Backyard entertaining is definitely one of life’s little pleasures. But to really take advantage of all your yard has to offer, you need a sweet lighting scheme. That’s right, total darkness is no way to treat your guests, and house lights don’t cut it when it comes to creating a mood.
So let there be light! From whimsical twinkles to moody flames, we’ve come up with a few suggestions on how to brighten your back yard when the sun goes down.
Nothing says festive like a few light strings. You can weave them through the trees, use them to decorate a railing or hang them from the inside eaves of your patio area. Simple white lights always look pretty. But if you’re looking for something with a little more flair, try a string with a splash of color, or one with a whimsically shaped covers like the photo below.
Safety tip: Only use light strings meant for the outdoors.
Pictured: Decorative Bee Light String
Looking to set a romantic mood or add a dose of serenity? Try a few candles. You can decorate an outdoor table with a collection of pillars. If you’re worried about open flames, opt for flameless or electronic candles. And don’t count out floating votives — they make a pretty addition to a backyard pool or fountain. If you’re sans both, get the same effect by adding them to a few large bowls filled with water.
Safety tip: Keep lit candles away from flora and fauna–you don’t want your yard going up in flames.
Pictured: Tropical Sunset Scented Pillar Candle
Whether glass, metal or paper, lanterns are an easy way to give your backyard vintage appeal. String them individually from tree branches or place them thoughtfully on outdoor tables. Lanterns also look really beautiful when paired with pillar candles as part of a patio table centerpiece.
Want to really surprise guests with your creativity? Hang a few lanterns from the inside of your patio umbrella. It’s an unexpected way to shed a little light on an outdoor dinner.
Safety tip: If you choose lanterns that require candles, make sure they are enclosed so the flame can’t escape (or blow out due to a gust of wind).
Pictured: Coleman Solar Traditional Metal Lantern
Creating a great outdoor lighting scheme sometimes needs to start from the bottom up. Enter the lovely luminary. Whether battery operated, electric or lit by candle, this outdoor option is a pretty way to light a walkway or garden. You can even DIY them out of paper bags or tin cans.
Safety tip: If you place candle luminaries on the ground, make sure they are weighted so they aren’t easily blown or knocked over.
Pictured: Battery Operated Flickering Lumalite
Yes, that’s right you can hang a chandelier outdoors. You’ll need to find a nearby outlet to plug it in (unless you use one that’s lit by candles) and a place to hang that can withstand the weight (like a sturdy tree branch or the inside eaves of a patio overhang). It’s worth it though — chandeliers add jaw-dropping drama to any outdoor space. Expect to hear the word, “wow” more than once!
Safety tip: Make sure the chandelier is well-secured.
Have a favorite outdoor lighting option? Tell us about it in the space below!