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10 backyard lighting ideas to glow up your garden

Backyard lighting ideas: image of illuminated dinner setting with greenery
(Image credit: Getty Images)

These backyard lighting ideas have the power to transform your space as the evening draws in, creating a warm, cozy atmosphere. From simple singular lights to spruce up your pathways to innovative floating LED orbs, these lighting ideas will be sure to elevate your backyard in an instant and help you enjoy your space even as the twilight hours approach.

Kitting out your garden or balcony with these backyard lighting ideas doesn’t need to cost the earth either. The best solar lights are designed to soak up sunlight during the day and keep your garden illuminated at night without a hitch, meaning your new lighting solution is not only environmentally friendly but also super affordable. Solar lights are usually designed with a high level of suitability for the elements too, so you don’t have to worry about collecting your lights inside at the first hint of rain. 

Regardless of the size of your garden, we’ve put together backyard lighting ideas to suit your space. So, whether you’re prioritizing your patio or want to make the most of your flowering plants, you can breathe new life into your space with these simple solar light additions. 

1. Drape your outdoor solar lights in trees  

Greenery and foliage are often the centerpieces of any garden, so why not try incorporating your lighting into your trees and plants, and create a magical-looking space. If you have tall trees, one way to achieve this is to wrap your solar lights around the bulk of the trunk and up into the overhanging branches. This will not only light your garden from afar but create a new spot you can relax under, or complement a new seating area.

Alternatively, if you want a more toned-down lighting situation, then you can opt for hanging meteor shower lights, like these from Amazon, which create a curtain effect as they hang from your trees. No matter how you arrange them, combining the natural elements of your garden with the ambiance of solar lights will create a cozy effect.

Backyard lighting ideas: image of two green chairs under lights

(Image credit: Getty Images)

2.  Add a floating LED light to your pool or tub 

One of the best ways to relax in your backyard is with the help of one of the best hot tubs or swim spas, with their powerful hydrotherapy elements and built-in features. Plus, as far as backyard lighting goes, they can also offer a great opportunity to brighten things up, with an array of floating LED lights available for when the day gets darker. 

If you like to party the night away in your hot tub then this floating LED light from Amazon will be perfect for providing both music and a disco glow, with plenty of different light settings to choose from. All you need to do is hook your phone up via Bluetooth, and allow it to float around as you relax.

For those with larger pool areas, why not check out these ball-shaped LED lights; a great way to add a splash of color to your yard, especially if you’re throwing a party. With these vibrant lights, your pool will remain a centerpiece of your garden even in the dark, and once you’re done with them for the evening, you can simply charge them up for next time.

If you’re looking for more laidback vibes in your garden, then these floating lotus flower lights can add a gentle hue to your pool or pond without seeming artificial and are available in lots of different colors to complement your real plants and shrubbery.

3. Create a zen garden with solar lanterns  

If you’re dreaming of a minimalist garden for your home, or have put in the hard work to create one already, then you might be wondering how you can incorporate lights without taking away from the overall effect. Taking inspiration from Japanese-style gardens, notable for their raked areas and enhancement of natural features, we would suggest adding solar lanterns for a subtle finishing touch.

Perfect for marking out pathways and illuminating certain areas, solar lanterns are available in styles to suit all gardens. A classic wood finish is probably the most recognizable and often comes with handles so you can move them around, with many people choosing different sizes clustered together. 

If you’re totally sold by the idea of a Japanese zen garden style, then stone lanterns are a fantastic way to keep to the theme, with the option of adding LED lights or tealights on the inside.

Backyard lighting ideas: image of dinner settings outside near pool

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Weave solar lights into a trellis  

If you don’t have trees to adorn with lights, then why not alternatively try out adding lights to any trellis structures in your garden in order to attract extra attention. Trellis comes in plenty of different forms, including stand-alone structures or a walkthrough arch, and are excellent for adding both decorative value and privacy from neighbors. 

