It’s finally nice outside which means we can finally spend more time outdoors than we do indoors. The backyard takes the place of the living room for a lot of activities and not just during the day but also in the evening or at night.
As the sun sets we’re presented with a wonderful opportunity to turn the backyard into a magical place. But how…you might wonder. We’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s all about the backyard lights and all the cool things you can do with them.
How to choose backyard lights
Looking at how many types of backyard lights that are on the market today and wondering what is the best type for your needs? You are not alone in this and it is easy to become confused when the different types of lights are very similar with minor differences. Before making your final decision, ensure that the following questions are asked and answered!
- What style of lighting are you in the market for? Security lighting with motion sensors and timers? Decorative lighting fixtures to increase the overall aesthetic? Wall mounted lights or freestanding fixtures?
- Are you looking for backyard lighting that will illuminate the entire backyard or just the portion in which you spend your time?
- Are you in the market for energy efficient lighting or lighting that is easily replaced?
- Solar or battery or electricity based power for the lights?
- Your backyard lighting budget.
- Do you want warranty, repair services, and installation?
Types of backyard lights
When it comes to backyard lighting, there are definitely more than one type flooding the market sector so it is important to know the difference between each type.
- Security Lighting – these lights are strong in terms of illumination and generally come with security-based features such as motion sensors, timers, and more.
- Path and Driveway Lighting – these lights are smaller in height and tend to be installed along the edges of pathways and driveways. They can be electrical-based or solar-based in terms of their energy source.
- Wall-mounted Lighting – these lights are full light fixtures that are installed on the exterior wall of the home and are controlled by an internal light switch.
- Freestanding Light Fixtures – these light fixture are tall in statue and tend to have a base, pole, and the light fixture on the top. People install these at the entrance to a patio and along the backyard.
- Recessed Deck Lighting – these light options tend to be built into the deck itself as little pot lights to offer a warm and inviting glow.
Consider These Questions Before Buying
What are some of the most frequently asked questions by customers when it comes to backyard lighting? What are the best questions to help you choose the type of backyard lighting you want to install? Below you will find a selection of them:
- What type of backyard light fixture is the best for a large backyard? A small backyard?
- How much energy do each type of lighting option use?
- Is solar or battery better in terms of wattage and illumination?
- Can you return the light fixture if it isn’t what you wanted?
- How about installation? Does it require the services of an electrician or can it be done at home?
- Can you change the positions of the light fixtures or are they stationary?
- How much maintenance (if any) is required?
Cool Backyard Lighting Projects
Cozy Backyard Patio Lights
A lot of times the backyard lights are just decorative, although they do help to also create a cozy ambiance. That being said, a cool idea can be to hang a few cafe lights around the sitting area and to make them look pretty and funky by decorating them with embroidery thread and macrame cord, just as suggested on Jojotastic. We absolutely love those cute little bells that were added here. They really cheer up the space.
Since we’re talking about an outdoor space, solar lanterns would make perfect sense. Aren’t these ones lovely? They’re actually custom made and the whole process is pretty easy.
These are the supplies required for this, according to Everydaydishes: solar lights and spice jars (6 of each in this particular case), painter’s tape, glass frost paint in several colors (or only one, depending on the look you prefer), a sponge brush, strong glue and twine.
String Lights Poles
If you’d like to add some mood lighting to a garden lounge area but there’s no pergola or roof to hang the lights from, you can make some poles. The idea comes from Idaklipperochklistrar and was in turn inspired by some posts on Pinterest.
Basically, the goal is to frame the space with poles which you can then decorate in all sorts of cool ways. In order to do that you need a few buckets (or some other type of containers), concrete mix and poles (these can be thin tree trunks, branches or actual poles made of wood, metal, PVC, etc).
These glowing spheres are really really cool and we’ve actually seen them being used in all sorts of beautiful landscapes but it never really occurred to us that we can actually craft them ourselves. But then we stumbled upon a post from Theartofdoingstuff and all of a sudden it all made sense.
This would have to be one of the best backyard lighting ideas ever simply because it’s so simple and so elegant. Believe it or not, all you need to make these beautiful spheres is some old glass shades and some old Christmas string lights.
There is, however, a tricky part. You’ll most likely need to bring an extension cord out into the garden and burry it in the dirt unless of course you can find some battery-operated lights you can use.
Solar Cedar Path Lights
Solar lights are very accessible but getting them is actually the easy part. Displaying them in a way that makes them stand out is the tricky part. We have an idea in that sense that you might like. It comes from Build-basic and it’s a low-cost and relatively simple project which you can complete in an hour or so. The idea is to build a wooden pole and to have the solar light built into it.
The Stump and the entire Cracked Log Light Range for that matter is designed to be suitable for both indoor and outdoor although it’s clearly an amazing choice for gardens, yards and patios in particular.
