Lighting your backyard doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve rounded up backyard lighting ideas that you can either buy affordably or DIY for free. As you browse these outdoor lighting ideas, you are sure to find one or more that will fit your style and beautifully illuminate your outdoor spaces when the sun goes down.
All of these easy-to-install backyard lighting ideas will create evening ambiance in your backyard, whether it is Dining Alfresco, entertaining, enjoying family night or quiet time simply relaxing after a busy day.
Spread Lighting Around Your Backyard
When it comes time to choose lighting for your backyard, follow the same room lighting formula you do when adding lights inside your home. Remember to place a few different types of lighting around the space at every level – lanterns on the ground, candle votives on tabletops, and outdoor pendant lights suspended overhead will make your outdoor space look and feel magical.
Backyard DIY Lighting Ideas
Many homes have exterior lights mounted on their homes by a door or spotlights that shine into the backyard. These are great to have, but when entertaining they don’t add the right ambiance.
Ambient lighting is what will make the space usable and festive at night. It will become a part of the yard decoration as well, just like the flowers you place on a table and outdoor furniture.
Besides the illumination outdoor lighting can add when enjoying your backyard at night. Another reason to add outdoor lights to your backyard is that even when you’re not outdoors, outdoor lighting can help the indoor rooms with windows and glass doors feel larger; giving the impression that the indoor living space is extended.
Backyard Lights Made Using Repurposed Items
Some of the most budget-friendly ways to create ambient DIY outdoor lighting for your backyard or outdoor living space can be made by repurposing items you would throw into the trash into stylish outdoor lighting. Here are a few outdoor lighting ideas to inspire you.
Wine Bottles & Glass Jars
The glow of candles placed in glass holders to protect them from the wind on an outdoor dining table will provide the perfect mood lighting. Without their glow – the table would have little ambiance for your guests.
Using a glass cutter, you can cut the tops off of recycled wine bottles to create this type of candle holder that can also be used as flower vases. They work perfectly when you have a Round Umbrella Table and want a centerpiece for the table.
Glass jelly jars also work well as candle holders to provide soft lighting on a table or along a deck railing.
When using glass jars you can use one or more for a soft glow or group together in multiples to create more light. As an option to votives or tea lights, purchase floating candles and add water to the jars to create floating lights.
Oversize pickle jars can be repurposed into larger Candle Lanterns. Wrap the jars with cord or rope and adhere to the glass with glue.
Another easy to make an outdoor candle holder that can be made in minutes is using wine glasses. Place a the glass/candle at each place setting. Even without the shades – stemware alone makes very festive votive or tea light holders.
Tin cans are easy to find in your recycling bin. Use an awl and hammer to punch holes in them to create a design on the can where the light will come through. Then spray paint any color. Line a railing, walkway, or garden with them.
You can make a knock-off of a Pottery Barn Candle Chandelier using a brass thrift store chandelier bought for a few dollars.
A hanging light fixture like outdoor chandeliers work best with battery-operated flicker candles so even if it is windy, the candles stay on. Once made, you can simply hang it from a pergola or tree branch in your backyard with chain and a hook.
Or make a DIY Mason jar chandelier by placing a few of the jars in a wire basket. Hang the basket using chain and fill each mason jar with a candle. For added style, hang a few glass crystals from the bottom to reflect the candle light.
Mounted Mason Jar Lanterns
Hang mason jars or punched tin cans from a tree, fence, arbor, a swing arm flower planter bracket, or even a curtain rod bracket.
Hanging Globe Lights
Glass globe lights like this Hanging Lantern made using a ceiling globe fixture can be hung alone on a mounted bracket on an exterior wall or from a tree branch to add illumination to an outdoor space.
Outdoor lighting that is mounted on a stake or pole can be made to whatever height you need. Low to the ground lights are great for walkways, where taller lighting will provide more light to the overall space.
For backyard parties or weddings, this staked Tuna Can Lantern looks more elegant than a TIKI torch. It is made with a tuna can, a glass hurricane or drinking glass found at a thrift store.
Landscape lighting doesn’t have to be wired into an electrical outlet or run on batteries. These DIY Pathway Lights are made by recycling plastic soda bottles. The use tea lights or votive candles to provide just the right amount of light needed.
Modern Backyard Lighting
If your backyard decorating styles leans to a more modern vibe, this Restoration Hardware’s knock-off Concrete Fire Column looks just right. It is made using concrete and cardboard tubes.
Ready-Made Backyard Lighting Ideas
If you don’t have the time to make your own DIY backyard lighting. Below are a few outdoor lighting ideas that you can purchase.
TIKI torches are a classic staked-style outdoor lighting option for a backyard. They come in many styles from the traditional Polynesian bamboo to more modern metal designs.
They even come in tabletop styles that are fueled with the same TIKI torch oil.
Outdoor String Lights
Photo: The Handmade Home
If you don’t want to use candles or lanterns to illuminate your back yard, look for strings of white wired Christmas tree lights to drape from a railing, trellis or pergola on a porch, patio, or deck. Use cups hooks to hang string lights.
String lights come in a variety of bulbs and covers from classic miniature, star shape, globe and vintage Edison style.
Another way to use string lights is to wrap Christmas lights or rope lights around trees in your yard. Run the extension cord that is connected to the house to create a magical glow to a seating or dining area.
Lanterns come in many styles, colors and price points. They are easy to move where ever you need them. They are popular to use outdoors even with real candles since the wind won’t blow them out inside the lantern.
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, porch, deck or garden. Most of these solar lights have caps so that the light shines down and won’t be glaring.
Solar lights or path lighting with stakes don’t have to be only used along walkways. They can be used in planters to light up as patio lighting or on a porch or deck at night.
Backyard Deck Lighting Trick
This deck lighting trick uses solar lights without their stakes to create step lights. Attach “u” shaped brackets on the outer side of deck stairs to place the lights in.
I hope browsing through these backyard lighting ideas will inspire you to create your own unique lighting so you can enjoy your backyard even after the sun goes down.