Rather than one or two bright porch lights, all three designers suggest using a variety of softer lights.
Lambton has used faux stone blocks with LED lights hidden inside, alongside traditional lighting. Flynn has done the same with illuminated planters.
"Sneaking in ambient light in unexpected ways is something I love to do," Flynn says. "In Los Angeles, I turned the middle of a family's Los Feliz [neighborhood] backyard into a full-fledged family room, comfy sectional sofa and all. To bring light to the space, I used modern, plastic planters that light up. They have cords on the back of them, and connect to exterior outlets. Once turned on, a light bulb inside the transparent plastic illuminates and the entire area glows softly. This is so genius because it requires no electrician whatsoever."
Even simpler options: thin strips of lights that can be attached along the underside of deck railings, or strands of lights in the shape of everything from simple bulbs to stars, hearts or jalapeño peppers strung overhead.
No matter which style of light you choose, Andrews says, add dimmers to your outdoor light switches. "Everything in the world," he says, "needs to be on a dimmer."
Go beyond your deck or patio
Don't forget to light the far reaches of your yard, Lambton says. It will make your property feel bigger and banish the feeling of being enveloped by darkness when you entertain outside.
It costs little to place a few small, solar-powered lights at the bases of trees and shrubs. He also suggests attaching a few to tree branches. "And I love to uplight ornamental grasses," Lambton says. "It adds nice depth to the yard."
Don't forget the fire
Fire pits of all sizes -- from huge outdoor fireplaces to small tabletop containers -- provide golden, flickering light for your outdoor space.
Display a collection of pillar candles in varying sizes (battery-powered or real), either clustered on their own or tucked inside large, glass lanterns to "add a bit of sparkle" to your yard, Andrews says.
Or create an outdoor chandelier with candles: "I tend to try my hand at rustic do-it-yourself ideas," Flynn says. "In my own outdoor dining room, I suspended a candelabra made from reclaimed pine planks, rope, mason jars and tea lights above the dining table. When my family comes over for pizza night, it creates the perfect ambience."
Combine safety and beauty
Home improvement stores and websites offer a huge array of options for lighting outdoor pathways and deck stairs, adding beauty while making your space safer.
And what about the safety of leaving lighting out in all weather? If it's outdoor-rated, Andrews says, it should be fine. But keep your climate in mind.
Flynn prefers not to leave "most lighting sources out year-round unless an outdoor space is covered," he says. "The only type of lighting I'm worry-free about for the outdoors is festival-style string lights. They're pretty much the same thing as holiday twinkle lights. My favorite styles are strands with mini lanterns; they really help light the perimeter of a space."