Best Backyard Lighting Ideas You Can Install Yourself

Stunning backyard lighting ideas you can install yourself without the need of an electrician for a magical outdoor space.

Pure magic! That’s what the backyard feels like after adding so much gorgeous backyard lighting!

 That’s because string lights, fairy lights, and solar lights basically have super powers whenever any backyard needs a perk up. Got a sad little yard? Add string lights. It’s a game changer; trust me on this one. 

backyard pool with pergola cabana, outdoor curtains, and backyard lighting

Since we’ve been focusing so much on this backyard space in the past year and we’re hosting so many gatherings all summer, we thought adding some patio lighting ideas was the perfect way to bring our outdoor area to life.

Plus, we’ve always wanted to enjoy night swims in the pool, but since our backyard gets so dark, we couldn’t swim for safety reasons. It would normally cost a few thousand to add wired pool lights.

But NOW! Adding a few creative outdoor lighting ideas was a great option to do the trick! 

outdoor party lights around a pool with cabana, outdoor kitchen, and patio furniture

Backyard Lighting Ideas You Can Install Yourself on a Budget

If you want to add some landscape lighting ideas to set the mood and ambience these are also functional for your deck or patio.

Here are some of the best outdoor lights you can get and install yourself without the need of an electrician!

Similar to interior designers recommending 3 lighting types in a room to make it feel multi-dimensional, landscape designers often suggest adding layers of light:

  • overhead
  • underfoot
  • outdoor surfaces

Using them as both accent lighting and task lighting in the backyard works best for function and mood. 

backyard lighting ideas with string lights and lanterns including a bocce ball court and a fire pit

1. String Lights

String lights are the best option when you need backyard lighting with a limited power source. Whenever possible, go with shatterproof outdoor string lights to prevent any injuries. 

If you want to use your string lighting to make your backyard more visible, it’s best to go with a plug-in strand of string lights rather than solar powered since they’re brighter.

If you don’t have access to an outdoor power outlet, these solar string lights will do the trick as outdoor party lights for a soft glow.

*We hung our string lights around the perimeter of our pool because it is unsafe and against code to have string lights running above a pool in case a strand should fall into the water and create an electrocution hazard. 

Tutorial: How to Hang String Lights Anywhere in Your Backyard

You can use our string light guide to help you hang them on tree trunks, through tree branches, around a covered patio, around a tree-less seating area, and much more.

a backyard pool cabana with string lights and a solar pendant light above patio furniture

2. Solar Pendant Lights

This woven solar powered pendant light makes the perfect pergola lighting! It’s great for hanging over an outdoor dining table to enjoy meals al fresco this time of year.

Because our cabana pergola has a soft top, we needed something to attach the pendant light.

We ran medium duty cable across the middle of the cabana to hang the light and zip tied the solar pendant light’s power cord to the cable.

They would be great to use on a back porch or above a front door for some dramatic effect too. 

a solar pendant light hanging in an outdoor pergola cabana at night with a table, chairs, and umbrella behind

Ahh! It’s like a fairytale! I love it so much.

a pergola cabana with patio dining furniture, solar pendant lights, and string lights beside a pool at night

3. Tiki Torches

These little tabletop tiki torches are so handy because they add just the right amount of ambience, but they’re a great way to keep the bugs away. 

That definitely comes in handy with lights on that attract them, so they make perfect outdoor party lights on tables to keep guests comfortable. 

tabletop tiki torch on an outdoor dining table

4. Battery Operated Lanterns

These lanterns are gorgeous and an easy way to dress up outdoor tabletops! I’ve seen very similar ones at a few high end stores, but these cost less.

The candle inside can be put on a timer, so you don’t have to worry about it being a fire hazard in the backyard. 

battery lantern on an outdoor dining table with a patio umbrella and plant

5. Solar Powered Fence Lights

I bought these solar powered step lights (as they technically are designed for) to use on our fence back in November. They would work great as deck lights too.

Over 6 months later, they’re still awesome!

We can see the perimeter of our yard so much better with them, and it’s just one more layer of low-maintenance solar lighting to create a welcoming, relaxing backyard.

They don’t get super bright, but they produce just enough light to add a soft glow. 

a solar step light attached to a fence post lit up at night

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solar step lights attached to fence posts lit up at night in a backyard

6. Real Candle Lanterns

You can never go wrong with a classic black lantern. We’ve owned these and used them outside for almost a year!

When they’re not hanging around our DIY fire pit to create some mood lighting, I love to carry these lanterns to decorate our front porch to repurpose as cozy porch decor for Halloween or Christmas.

black lantern beside an Adirondack chair at a backyard fire pit
black lanterns beside a pea gravel backyard fire pit and boxwood tree

That’s it!

Magical, dreamy, twinkly, sparkly, and all of the things.

Robert and I have several friends coming over tonight for a hangout under the outdoor party lights, so we’re excited to just bask in the glow of this week’s hard work.

fire pit string lights with pea gravel, black Adirondack chairs, and wood shed in a backyard
poolside cabana pergola in a backyard with string lights and solar pendant lights and white outdoor curtains

If you want to know about any of the backyard lighting we’ve used in this post, you can find them all below:

Backyard Lighting Sources

backyard with string lights, a bocce ball court, and fire pit with black Adirondack chairs

Have you ever added any backyard lighting to your space? Have any other outdoor lighting ideas you’d add to the list?

It’s amazing what even just one little $20 strand of string lights can do.

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7 Comments

  1. Love what you have done with your new lights in your backyard! You have done a fabulous job with your yard! It’s so beautiful! Enjoy!

  2. OMG. Your backyard is a vacation destination. I would never leave home. Perfection! Thanks for the lighting ideas.

  3. I agree! String lights add a magical touch to any backyard. I have them strung across my pergola and it is so pretty. We then added spot lights that we tucked into the garden to uplight some of the big trees, so there are no dark corners. Even in the winter when there are no leaves, the branches look pretty and the pergola is lite. I have a remote to turn all lights on from inside.
    Your yard is beautifully decorated with so many different rooms – seating, dining, kitchen, fire pit, pool…I’m sure it’s a well used backyard, enjoyed by family & friends.