With summer rapidly approaching, outdoor kitchens across the country will soon be returning to life. The warmer weather and longer evenings mean more chances for outdoor dining, but bad lighting can spoil the occasion.

If you can’t see the food, it’s hard to tell if it’s cooked. Plus, it’s easy for guests to trip on a poorly lit staircase and turn a pleasant August dinner into a trip to the emergency room.

So you need to consider how to light up your outdoor kitchen and dining area. Here are several points to bear in mind if you want to keep your dinner parties going long after the sun goes down.

3 Things to Consider When Selecting Outdoor Kitchen Lighting

Before installing new lights or updating old ones, there are three main issues: the weather, the circuits, and the appearance. Let’s take a look at each in turn. 

1. Weather Conditions

Your fixtures have to be weatherproof. The lights have to withstand whatever the elements can throw at them, regardless of where you live. Always choose fixtures that are rated for outdoor use.

Plastic fixtures are cheaper, but they are less durable and often need replacing. All of our products are weather-resistant; CAST Landscape products are made of solid sand-cast bronze, while our Source By Cast range is brass. They won’t rust in the rain or crack if a large hailstone hits them.


Two adults have dinner on the porch at night


2. The Circuits

Consider your needs when setting up your outdoor kitchen lighting. Besides the lighting, your set-up will include outdoor speakers and cooking appliances.

Having more than one circuit reduces the risk of it being overloaded. You should let a qualified electrician or company with experience setting up outdoor lighting handle the project. They will provide the professional insights you need to make your outdoor kitchen a success.

3. Appearance

Lighting is a significant component in the overall style of your outdoor kitchen. It can make the difference in whether it looks warm and comfortable or cold and unwelcoming. Choose a style that complements the design of your home.

You may have several ideas already in mind or just a vague sense of what you’d like. A professional lighting designer can help bring the picture in your head to life.  

5 Types of Outdoor Kitchen Lighting

Now, let’s consider the types of lighting available. There’s a wide range of options out there, and the only limit is your imagination, but let’s look at five popular types of outdoor kitchen lighting. 

1. Counter & Bar Top Lighting

Counter and bar top lighting is critical for any good outdoor kitchen. Slicing up zucchini with a sharp knife is risky business if you can’t see clearly, and even the most talented cocktail makers don’t mix spirits in the dark. 

Whether you’re prepping food or serving drinks to guests, the area needs to be illuminated. Overhead lighting placed along the edges of counters and bar tops can look great.

It should be warm too. If you’re sipping a Tequila Sunrise on a warm summer’s evening, you don’t want to be standing by a cold blue light that resembles a bug zapper. The CAST Classic Niche Light would be a good choice here. 

2. Step or Stair Lights

Don’t neglect the stairs when it comes to outdoor lighting. Well-lit stairs are not only safer, but they can also be very aesthetically pleasing. A stone staircase lined with enchanting lights leading to the kitchen area practically beckons the guests to climb it.

Stone staircase that is well lit


Alternatively, you can consider installing recessed floor lighting if you have a wooden staircase. Source by CAST recessed lights makes the stairs easier to see, reducing the chance of tripping and sending the main course flying over the lawn. 

3. Wall Lighting

Wall lights are a practical way of lighting your outdoor kitchen area, especially if it’s close to your house. They’re also effective at creating a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere; a few well-placed fixtures can dramatically change the mood of a building.

Our Cast Classic Wall Wash can do wonders for the vibe, especially if you place them between windows. It’ll highlight the architectural design of your house, increasing its appeal while simultaneously lighting your kitchen area. 

4. Under Counter Lighting

Counter-edges can block overhead lights, meaning everything below them remains hidden in the dark, but lighting the undersides adds an extra layer of illumination. Our Cast Classic Engineered Wall Lights will help you overcome this issue. They are versatile. You can use them under a countertop, bar top, or under the cap of a low wall surrounding your outdoor kitchen or patio area.

It’s worth noting that you should always use LEDs when lighting your counters. LEDs don’t emit UV rays, so they don’t attract insects. Choosing LEDs means you won’t have swarms of flies getting stuck in the coleslaw. 

5. Path Lighting

Similar to the stairs, path lighting is an important safety feature. They reduce the chances of guests tripping on uneven surfaces or wandering into the vegetable patch by mistake. Broken ankles and trampled flowerbeds are not welcome at any dinner party, and CAST Landscape Path Lights can prevent both.

A path that is well lit on both sides at night


And again, let’s not overlook the visual appeal. Path lights will accentuate the features of any plants or walls nearby. All you need to create an enchanting midnight path is to place a few lights in optimal locations. It’s a straightforward and remarkably effective way to alter the mood. 

Summing Up

Just picture the scene; it’s late in the evening, and your family is over for a mid-summer party. You’re grilling steaks for everyone to enjoy, the kids are splashing in the pool, and the adults are relaxing by the bar sipping wine.

Then as the sun dips below the horizon, you flick several switches, and the lights come on. The bar is bathed in the glow of the counter-top lights, the kids can keep having fun as the visibility is good, and the atmosphere remains relaxed and comforting.

It sounds like a perfect way to spend an evening. With the right outdoor kitchen lighting, it’s entirely possible. So why not get in touch with our design specialists? We can help you develop a plan, choose the fittings, and bring the picture in your head to life.