Turn up the Glam
A glittering chandelier, dripping with crystals has long been the epitome of dining room elegance—but why not make the same statement outdoors? A chandelier is a perfect way to add a little sophistication to your backyard this summer and can be hard-wired into an existing gazebo, pergola or porch. If you're lacking a permanent shade structure, find out how to shade your deck with our handy pergola plans. The best part is, you don't even need electricity to enjoy this look. By outfitting a secondhand chandelier with stick candles, you can enjoy the ambiance in any location you like!
Plus: How to Build a Gazebo
Photo: Ekaterina Lin/Shutterstock
Go Low Voltage
If you're considering outdoor lighting but are new to the DIY scene, installing low-voltage lighting is a great place to start. Versatile and safe for beginners, low-voltage lights can illuminate walkways, gardens and dark spots in your yard as well as provide security. The soft glowing result is also a fantastic way to add ambiance to the best features of your yard. Here's how to install low-voltage outdoor lighting. Homeowners can also get a similar effect by harnessing the power of the sun and installing solar garden lights which are easy on the wallet.
Photo: Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock
Create Your Own Magic
In one afternoon, you can create a magical oasis right in your backyard, and customize it any way you want! With some inexpensive canning jars, sand and a little craft wire, you can create a myriad of fairy lights, which can hang from almost any surface. Look for anodized aluminum wire that won't rust and resists tarnish, making it a perfect choice for this outdoor craft. To add some extra drama, replace the regular sand with colored craft sand and create a unique theme that fits your decor! Better yet, get prepared for crafting these hanging lights by creating your own craft table with our DIY craft room storage table hack.
Photo: Nadiia Balytska/Shutterstock
Build It In
Adding outdoor lighting in the form of built-in illumination is an easy and inexpensive way to create mood lighting and add custom detail to your deck. Learn how to install deck lighting with no electrical skills needed and come away with stairways and handrails that create safety and function. Pro tip: finish off your custom lighting with solar powered post caps that will protect wood posts and add an additional element of light to your outdoor space.
Get the LED Out
These days, there's no shortage of inventive outdoor lighting options to choose from, which means it's easy to find a solution that speaks to your unique style. Whether you're looking to add a little magic to your next outdoor gathering, or just enjoy with your family, solar-powered LED lights, like these remote-controlled LED lawn globes, can do the trick. Long lasting, easy to move and inexpensive, LED lighting checks all the boxes of form and function.
Make Them Float
If you're lucky enough to enjoy a pool or water feature in your outdoor space, add an element of surprise to your next gathering with floating lights. Store-bought, toss-in options are a quick and easy way to add glam, but for a truly remarkable effect, flex your woodworking muscle and build custom mini-pallets like those pictured. You can deck them out with candles, flowers, or anything else your party requires. If you love the idea, but don't have a water feature (yet) check out how to build a low-maintenance pond and create your own favorite backyard hangout that you can illuminate with lighting and enjoy for years to come.
Use Your Trees
Backyard dining tends to happen close to the house or other outdoor structures, because that's where the light is—but who says you can't bring the lighting to you and create a truly special dining experience? Break out the outdoor holiday lights, and mix with a fresh selection of hanging lanterns and solar lights to create a fairy-worthy way to dine under the trees. Better yet, check out five different tables you can make to give your experience an extra-special element. Just add some rustic benches, a lace table runner, and good friends to make this setting truly special.
String It Up
There's a reason vintage-style string lights have stood the test of time as the ultimate in outdoor party lighting. Easy to string and available in almost any shape and size, this classic style is perfect for a night of dancing or chatting with friends around the fire. Better yet, today's version of these classic lights come in both LED and solar options which mean savings for you, and no burned out bulbs to change! The best part is, string lights are easy to operate and can be hung virtually anywhere there's access to an outlet. No outlet? No problem—simply follow our guide on how to add an outdoor outlet and get ready to party.
There's something magical about dining under the stars—except when it's too dark to see your food. Light up the night and extend your outdoor time with umbrella lights that will cast just the right amount of light on your food. Available in plug-in or solar options, umbrella lights come in a variety of styles from traditional lanterns to contemporary chic with built-in speakers, meaning you'll always find the look to suit your mood.
Plus: Build an Umbrella Table
Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Often overlooked as a lighting option, tiki torches are the perfect multifunctional way to add a tropical vibe to your next barbecue. Your guests will be feeling the sand beneath their toes as they dance along to the torch flames and create a night to remember. Fill the torches with citronella oil, and you'll also be creating a bug-free environment for your guests to enjoy. Why not build the deck of your dreams now in anticipation of all the long summer nights to come.