These lamps are so wonderful because they look like things you’d actually encounter outdoors. Recently the designer, Duncan Meerding, added new pieces to the collection, expanding the series with stumps that are almost double the size of the initial ones.
Aren’t these backyard lights just magical? No wonder they’re called Fairy Dust Balls. They’re solar powered and they turn on automatically at dust which means all you have to do is find a good place to hang them and then just forget about them. You don’t need to charge them or worry about the on/off switch. Add these globes to your porch, patio, garden or backyard and turn these spaces into magical wonderlands.
Another way in which you can set up a nice mood in the backyard is with torches. The really cool thing about this is that you can make the torches yourself out of recycled wine bottles. The project is not that complicated but you do need a few things for it.
According to Designsponge, the list of supplies for one torch includes an empty wine bottle (or any bottle with a 1” neck), teflon tape, a copper top plate connector, a 1” split ring hanger, copper coupling (1/2” x 3/8” ), two hex nuts, two screws, tiki wick and torch fuel.
Remember the poles we mentioned earlier? Here’s a version of that project adapted to suit an al-fresco dining area out in the garden. Two poles are enough to frame the area and their role, in this case, is actually to hold the string lights. It’s sort of like having a chandelier outdoors. You can also creatively customize the project from Homedepot and for instance also wrap the poles in fairy lights.
If you want to create a romantic vibe, candles are usually better than light fixtures although fairy lights are pretty cute too. As far as candles go, you could use several in different sizes and you can spread them across the backyard either inside jars, votives or grouped in trays.
Perhaps you could be inspired by this charming backyard terrace which we found on Cutemaison. We love how the candle light highlights the texture of the stone and wood walls.
Boho Chic Lighting
A pergola presents a wonderful opportunity because you can hang string lights to create a truly magical ambiance. It would all be even more magical if you had vines and climbing plants growing on the pergola or on trellis walls, framing the space like a secret garden.
A bunch of planters made out of repurposed containers such as buckets or baskets would be charming as well. We got some of these ideas from Fixaodona and we really like them.
Fire pit lights
Fire pits are pretty cool too and if you’re worried about having an open fire in your back yard then maybe you’d enjoy more to have a faux fire. What we’re suggesting is to have a bunch of wood logs lit by fairy lights.
It’s so simple and yet so charming. This is the type of fire pit anyone can make and safely use even indoors. It’s inspiring ideas like this one that result in great transformations. You can find this idea and several others on Fipstickandmuffingirl.
And speaking of logs and fairy lights, what if you were to wrap some string lights around the trees in your backyard or your garden. The result would be similar to what you see here. Just wrap the lights around the tree trunks and go as high as you want.
Mason jar torches
We’ve already described a list of things you need if you want to make torches but in that case wine bottles were used so now we’ll also check out these mason jar tiki torches that we found on Thefrugalhomemaker.
Mason jar torches are more versatile because they can be moved around and placed on tables, shelves or hanged on walls and fences. Check out the easy instructions and make your own tiki backyard lights.
Have you ever worked with rope lights? They’re really cool and also very versatile. You can use them to outline a pathway in your backyard or garden or you can attach them to the railings or guard rails.
Actually, you can basically wrap them around anything in your backyard including trees or furniture and they’ll look awesome every time. Check out three inspiring ideas in this sense on Christmaslightsetc.
Maybe you’ve already heard about cupcake liner lights back when we showed you some cool ways to customize your Christmas tree. Well, they’re actually great no matter what the season is.
Check out Cfabbridesigns to see how you can make cute backyard lights using cupcake liners and how you can then use them to decorate your outdoor spaces. Feel free to mix and match patterns and colors.
It’s amazing what you can do with a few simple things like for example some string lights and a bunch of small party hats. This funky idea comes from Cremedelacraft and the project is something anyone can do.
All you need besides the lights and the hats is some tape and scissors. Cut the hats to make small cones that fit around each tiny lightbulb. You can cover up the pattern or the graphics if you don’t like them and if you don’t have any party hats then just make some cones out of cardboard.
Another cool backyard lighting idea comes from Eliseenghstudios. The tutorial found here shows you how to make lanterns out of old tin cans.
Basically, you just clean the can and remove the label, then you fill it with water and you put it in the freezer. When the water is frozen, use a hammer and a nail to perforate the can, creating any pattern you want. Remove the ice and then put a candle inside the can. You can also add a handle.
There’s another type of lanterns which you can make and these ones involve balloons and twine/ string. To make these you also need glue, cornstarch, petroleum jelly, spray paint and string lights.
You can find out how to use all of these things in the tutorial shades on Splashofsomething. Once you have these lovely lanterns, you can hang them in groups or in any other way you want in your backyard or on the patio. Don’t they look charming under this umbrella?
All of the backyard lighting ideas we presented so far are really nice and charming but we’ve missing something: a chandelier.
