Patio String Lights Ideas To Create Fantastic Outdoor Setups

Choosing patio string lights means understanding the differences in design and functionality of the different choices out there. String lighting is a type of low-voltage accent lighting that is used to create a warm, intimate atmosphere that is ideal for entertaining.

Patio String Lights Ideas

A different strategy is needed in order to provide proper illumination to open spaces, patios, gardens, decks and other outdoor areas.

As it turns out, string lights are surprisingly good at that plus they’re also super versatile and flexible which means you can create some really awesome decors with them.

Types of Patio String Lights

There is quite an impressive variety of outdoor lights, so let’s take a look at what the market has to offer.

Types of Patio String LightsView in gallery


Spot lighting is a type of standard-voltage landscaping lighting used to direct different intensity beams upward, typically to highlight a plant or attractive feature. You might place it at or above ground level beneath tall trees or a lawn decoration to give them a statuesque appearance.

String lights

String lights can be hung everywhere there is activity—on the eaves of a house to illuminate an outside kitchen, or from the pillars of an outdoor gazebo to shed some lights on your outdoor entertainment area.

It’s best to choose lights that are solar or battery-powered, rechargeable, and which have a waterproof rating. These lights eliminate the need for extension cables across the yard, permit lighting in areas lacking electrical outlets, and ensure that lights remain on safely even when spattered with rain.

Flood lights

Security lighting, which is typically the brightest type of backyard lighting, is used to illuminate wide areas and deter would-be intruders and harmful animals. 

The greatest option for security is motion-activated flood lights that mount to the external siding or walls. Their bright light attracts prowlers and may trick them into believing you are home and vigilant even when you are not.

Step lights

Step lighting is a type of lighting with different intensities, meant to assist people in ascending, descending, and traversing the deck at night, while minimizing tripping hazards and visual clutter. It also serves to highlight nearby garden features.

Path lights

Path lighting is a combination of gentle to moderately bright safety and offers an outdoor landscape illumination source that is designed to assist you in navigating sidewalks while also showcasing them visually. 

You should install it along both sides of key walks from your back entrance to your fence door, along steppingstones connecting the main route to a backyard feature. 

How to Choose Outdoor String Lighting

Choosing an outdoor lighting fixture for patio implied understanding the differences in design and functionality of the different choices out there.

How to Choose Outdoor String LightingView in gallery

Power source

Solar patio lights are by far the most cost-effective and energy-efficient outdoor lighting option. They function by storing energy from the sun in a specially built battery, which turns on come night. This means they may be placed wherever and forgotten about; great for low-maintenance outdoor lighting.

Battery-powered outdoor lighting is an excellent alternative for outdoor events because it is highly portable and ideal for informal, short-term use. Battery lighting is available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

If you want to install illumination near your property, mains-powered outdoor lighting is the best option. This sort of lighting is meant to be powered directly from the mains power supply in your home and will require professional installation.


An outdoor light can serve different kinds of purposes, so let’s take a look at the main categories you’re going to come across.

  • Shrub lights – These lights, designed to brighten trees, hedges, shrubs, flower beds, and garden borders, give lovely ambient illumination. Shrub lights and tree lights are available in spike and in-ground spotlight forms and can be fixed in the ground and pointed upward to illuminate vegetation.
  • Bollard lights – Bollard lights are put at regular intervals along driveways and walks to give even, practical lighting where it is most needed. Bollard lights are available in both short and tall versions to accommodate a variety of applications.
  • Wall lights – Outdoor wall lights are wonderful all-arounders that may be used for a variety of purposes. Wall lights can be used to illuminate porches and patios, as well as to provide protection and decoration to the exterior of your home.
  • Flood lights – Floodlights are also effective as security lighting because they are extremely bright and cast a wide range of light over a vast region. Floodlights, which are typically wall-mounted, are ideal for big backyards, parking lots, and yards.


If you’re looking for a specific look and feel rather than a specific sort of lighting, you may also shop solely by style and filter your selection down from there.

