Enjoying your yard after dark doesn't mean you need to resort to glaring overhead patio lights or a cold, dark garden bench. There are many ways you can tailor your landscape design for evening entertainment and late night's under the summer stars. The following are just a few ideas to get you started.

Tip #1: Add a Fire Pit

Fire pits are becoming quite popular, and for good reason. Not only do they provide light and a central area to gather after dark, they also provide warmth for cool spring or fall evenings outdoors. You can opt for a classy brick pit, complete with permanent seating encircling it. Metal pits are another option, although more rustic in appearance. You can purchase free-standing iron pits that you can move to different locations, or you create your own fire pit by sinking a metal ring, such as an old tire rim or dryer drum, into the ground.

Tip #2: Soften the Light

Light should provide visibility in the landscape without being harsh or over bearing. Soften built-in patio fixture with translucent globe shades for a simple fix. Fairy lights, which are small white garden light strings, can also add some gentle lighting if you weave them into trees or wrap them around the overhead struts of a pergola or arbor. Solar lights are another option. Use these to line walkways and paths, or place them near seating areas for a soft glow.

Tip #3: Create a Night Time Water Feature

Running water is a common decorative technique used by professional landscape designers, since both the sight and sound of the water is relaxing. Increase the enjoyment to evening by installing a lighted fountain pump in your water feature. These lights shine up and light the spray of water in either a single color, or in a rotating array of colors. Another option is to purchase floating lights and to place them on top of the water. These are especially attractive floating on a pond or even in a pool or hot tub.

Tip #4: Add Some Flowers

Night-blooming plants can really make your evening landscape pop. Moonflowers are annuals, so you can grow them during the summer in any climate since you don't have to worry about winter hardiness. These climbing vines produce white flowers that bloom in the evening but close by morning. Night blooming jasmine is an especially fragrant option for the landscape that produces white flowers, or you can get evening primroses if you prefer more color. Talk to a landscape designer to find options that grow well in your area.