Whether it’s a casual get-together with friends or a romantic night under the stars, the right lighting can make or break your special evening. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to brighten up your backyard and create a magical ambiance!

Decor with candles is perfect for a cozy evening in, or opt for electric lights to keep the party going late into the night. Depending on the event, well-placed string lights or a few ornate lanterns lining the walkway can set the scene for a night to remember. The next time you’re planning your decor for a night at home, use one of these backyard lighting ideas!

String Lights

Hung overhead or wrapped around a banister, string lights are a great option for making an impact without taking a big hit to your decor budget. Use bigger bulbs for a bold look, or stick to smaller sizes for a whimsical feel. While string lights are typically seen as Christmas decorations, these versatile and pretty lights can be included in your outdoor decor year round.

string lights

Top: Mathieu Photography  | Center: Heather Hawkins Photography  | Bottom: Kurt Boomer

Whether you’re looking for a fancy piece of decor or a unique focal point, string lights are a great way to add a unique sparkle to your evening!

  • Outdoor String Light Poles: Create a bright border around your favorite outdoor space with this tutorial on how to place and hang string lights.
  • Dixie Cup Garland: Turn this everyday essential into fun party decor with a few colorful swatches of paper and a string of lights!
  • DIY Pineapple String Lights: Enjoy a fun, whimsical take on traditional string lights with this fruity version.
  • Faux Floral String Lights: Whether you’re planning a luau or are looking to add a touch of color to your garden, floral string lights are a fun take on outdoor decor!
  • DIY Ping Pong String Lights: Use white or pastel colored ball for a fun decoration that can be used indoors or outside!
  • Pixie Dust String Lights: Give your backyard a touch of magic with these fun pixie dust lights!
  • Tassel String Lights: Add a touch of color at your next event with these DIY tissue tassel string lights.


In some ancient civilizations, lanterns lit up the space around it with the help of fireflies. You’ll likely have to settle for candles or batteries to light your space, but can still achieve a timeless look with a few perfectly placed lanterns. Made up of paper or metal and glass panels, lanterns can be the perfect way to help illuminate a s’mores-making party or a night of looking at the stars.


Top: Duncan Meerding | Center: Elise Engh Studios

Brighten up your backyard with a handheld or standing lantern that can be easily adjusted based on the celebration!

  • Tin Can Lanterns: Upcycle an old tin-can into a rustic-chic lantern to light up your patio!
  • Photo Frame Lanterns: Instead of displaying your favorite photos, use old picture frames to create a one-of-a-kind lantern to spruce up your backyard.
  • Solar Powered Path Light: Put the power of nature to good use with this DIY path light powered by the sun!
  • DIY Candle Lanterns: Make your own glowing decorations with just a few simple tools!
  • Dimensional Paper Lantern: Create a unique, multi-dimensional floral lantern to spruce up your patio table.
  • Tuna Can Lantern: Make something pretty out of unconventional item with this easy to follow tutorial!
  • DIY Rope Lanterns: Add a little coastal decor to your backyard with one of these rope lanterns.


Whether it’s a fancy celebration or an intimate dinner party, brighten up the night with a unique chandelier! Look for fixtures made with different materials, such as rope or antiqued metal, to take this fancy accessory down a notch without sacrificing style. A classic, octopus-like shape or an abstract version will look great above a picnic table or hanging in a nearby tree.


Top: Steve Michael Photography | Center: Bower Power | Bottom: Dust and Dog Hair

Whether you’re going for classic glam or rustic chic, use chandeliers made of unexpected materials to make a big impact!

  • Birch Branch Chandelier: Add a unique twist to your outdoor decor with this nature-inspired chandelier!
  • Ladder Lantern Chandelier: Embrace the rustic chic look by combining an old ladder and classic mason jars.
  • Hula Hoop Chandelier: Use one of your favorite childhood toys to light up your backyard with this eye-catching masterpiece!
  • Succulent Chandelier: Combine eye-catching greenery and a fiery glow for a unique piece of outdoor decor that’s sure to impress your guests!
  • DIY Rustic Chandelier: Use different sizes of wood to create this modern yet rustic chandelier.
  • Solar Powered Chandelier: Harness the power of the sun to light up this chandelier long into the night.
  • DIY Outdoor Chandelier: Combine your love of lanterns and mason jars with this unique overhead piece.

Just like any other type of decor, the lighting can help set the tone for the night. Add one of these backyard lighting ideas to prepare your space for summer. Next time you’re grilling, you’ll appreciate the glow of string lights or the flicker or lanterns.

String lights, lanterns and chandeliers are all simple and stylish touches that can lighten up an event. Whether you opt for candles or battery operated, adding the right lighting is the finishing touch to any well designed space. When designing the perfect place for entertaining, use one of these backyard lighting ideas to make the most of your space.