  • Traditional – Traditional-style outdoor lighting is great if you want to give your home or business’s exterior a more classic vibe. Whether it’s exquisite Victorian-style copper or brass lanterns or one-of-a-kind designs in natural wood or stone look, this kind of lighting will complement any home with a more traditional aesthetic.
  • Modern/minimal – If you want to create a contemporary design for the exteriors of your home or company, you’ll want to choose lighting choices with a modern edge. Consider chrome and polished metals in combination with sharp angles, bold lines, and whimsical designs to create a modern, clean, and minimal aesthetic that contrasts with your outdoor settings.

Are Patio String Lights Waterproof?

One of the most critical considerations when installing outdoor lighting is the Ingress Protection (IP) certification. This metric indicates the degree to which electrical components are shielded against dirt and moisture.

Are Patio String Lights Waterproof?View in gallery

Two numbers follow the letters “IP” to represent the IP rating. The first digit denotes the device’s resistance to dust, while the following one indicates its resistance to wetness.

Naturally, the higher the grade, the better the lights are suited for outdoor use. IP65-rated LED lights offer adequate protection against foreign objects. If you intend to leave your lights outside on a semi-permanent basis, ensure that they have an IP65 or above classification.

What Type of Lighting Is Best for a Patio?

Consider how the space will be used and design the outdoor lighting accordingly. Planning your lighting is crucial to achieving the desired impression and allowing for the creation of rooms with a variety of functions.

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For entertainment purposes

This is the most densely packed and aesthetically pleasing of your outdoor settings. This is also the location of the most interesting new advances in lighting design. Do you have a dining room table? Consider pendants for outdoor use. Are there any outdoor seating areas? The selection of outdoor fixtures is growing, with more varieties and styles than ever.

The trick here is to obtain just enough lighting without going overboard. Outside, you do not require the same amount of light that you do indoors. Excessive illumination can actually work against your enjoyment of your outdoor space.

Additionally, wall sconces can contribute to the mood. Use up/down lights rather than lights that are pointed out into space. By itself, this type of light can only illuminate a shallow space. While they are appropriate for delineating the boundaries of your outdoor space, you’ll want to incorporate more fixtures to distribute light evenly throughout large decks and patios.

For security purposes

Congregational areas such as front entrances, side doors, or breezeways—anywhere you may need to take a moment and find your keys—should have sufficient ambient illumination. 

This can be accomplished through the use of strategically positioned overhead lighting or wall sconces. Flood lighting can also be utilized in extreme instances, but it is a more aggressive kind of illumination that blinds anyone who comes into contact with it.

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

Outside areas that are frequently accessed at night should have easily accessible lighting. A storage room for garbage and recycling bins is an excellent example of a spot where a well-placed wall sconce may offer a sense of comfort and security. Lighting with motion or photo sensors is an excellent concept for places that are not necessarily used on a regular basis.

While massive floodlights are good at inducing shock, carefully placed accent lighting is actually more effective at deterring unwelcome guests. Landscape lighting can significantly benefit larger objects such as brushes, trees, and decorative walls. Not only does it improve the aesthetics of your yard, but it also extends the line of sight farther into it, discouraging anyone undesirable from loitering.

Solar Outdoor Lights vs. Electric

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As far as outdoor lighting is concerned, the battle has always been between solar and wired lighting, so let’s examine the differences and similarities between these two categories.


The quality of the product in question may be a deciding factor in this case. As a general rule, solar lighting is less expensive due to its simplicity and lack of power. Avoid choosing a light just on the basis of its price. The light you choose should meet your demands.

Bear in mind that the cost of operating the light varies between the two options. Solar lighting has no operating costs because it is powered by the sun and automatically turns on at nightfall. Wired lights are powered by your home’s electricity, which is always an expense.


Because solar lights do not require wiring or cables, installation is simple. All that is required for installation is a few screws to secure the light to a wall, tree, or shed. Numerous lights come with a spike that may be easily put into the ground.

While wired garden lights do require some electrical understanding if powered by the mains, there are also plug-and-play wired lights that require connecting to a power outlet.


