LED strips for outdoor decor

Susan Fernandez February 02 2022

What are the different types of outdoor LED strips?

There are a variety of LED strips on the market that vary by shape, size, and brightness. In terms of shape, most come as standard square LED strips while ribbon-shaped ones have also become popular due to new design trends. These can be cut to custom lengths depending on your specific needs and offer even more flexibility than square strips.

One lesser-known type is flexible EL wire which has one very noticeable advantage:  it's like a string of extremely bright LEDs that bend and twist around any surface. Power consumption varies greatly between LED strip types; ribbon-style strips draw hardly any power (around 0.02 watts per foot), making them ideal for low voltage applications such as running off solar panels or batteries over long periods of time.

Square LED strips can use upwards of 1.2 watts per foot so are best suited for 12 or 24-volt systems, while EL wire is usually powered by a standard 5v power supply and can therefore be used in most cases where you would normally use LEDs.

Are all LED strips waterproof and weather resistant?

The most important aspect when choosing a LED strip for outdoor decor is its ability to resist high temperatures, snow, rain, wind, salt spray, etc.

So, you need to ensure that the strips you choose can withstand these conditions. The waterproof outdoor LEDs are solid-state components which means they're essentially impervious to most environmental factors such as rain and snow (don't submerge them though).

However, if exposed to extremely high temperatures (>180F/82C) they will begin to fail so it's important that outdoor LED strip lights are designed with temperature in mind. While this is true for all kinds of outdoor LED strip lights, your options may be limited if you want something super thin or flexible since many types are not rated for use in full sunlight. Where possible, look for indoor-outdoor rated strips or specify the exact type when getting a custom quote from an LED supplier.

For choosing waterproof LED strips you need to consider where they will be installed. If they are only going to be exposed for short periods of time (under an eave, or under the lip of a roof), then most strips will resist the elements well enough.

However, if you're looking at mounting your outdoor LED strips out in the open (exposed to direct sunlight) then you should consider getting marine-rated ones specially designed for long-term outdoor use. These strips are not only resistant to water and ice but also high levels of UV radiation so won't fade as easily over time.

They may cost slightly more than regular LED strip lights, however, their dfurability is far superior so it's worth investing in them if you plan on leaving your lighting up year-round. 

What is Ingress protection?

IP or Ingress protection is a rating system for enclosures (such as IP65) that ensures the electrical components inside are protected against intrusion by foreign bodies like dirt, dust, water, and other materials. The higher the number, the better the protection. For example, an IP65 enclosure lets in less than 1mm of water while IP67 allows for submersion in up to 3m of water for 30 minutes (though this usually means it's also fully sealed from any potential ingress of dust).

IP ratings tend to be independent of temperature so can be used both indoors or outdoors. This is important since LED strip lighting is often exposed to high levels of heat during installation which could damage them if they were rated only for use in cold conditions.

As already mentioned, most LED strip lights are only rated for indoor use. If you want to use them in outdoor conditions, it's important that they can withstand the heat of direct sunlight. Look for one with an extended temperature rating (>70C or 155F) so they won't be damaged by high levels of ambient heat.

What is light density and how does it concern LED strips?

Light density or brightness is a measure of how intense or spread out the light emitted from a strip is. Basically, it means how bright your lighting will be and how even the illumination is across its length. The number of LEDs on each meter and the placement of them all play a role in determining this so you should give some thought to where your lights will be before ordering anything.

You want your LED strips to produce bright light that fills the spaces where they're installed but without producing too many shadowy areas which can make an area feel cold and uninviting. To achieve this, it's important that you use LED strips with similar specs wherever possible (i.e: roughly equivalent numbers of LEDs per meter). Different densities may also require different power supplies which will affect the overall look of your lighting.

In general, light density is measured by the lumen per meter (lm/m) or lux. In order to get uniform illumination without too many shadows, aim for LED strip lights that emit around 200-500 lumens/meter. The more LEDs there are in each meter, the higher this number will be so keep this in mind when choosing between different densities.

You can use these numbers as a reference when ordering your own custom LED strips but before making any decisions you should do some tests in the spaces where they'll be installed. For example, take photos at different distances with similar exposure times and compare them afterward so you know exactly what kind of light each type emits under actual conditions.

How to choose the correct size of diodes on the exterior LED strips for outdoor decor?

You may not believe it, but the size of diodes will play a big part in how bright or vivid your outdoor LED lights will be. Generally, more diodes mean a brighter and more colorful light.

You can refer to the diagram above as a reference on how many diodes there are on one meter of the strip light. In this example, we have chosen 5mm x 5mm led which is a common size for outdoor lighting purposes. By using the formula below, you will be able to calculate roughly how many diodes each meter of Leds Strip contains before placing an order online.