Our top pick solar lights, the Brightech Pro Solar lights, are an excellent choice if you do decide to weave them into your foliage, as they’re both weatherproof and shatterproof, and capable of withstanding winds of up to 50mph. They’ll also provide an excellent visual distraction if you’re just getting to grips with your trellis planter, giving you time to allow your honeysuckle, wisteria, and ivy to flourish.

5.  Add a fire pit - for warmth and light 

The best fire pits are essential for providing much-needed warmth when the sun goes down, but have you considered how they can also be an integral lighting element in your garden too? With plenty of models available with open flames for securing that real rustic outdoors look, fire pits can create a truly inviting outdoor scene. Plus, they create the perfect opportunity for a heated seating area with crisscrossed LED lights; leaving you with a real snug garden grotto.

Backyard lighting ideas: image of people outside under solar lights

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 6. Level up your pergola  

Pergolas are a real garden game changer, allowing you a respite of shade when you need it, as well as marking out a distinct area to kick back in away from the glare of the sun. Even better, they’re an ideal structure for you to hang solar lights on, making your backyard a totally relaxing place to hang out in the evenings, with enough space to cater to a dining table or DIY bar. 

A great solar light combination for a pergola is Edison-style bulbs, as the exposed lights match nicely with the wooden material. And if you really want to create a chilled-out space, you could even install curtains, like these from Amazon, to protect you from UV rays.

7. Upgrade your patio instantly 

A patio area can provide a great in-between space between your house and backyard, and often offer excellent opportunities for lighting. Covered spaces with a roof can be draped with lights across the entire ceiling, and make your patio a more suitable space for cookouts with the best gas grills

If you’re used to spending a lot of time on your patio and wondering how you can make your lighting situation work best for you, you can even consider a smart light, such as this Bluetooth enabled lantern from Amazon, which can play music and dim its brightness with control from your phone. It even has USB ports, so that you can charge up your devices without having to pop back inside. 

Backyard lighting ideas: image of patio area with solar ligths

(Image credit: Getty Images)

8.  Add mason jar lights for an instant cozy space 

Mason jar lights are the perfect DIY backyard lighting idea, as you can probably pull together everything you need from inside your home, and place them anywhere you like. Opt for warm-toned solar tea lights in similar sized jars for a neater effect, and hang them from trees or place them on ledges so that they catch attention throughout your garden.

If you’d rather pick up your mason jars with the lights already fitted, then there are plenty of ready-made alternatives to save you the fuss, like these from Amazon. Cleverly, those jars have solar panels on their lids, meaning that you can simply set them up and admire their glow.

Backyard lighting ideas: image of solar lights in mason jars

(Image credit: Getty Images)

9.  Go for a touch of class with an outdoor chandelier  

If you love making the most of warm summer evenings, then you might be envisioning hosting a dinner party or two in your backyard with your friends and family. While strung solar lights offer excellent ambient vibes, if you’re looking to really elevate your dinner setting, why not consider a solar chandelier? 

Available in plenty of different styles, outdoor chandeliers are usually fitted with LED lights that have been modified so that they can contend against adverse weather conditions. Choose between a more rustic chandelier, like this one from Wayfair, or something a little more out there, like this exposed bulb model, and impress your guests with your spectacular outdoor lighting centerpiece. 

Backyard lighting ideas: image of outdoor chandelier otuside pool house

(Image credit: Home Depot)

10. Bring attention to your water features 

Creating orbs of light throughout your garden is one way to really up the entire aesthetic value of your space, as opposed to just having one lit-up area. That’s why we think adding lights to other areas, such as fountains and water features, is a simple choice for providing a final sprinkle of style in your garden. 

Elevate your space by putting lights around the area, such as with lanterns, or opt for water features, like this lovely solar fountain from Wayfair, with a built-in glow. With lights in this area, you can combine integral parts of your space and you can still enjoy the loveliness of your water features even after dark. 

Molly Cleary

Molly is the Staff Writer for the Home Section at Top Ten Reviews, joining the team after finishing college. When she's not writing she enjoys baking and embroidery, as well as getting stuck into a good book.