To be successful amid the outdoor living boom, it's critical for retailers and builders to stay abreast of rapidly changing consumer tastes in backyard products. To help keep your product lines up to date, AQUA has partnered with design megasite Houzz to bring you more content about outdoor living, from pools and spas to outdoor kitchens and patio furniture. This time, a Houzz expert explores just some of the design possibilities outdoor lighting offers.

Lighting design rules say that lighting should be subtle, especially for the landscape. Soft pools of light should be strategically placed to enhance chosen outdoor areas and allow other areas to remain in the dark. Nothing should be overdone, and by no means should the actual light source be seen. And for the most part, this approach will result in a pleasing nighttime vista.

But sometimes, outdoor lighting just has to make a statement.

Related: How to Light Your Outdoor Room

Photo by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

A screen of sandblasted glass panels set in a steel frame hides a less-than-ideal view and shields the patio from too-strong winds while allowing morning light to filter through. Though white during the day, at night the screen changes colors from yellow to reds and blues.

Photo by Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

The outdoor lighting takes this rooftop garden, which is spectacular in its own right, to another level. Forget natural and gentle light. This is a neon extravagance that adds a whole new meaning to outdoor entertainment.

Photo by C.O.S Design

While the previous garden was large and extravagant, a smaller space also benefits from a little color. This accent lighting draws attention to the seating area at the far end of the garden and breaks up the otherwise monochromatic look.

If you don't have the resources for an elaborate lighting scheme, you can create your own. One of the easiest approaches is hanging colored lanterns. They're available in a range of colors, designs and sizes. Place the lanterns where they work best without worrying about cords and power sources. An equally easy and subtle approach is to hang a string of colored lights. No longer are you limited to strands of Christmas colors; there are plenty of options to fit any design aesthetic. Create a rainbow along a garden walkway with colored solar lights. They're easy to install and a practical yet whimsical choice for garden lighting.

Photo by usona

If you're willing to go bigger, these indoor-outdoor cube lights double as stools. Use them for seating, as a side table or as a fun addition to a play area. There's a remote control option that can let you set different programs for the light as well as energy-saving cubes in white, yellow, red, green and blue.

Photo on left: Moonlight Floating Outdoor Patio Light

If you've got a pool, imagine looking out at night and seeing these bright orbs floating across it. If you don't have a pool, don't despair. They can also be used on land. If you don't want white, there are other finish options, and there are various sizes. Kind of brings new meaning to the idea of a moonscape.

You can also combine form with function with lit planters that hold accent plants in the daytime and create accent lights at night. The bright white makes a statement, especially when reflected in a pool, but a surprisingly large number of other colors are available to match your landscape decor.

Photo on right; GardenGlo Solar Lighted Planters

These planter-light combinations fit into a far more modest budget. You can choose from a traditional terra-cotta look or go bold with blue, yellow or green. The best part is that you can buy solar-powered versions.