation tables, but there’s one element that’s often left in the dark. If you haven’t guessed already, it’s all about lighting and how you can make your backyard grilling area more lively and illuminated.
Tips for Lighting Your Outdoor Kitchen
There’s nothing like a real outdoor barbecue in the comfort of your own backyard. And most people go to great lengths to have covered terraces so they can have a BBQ anytime in any weather. But what about getting enough light in your cooking zone that will enhance those nights when you have friends over? You might want to create a festive setting that is more themed for your BBQ retreat.
1. LED Spotlights
Just like track lights used to be all the rage in the mid-90s, mini LED spotlights are getting a ton of attention. You can easily mount these underneath any covered terrace and string the power supplies together to add on as many lights as you like. The advantage you’ll have with these lights is putting more focus on your food so you can see what you’re doing after the sun goes down.
Just make sure you have a dimmer so you can adjust the lights how you like. Many of these new LED lights come with remote controls or let you control them right through your phone. Get more festive with color-changing lights that can really kick off a grill party.
2. Party String Lights
What’s an outdoor terrace without some string light that makes your backyard appear inviting and festive. Better yet, why not give a variety of color-changing options in addition to having warm white light too. You can string these lights anywhere from nearly any overhang or tree branches. You can use the remote to get just the right mood when your grill party is themed for any day of the year.
The good thing about these kinds of lights is they’re perfect for outdoor use and will resist all types of weather. These lights also provide enough visible light to see in your backyard, but you might want to include other decorative lamps to dress up outdoor tables and fences.
3. Tiki Torches And Table Lamps
All outdoor barbecue kitchen setups always have a unique blend of lighting that gives your backyard a great personal touch. Another great idea is to add lighting that has built-in speakers that double as a portable music zone. The best thing about light-up speakers is they can link together so get a bigger sound all throughout your backyard. How about getting a combination table lamp that can also double as a Tiki lamp?
Connect directly to these speakers using Bluetooth technology so play your favorite music for you and your guests.
4. LED Light Strips
Here’s another great idea that uses LED technology with a waterproof solution that can give all the areas around your backyard real style. This special strip is easy to install under railings and along the leading edges of overhangs. Wherever you can attach these strips is where you can give decorative light. The advantage of this type of light strip is that it can connect to your smartphone using an app.
You can change the colors and adjust the brightness but also you can set these lights to interact with the music you’re playing. Whatever the tempo of the music is, the lights will follow right along.
Safety First When Installing Lights
No matter what kind of light you install, you want to be careful when putting up lights. Use a ladder if you need to attach lights to the edges of your house or even hanging from the branches of trees. Use plastic zip ties to attach lights around branches so they’re secure and don’t slip off so easily. Always make your electrical connections secure and have extension cords away from water as much as possible.
If you need to make some custom splicing for LED light strips, always follow the directions that come with these DIY lights. They try to make the connection process easier with easy-to-read instructions and video tutorials. Always keep your lights and wires away from hot BBQ equipment that could melt or become a fire danger.
Planning Your Outdoor Lighting
The best ideas always come from looking at where lights can be attached to structures in your backyard. If you have an outdoor kitchen or BBQ area that’s covered, use a simple sketch to map out where you want lights or strip lighting to be placed. Often, you can get lots of ideas from looking at Pinterest or watching DIY tutorial videos on Youtube. If you have limited space, using smaller lights can make that area appear bigger.
With larger areas, you’ll need to space your lighting so that each section of your BBQ grill area is illuminated. Map these areas with lighting zones that all have a customized look so no two areas are starting to look repetitive.
When we completed our outdoor BBQ area were fortunate enough to have friends that were part of a group of Arizona developers who specialized in drawing up construction plans. They included plans to have led lighting installed throughout our our door kitchen. But you don’t need to have friends in the business to accent your cooking area.
The easiest way to start is to focus on your BBQ kitchen area first and expand lighting outward to the rest of your backyard.
Budget Your BBQ Lights
You don’t have to buy any of the suggestions that are listed here. If you can find a better deal at your local hardware store or garden supply, then that’s great! Stick to a budget that works with what is affordable and doesn’t go above and beyond your limit. Start with a set budget and see how far you can stretch that. Luckily, LED lighting is getting more and more affordable and uses way less electricity than standard lighting.
With all the controls that come with these types of lights, it makes it easier to control the mood you want to create. Another great tip is to look for clearance items that might work for you so you can grab just the right lights you can control using a controller or smartphone app.