Garden lights should be rated at least IP43 to ensure their safety and durability outside. Due to the fact that wired lights are connected to the mains power, they have a better rating than wireless lights because no risk can be taken when you’re dealing with electricity. 

Battery or solar-powered lights are more secure solutions, and hence can be the bare minimum rating for weather resistance.

How to Hang String Lights Outside – 20 Inspiring Ideas

Prep and Plan

Prep and Plan - installing the string ligthsView in gallery

Let’s start with a few tips for hanging outdoor string lights. First of all, if you’re planning to hang multiple strings and criss-cross them you might find it easier to do this if you remove the bulbs first. Before you actually start hanging the strings however you should look around identify any trees and existing surfaces that you can secure them to. You should also take into consideration the power source. Try not to overthink this process. Usually the simplest solution is also the best. Check out thecreativityexchange for more useful tips.

Attach Outdoor String Lights to Posts

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If there are no trees that you can attach the string lights to or if you want to arrange them in a specific pattern then you could secure them to a series of posts which you can put in place for this very purpose.

You can add some wooden posts all around your patio or deck and hang planters on them so they look pretty during the day and string lights for a lovely ambiance at night. Check out oldsaltfarm to find out how to build and install the posts.

Attaching Outdoor String Lights to Covered Patio

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A covered deck or patio provides you with the perfect setup for hanging string lights. All you need is some screw eyes/ hooks, D ring clips and of course the string lights which should be suited for outdoor use so go with a heavy-duty design.

First you measure the space, then you screw the eye hooks into place and then you connect the string lights using D ring clips. You can find more details about this entire process on loveourreallife.

More Inspiring Patio String Ideas

String Lights in Trees

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

Hanging string lights can help create a very pleasant ambiance and this is a really great example in this sense. Two trees spaced apart just right hold a hammock and their canopies intertwine to provide shade. This is already starting to look like a perfect little lounge area.

The string lights hanging above the hammock create a very pleasant and very cozy ambiance. Add to that a side table or a bar cart for drinks and snacks and you get the perfect setup. This lovely idea comes from bystephanielynn.

Illuminate Furniture with Outdoor String Lights

Illuminate Furniture with Outdoor String LightsView in gallery

Use outdoor string lights to decorate existing structures such as fences, pergolas or even a garden gate which, by the way, you can build yourself out of old ladders. It’s s fairly simple project which is described in detail in a tutorial featured on kojo-designs.

String Lights Around a Fire Pit

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

If you like the idea of backyard string lights but you’re not sure that installing permanent posts would be a wise idea, consider different options. One idea could be to make custom posts out of tree trunks and concrete. They’d be heavy and sturdy but you’d still be able to move them around. Use them to surround the fire pit, hanging string lights all around this area. Check out brooklynlimestone for more details.

Outdoor String Lights for Small Patio

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

A string of lights can really change the look of a small patio and hanging them is pretty easy, especially if you can attach the hooks to the side of the house. This is a lovely way to decorate a patio and works out great for a variety of other spaces too. Find more inspiration on blesserhouse.

String Lights on a Pergola

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

String lights and pergolas go hand in hand. Hanging the lights is easy and you can get creative with all sorts of different patterns and combinations. You can also hang lanterns and other different things, including decorations. Also, this doesn’t only apply to pergolas so be creative.

Using String Lights for Ambiance

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

Hanging string lights out in the backyard or on the patio doesn’t only change the ambiance in that particular outdoor area but also inside the house. You can see these lovely lights from indoors and they can create a cozy ambiance at night. At the same time, they could also improve your home’s curb appeal.{found on nativesondesignstudio}.

Keep it Simple

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You don’t need to overcomplicate things or to try to hang your patio string lights in a perfectly straight line or a symmetrical pattern. They’re already casual-looking so they’ll look great even if you hang them in a more or less random manner.{found on chelseadc}.

