Outdoor DIY Lighting Ideas

June 21st marks the official start of summer, but for most of us, Memorial Day is the launch of the season with backyard cookouts with family and friends.  Memorial Day is Monday!

We have no plans, but I want to get my backyard in shape and plan on cleaning out the garage this weekend to unearth and bring all the outdoor décor, furniture, umbrellas, cushions, and the lights I have made back outside. I want to be ready to kick start the season of outdoor living – in style!

living outdoors

If you have read my blog for the past 3 years then you know I kinda have a thing for outdoor lighting. I love the atmosphere it creates for entertaining or just when I am sitting alone outside swinging on my deck swing when dusk arrives. The glow of the candles makes my backyard feel like a tropical getaway – without it – it is just dark – the exterior lights on the house just don’t add the same ambiance.

I often go outside right before going to bed on hot nights to just enjoy the stillness of the dark with the glow of a candle nearby.  It feels magical.

I receive a lot of questions about the outdoor lighting projects I have posted. The tuna can lantern is still one of my most popular posts and around this time every year, questions start arriving in my inbox about it.

Since I was away last weekend, I am a bit behind, so I thought I would do a round-up of all the outdoor lighting ideas I have made along with a few other easy to do DIY ideas that I have found online.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas:


1.  Walkway Lights made using plastic soda bottles

2. Glass Globe Hanging Lantern made using a ceiling fixture globe.

3. Pottery Barn Knock-Off Candle Chandelier made using a brass thrift store chandelier

4. Tuna Can Lantern made using a can, lantern, and hurricane or drinking glass.

5. Restoration Hardware Knock-Off Concrete Fire Column made using concrete and cardboard tubes.


More Outdoor DIY Lighting Ideas:

-Place lights at every level, on the ground, on tabletops, and suspended overhead to make your outdoor space feel warm and inviting.  (Would be nice to have the water view, too.)


Photo: Pinterest

-Line a railing, walkway, or garden with mason jars, seashells with votive, or colorfully painted cans that have holes punched into them.


Photo: Lowes Creative Ideas

-Hang mason jars or punched tin cans from a tree, an arbor, or a swing arm hanging flower planter bracket, or even a curtain rod bracket.

imageimage   Photo: The Created Home


-Make your own chandelier using a wire basket. Hang using chain and fill with candle filled mason jars. For added style, add a few crystals.


Photo: Sunset.com

-Use candles alone or group together in multiples for more impact.  Add water for floating lights.


Photo:  How To Do It

-Place a candle at each place setting on an outdoor table when dining alfresco.  Anything can be made into a candle holder. Even without the shades – stemware alone makes perfect votive holders.


Photo:  CasaSugar

-If you can’t use candles, look for strings of white wired Christmas lights  to hang from a white railing, trellis or pergola on a porch, patio, or deck.  I have bought them at Walmart.    Use cups hooks to hang.


Photo: The Handmade Home

Use green wired Christmas Tree lights around trees in your yard.


Phot0: Best Coolist

– Don’t have the time to DIY?  Most home improvement stores, Target, and Walmart sell inexpensive solar powered walkway lights that are on stakes.  They are simple to use.  Place these around your garden and porch. They might only last one summer, but will make your backyard feel like a magical place to getaway.

Let the summer fun begin


  1. says

    I love outdoor lighting! I can’t wait to go home today and hang up my new string globe lights. I’ve been wanting to hang some since the first time I saw the tv show “Parenthood”. In the opening credits there’s a shot of an outdoor farm table with lights strung all over. I LOVE it! I’m also planning to make some of your hanging globe lights to hang from shepherd’s hooks. I’ve been DIY’ing a bunch of outdoor lights made from upcycled glass shades. I posted the tutorial on my blog a while back (if you’re interested):(http://planetpowers.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/upcycled-shades-into-diy-solar-lights/).
    Thanks for the great ideas! Hope you have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend.

  2. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Yes, you sure are right about all the questions/comments and they happen ALL year long too, cause I read them….. grin.

    I am about to revisit the concrete one….. that just sounded way too difficult to me way back when, but I am getting more nerve about trying harder to do stuff now. The thing to me was mixing it…… heavens it was hard for me the couple of times I tried to make some decorative concrete paths….. gave up REAL quick on that one.

    And I have a question….. how do you find concrete that is affordable today? I almost fainted dead away when told how much it was lately.

  3. Diane says

    I love these ideas! It would be so easy to customize any of them, too. One of my favorite finds recently… rope lights clipped under the inside of your deck railing. I am trying that one this year! I think I might try the globe lights too. They’re so pretty.:-) thanks for all of these great ideas

  4. Kathy T says

    Diane, I can remember when you first posted the idea for the candle holder out of a tuna fish can ! :-) I am always amazed how you can transpire something ordinary into something very chic. I visit your blog daily for inspiration. I love that you often share affordable projects. I would love to see you offer suggestions for affordable DIY art for the home.
    Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

  5. Alan says

    I like these lighting ideas and designs. Some people think they need bright studio lighting outside (might annoy the neighbors), but this is so much better. Soft and soothing. You could even bring out a telescope if you have one. :-)

  6. lois vasquez says

    i absolutely love your outdoor lighting ideas i am trying to find some inexpensive & beautiful crafts for our church gals to do together i found it! thanks so much


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