Light pollution is quite an important factor when installing exterior LED strips and it refers to the amount of light that goes above the horizon which is reflected by dust and other particles in the air before reaching us. Many people aren't even aware that they're affected by this because we're used to seeing street lighting, neon signs, and storefronts when we look up at night.

It's important to remember that outdoor led strip lights will add a little bit more light pollution to an area since they produce light upwards as well as downwards (see illustration below). This means you'll need less overall installation time than if you were using them indoors but should still be aware of any regulations inside your municipality or local planning authority.

The effect of light pollution can sometimes be reduced with shielding which keeps the illumination pointed at the ground and prevents it from going above the horizon. Shielding is especially important if you're lighting up a garden, pathway or another outdoor area since it will prevent your lighting from affecting anyone who lives nearby as well as passing aircraft.

5 Ideas on where can you put the exterior LED strip


You can use the LED strip lights to decor your garden as well as light up specific areas such as pathways. For example, you have a bench and you want to highlight it specifically at night. You can put the strip light underneath and around the bench so it's not only functional lighting but also as an aesthetic touch.

All you will need is just a few meters of lights as well as a low voltage transformer to power your LEDs for outside. Set them up by connecting a series of strip lights along a garden path or around your favorite outdoor furniture.

Outdoor Fence

LED Strip lights are also a good choice for lighting up fence decor. Using the LED strips for outside, you can highlight different parts of the walls by going over it several times with lights, which will create a beautiful effect, especially at night. You can also use them as guiding lines to show where the fence starts and ends so people stay away from certain areas without having to install security fencing.

LED strips will perfectly outline the part of your fence that you want to emphasize or simply decorate. You can also adjust the brightness level depending on how much light you need for each area.

Outdoor Architecture

Architectural features are amazing to look at but are often difficult to highlight during nighttime. LEDs strip lights for outdoor use are an elegant solution in this case since they can be used under roofing, windows or door frames to make your building stand out even if it's far away from public roads.

Use LED strips to emphasize the architectural features of your house. You can also decorate your garage or any other outdoor area that you want to bring more attention to.

Here is a tutorial in case you would need an example of an outdoor patio LED strip lights design in the flesh and see the process step by step:

Pathway lighting

Using LED strip lights is an effective way for illuminating pathways safely at night. They are low voltage so they won't pose any threat to passersby, plus they have a long lifespan which means you don't have to replace them regularly.

Reminder: Use a low voltage transformer to power up your outdoor LED Strip Lights

The most common choice for powering up led strip lights outdoors is using the 12V low-voltage transformers. These devices are capable of converting mains' electricity into lower voltage with current safety ratings, which makes them perfectly safe even around pets and kids if they touch them.

Before placing the transformer, always make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions and follow any rules on outdoor usage. Once it is installed, connect your LED power supply to a low voltage outlet using a mains cable – once again – following the direction of the manufacturer's advice – before inserting it into an outdoor socket.

Arches & Banners

Outdoor arches and banners are also good options for decorating with lights. You can use LED strip lighting or rope lights to illuminate your structure from underneath, which will enhance its features at night. Simply attach strips of lights around the arch and fix them with tape or clamps so they don't fall down if there's a strong wind.

Optionally, you can also use LED strip lights as banners by placing them over the fabric of your arches. They will light up the arch and its message or logo even more since they'll reflect on the material. For an oriental-themed party, you can decorate the archway with Chinese lanterns and LED strip lighting for a stunning effect. Use warm white LEDs to make it look like authentic paper lanterns at night!

How to set up LED strips for outdoor use safely?

When mounting LED strips outside, pay attention to the location of the low voltage transformer. Place it in a dry and well-ventilated area, away from rain or snow since they can cause damage. Make sure the device is placed at least one meter above ground if it's constantly exposed to water to avoid any issues with its insulation.

Make sure that your LED strips are not going to damage any part of your house when you place them on window sills or along with roofing. Stay away from TV antennas, heating units, and other devices that operate with high voltages.

If you want to install LED strips lights in trees, be extremely careful during this process! You will need professional help for this job due to safety concerns, especially if there's a strong wind that can damage your lights or power source.


Each outdoor area has its own lighting needs, so make sure you choose the right type of light for each task. LED strips are great for highlighting architectural features because they can be placed anywhere, but rope lights are better if you want to emphasize the shape of your roof or arches outdoors.

However, no matter how classy or simple your final setup is, always remember that using safety devices like power transformers and low voltage outlets is fundamental when working with electricity. When hanging LED strip lights outdoors, safety must come first!