How Far Apart Should Patio Lights Be? 9 Quick Tips

The distance between lights on your patio depends on two factors. How dense do you want your patio to be and the size of your patio lights. Many homeowners recommend the light spacing should be between 12 inches and 3 feet

There are several types of patio lights, but string lights are common on most patios. If you want dense string lighting on your patio, then twelve inches spacing is the best. Make sure the bulb sockets are twelve inches apart. 

If you have huge patio lights such as floodlights, you can increase the spacing to about 3 feet apart. This is because the congestion of big lights on your patio makes it too bright and uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you have smaller light bulbs, reduce the distance to about 24 inches apart. Doing so will reduce dark spots on your patio. 

The size and type of your patio will also contribute to the light spacing. For example, an open-air/no roof patio will require patio lights close together like twenty inches apart. This is because the lack of a roof makes the light to disperse to unwanted regions, but a roof concentrates the light on the patio space only.

Types of Patio Lights and Their Recommended Spacing 

  1. String lights 

String lights are beautiful and elegant on any patio. They provide a lot of light and also a whimsical feeling. You can string them according to your own personal preference. Arrange them in a pattern that will be wonderful for your eyes and guests. 

The best spacing distance between string sockets is 12 inches. This distance is good if you want a clear and bright patio. But if you want a slightly dark patio, 20 inches between the light sockets is the best. String lights are not expensive and you can wind them around a pillar.

  1. Patio table lamps 

Table lamps are becoming common on patios nowadays. Patio table lamps have screens that protect the bulb from wind and rainwater. Most table lamps are portable, but a few are permanent on the table. 

The distance between table lamps depends on the size of the patio table. If you have a big patio table, separate the table lamps with a space of about 24 inches. A small patio table will only need one table lamp.

  1. Floodlights 

Most homeowners use this type of light for security purposes. Floodlights provide bright light and they can illuminate a wide range/area. Place floodlights far away from the patio to have a comfortable lighting. 

One floodlight is enough for one patio, but if you have a bigger patio two floodlights 3 feet apart is the best option. Floodlights may not be aesthetically pleasing on your patio, but they are good for security. 

  1. Solar patio lights 

These are small patio lights that are powered by solar energy. They are placed on strategic points on your patio. Most homeowners do not use them as the main source of patio lighting, but some do use them as the main source of patio light. Some only use them when there is a blackout or when a storm is coming. 

If you use them as the main patio light, place them fifteen inches apart. But if you only use them during emergencies, place them at specific points like on the entrance, above the tables, and around the sitting area. 

  1. Lighting scones 

It is an easy way to light up your patio. You can wire the scones to your home electric system so that you can use a switch to light them. Most lighting scones are bright and LED so 24 inches is the best spacing distance. 

Lighting scones come in many different styles and designs. Hence they are the best if you want elegance on your patio. Nowadays you can change the bulbs of lighting scones, hence you can choose any bulb that you want. You can choose a bright bulb or a dim bulb.

  1. Lanterns 

These are the most versatile and practical patio lights. They create a nice and romantic mood on your patio. Lanterns come with covers that have different colors and designs. Lanterns can be arranged in a string, hence the best spacing distance is twelve inches. 

There are also table lanterns that use kerosene or rechargeable battery. For table lanterns, the size of the table is what will decide the spacing distance. If you have a big table a spacing distance of 15 inches is the best. But if you have a small table, just one lantern per table is enough. 

  1. Pot lighting/planter lighting 

Potted plants are very beautiful on your patio and adding patio lights makes them elegant. Buy a planter pot that has a raised pole with a bulb holder. Most planter lights are not bright, hence the best spacing distance is 12 inches. 

However, planter lights is not the main source of light on your patio. You can have string lights or floodlights as the main source of light. 

  1. Step lights 

These are lights that go on walls beside the staircase or on the front vertical face. They are safety lights that prevent you from tumbling down the stairs. Step lights are dim and 15 inches apart is the best distance. Of course, there must be a bright patio light on the ceiling above the staircase. 

  1. Landscape lights 

These lights are best for a huge patio or garden patios. It is the best way to illuminate your natural bushes and plants around your patio. Landscape lights are best kept at 3 feet apart because they are used to add elegance in your garden patio. 

Landscape lights come in different designs and styles. For example, some are solar powered hence environmentally friendly. While others are motion-sensitive, they only light up when there is some movement detected. 


The personal preference of how dense you want your patio to be and the size of the patio light are the main factors that determine the spacing distance between the lights. Each type of patio light has its own recommended spacing distance.

In general, all patio lights must be spaced between twelve inches and three feet. Beyond three feet, there will be a huge gap and below twelve inches the lights will be too close together.