First, assess features in your yard to emphasize with lights. For example, the pool, spa, and steps are key areas to illuminate for safety purposes. Also, consider highlighting plants, architectural features, and outdoor rooms. In some areas you might want to add uplighting while in other areas you might be aiming to silhouette shapes. Purpose will dictate what type of fixture you need.
Prior to choosing lights, contact your area’s building department for any local codes that dictate lighting types or levels. Once you know the kinds of lights you can install, play around with light strands or clip-on lamps in different areas of your yard, positioning them at various levels to see how lighting looks in the space. Remember to practice basic lighting safety, such as only using outdoor bulbs and being mindful of electrical safety when water is present.