That’s right, you can actually make an outdoor chandelier. There’s a tutorial showing you how to make one out of chicken wire on Consumercrafts. You also need a tomato cage to use as a frame for this project.
Best backyard lighting ideas you can buy
In addition to all the cool DIY lighting ideas that we just mentioned, there are plenty of products that you can buy in case you don’t really feel like crafting or if you want to simplify things.
If you prioritize security and practicality, you might find these solar lights very useful. They have motion sensors that detect movement within a range of 26 feet and at an angle os 120 degrees. ]They’re bright and they turn on automatically at night when motion is detected. They’re also portable and you can take them with you anywhere and hang them or place it wherever you want. They’re also waterproof, hear-resistant and frost-resistant.
Colored lights are also great for making the backyard or the garden look magical. These ones are very bright and make use of big solar panels which are installed at the top and look like little angled roofs.
These spotlights can be very easily inserted into the ground and come in sets of two, along with a remote control which you can use to set the lighting time and the color.
You can also have them installed on walls or even up in trees. When fully charged they can provide light for up to 16 hours. They turn on automatically at night and off in the morning but can also be operated using the remote.
If you’re going for a cozy bistro-inspired backyard or patio setting, you might want to use these outdoor lights. These are solar-powered LED lights with vintage-looking bulbs that you can hang outside in order to create a pleasant ambiance at night.
They’re bright enough to efficiently illuminate the area but also quite subtle as to not become overpowering. On a full charge these lights last around 5 to 6 hours. You can get them in two different lengths.
Security lights are a must-have for anyone with a yard or a garden. These have the advantage of being powerful, compact and have motion sensors. They turn on automatically when it’s dark and motion is detected in a 3 to 5 meter range.
They have an angle of 120 degrees and are solar-powered. They collect energy during the day and they use it during the night. The 28 LEDs provide bright and powerful light and are protected by lampshades. You can safely place these lights outdoors as they are designed to be water and heat-resistant.
Sometimes it’s nice to add a little bit of style and character to the outdoor areas like the backyard, the patio or even the garden and one way to do it is with accent lights. These are solar-powered outdoor lights.
They have a quirky and cute design and they also have built-in sensors which allow them to turn on and off automatically at night and at dawn. They can also change color which is a really cool little detail that you can take advantage of in interesting ways. You can install them within minutes and they’ll be able to withstand rain and snow and to last for a long time.
Rope lights are another really cool idea. They’re very popular during Halloween and Christmas when they’re used as decorations but you can also potentially incorporate them in a simpler and more casual way into your outdoor spaces.
For example, you could use them to permanently decorate one of the trees in your garden or you can hang them on the patio.
This particular model is great because it uses two different sources of power. They’re powered by solar panels as well as by AA batteries so there’s always a backup source. They’re also very bright an come with a small wireless remote for added convenience.
Of course, you also have the more typical and classical outdoor solar lights to rely on. These are very cheap, versatile and very convenient as well. They make perfect pathway lights and you can also casually spread them across the backyard or the garden to create a nice and pleasant ambiance at night.
They absorb light during daytime and store it, then they turn on automatically at night. They’re super easy to put together and they have stakes so you can easily insert them into the ground. You can also display them in other ways if you’re creative.
These outdoor solar lights are quite simple too but they’re designed to resemble little torches. You can have them placed out on the deck, the porch or anywhere else you see fit as a way to add some mood lighting to the place.
They have a warm and soft glow and they use solar energy which they collect during the day. There’s no need for batteries or cords and they turn on automatically at night. They’re also very durable and waterproof so you can safely leave them outside at all times. The best part of course is the flickering flame.
Going back to the whole magical outdoor theme that we had going on, check out these lovely mason jar lights. They’re really cute and you can place them anywhere you want. They come in sets of six and they don’t require any wiring or batteries.
They collect solar energy during the day and they use it at nighttime, creating a soft glow and adding mood lighting to the space around them. When fully charged they provide up to 8 hours of lighting. The fairy lights inside each jar look a bit like fireflies. Each of these lights measures 3.2’’ in diameter and 5.3’’ in height.
These pathway lights look magical in their own way. They’re brighter than the typical pathway lights and they also have more detailed designs.
They give off warm white light and they’re made of metal with a beautiful bronze finish that adds an elegant, antique-style vibe to them. You can have several of these spread across the lawn or the garden and use them to mark the pathways or light certain areas. Push the stake into the ground and that’s pretty much it in terms of installation. They’re solar-powered and provide up to 10 hours of lighting on a full charge.
When it comes to purchasing backyard lighting, it is important to go with the option that will best suit your needs and wants in terms of décor, style, functionality, and budget.
You want to ensure that not only does your budget include the cost of the lighting in terms of the initial purchase but also long-term costs such as maintenance, replacement, and repair.
Your monthly utility bill will increase (unless they are solar powered) so budget for that as well! Use various guides that are in place to find the best lighting for your backyard.