Using Existing Trees and Structures

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

When hanging string lights out in the yard or the garden you can use the existing landscape in your favor. Hang the lights on trees, shrubs, fence posts and use structures such as the pergola or a cantilevered roof in a similar manner.{picture from nnarchitecture}.

String Lights at Night

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

Usually, string lights are attached to the side of the house and stretch across the yard where there’s wrapped around a tree or a post. You can use this technique to hang multiple strings of lights and to give the yard or garden a charming look at night.{image from carleymontgomery}.

Outdoor String Lights on a Terrace

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

It’s not just the patio and the backyard that can benefit from hanging string lights but also balconies and terraces. That increases the versatility of string lights in general and helps to make the transition between indoor and outdoor spaces smoother.{found on urbanangles}.

God Quality String Lights

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There are a few things to consider when choosing patio string lights. It’s important to choose resilient, heavy-duty string lights which can withstand outdoor conditions. You might also want to pick a popular type or brand in case you’ll need replacement bulbs or if you’ll want to add some lights at some point.{found on yardscapesnorthwest}.

Magical String Lights

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One of the coolest things about string lights is that they look very bohemian, almost magical. These ones, for example, look like little stars and complement this little patio in the most wonderful way. The fence acts as a perfect support for the string lights. {image by robcampbellphotography}.

Drape and Wrap Patio String Lights

Drape and Wrap Patio String LightsView in gallery

There are a lot of different ways in which you can hang string lights. They don’t always have to hang horizontally. In fact, this has a lot to do with the layout and overall design of the space you’re trying to illuminate. Instead of draping the lights across the patio you can choose to wrap them around a post or to hang them vertically on the walls.{found on fdphoto}.

Create an Enchanted String Light Garden

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

String lights are a great option for outdoor spaces not just because they look lovely but also because they’re practical and easy to work with. You can hang them however you want with little effort. Use string lights to make a simple wood deck look amazing or hang them in the garden to make it look fantastic.{found on vgzarquitectura}.

Pair with a Fire Pit

Outdoor kitchen patio decorated with string lightsView in gallery

There’s really no case where string lights wouldn’t look nice when it comes to outdoor spaces. Take this cozy fire pit area for instance. The string lights kind of extend the warmth of the fire pit on the adjacent outdoor kitchen and dining area and that’s a lovely use for them.{found on randythuemedesign}.

Choose Different Bulbs

Choose Different Bulbs for PatioView in gallery

String lights actually give out plenty of light even if it may not seem like it. Of course, it depends on the type of bulbs and the design but in a lot of cases these are enough to properly illuminate a deck, patio, terrace or balcony.{found on kategouldgardens}.

Ultra Modern String Lights

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Check out how stylish these string lights look on this roof terrace. Somehow they make this space feel more intimate and less exposed even though they don’t really interfere with privacy in any way. In fact, if anything they draw more attention to the space.{found on shelsilindquist}.

Mediterranean Style Patio with String Lights 

Mediterranean Style Patio with String Lights View in gallery

Here’s another great patio that shows just how well pergolas and string lights complement each other. It’s a look that suits any style. We can easily envision this look for a rustic patio, a traditional deck and even a contemporary terrace.{found on fortehomes}.

Airstream with Outdoor String Lights

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You can spruce up any space with string lights, even a temporary setup if let’s say you take your mobile home out of an adventure. When you park for the night you can hang some string lights up in a nearby tree and when you find a more permanent place you can drape the lights across the yard like this.{image from lucycall}.


How Can I Light My Patio Without Electricity?

Enclosed flame, battery-powered, and solar-powered lights are all alternatives to electric illumination. By utilizing any of these lighting options, you and your family may enjoy outdoor family time even at night and even if there is no way to connect the lights to an electricity source.

Do Outside Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

Numerous common, modern landscape lighting systems incorporate LED bulbs, which are approximately 15 percent more efficient compared to halogen or incandescent bulbs. This means you can have multiple LED bulbs running on less electricity.  

Additionally, LED bulbs live longer than regular lamps, which reduces maintenance expenditures. You can also opt for solar-powered outdoor lights, which are the best choice for eco-friendly consumers.