Decorative Outdoor Lighting

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Decorative Outdoor Lighting
Dave Johnson

When it comes to outdoor entertaining, nothing sets the mood quite like festive lighting. Whether you’re hosting a summer dinner al fresco or roasting marshmallows around the fire at your annual autumnal fete, decorative lighting will brighten the vibe. Illuminate your outdoor space with the soft glow of string lights, set the table with flickering candles, and place a few DIY lanterns in unexpected places to frame a memorable evening.

String Lights
Dave Johnson

String Lights

A slab of wood is placed on top of two wine barrels to create this backyard bar, and an old wheelbarrow is used as an ice chest for beer bottles and bubbly. But once the sun sets, it's tough to see the cocktails poured, let alone this great DIY setup, so a single strand of globe lights is strung above to brighten up the bar counter. Another strand of small white lights is arranged at ground level to provide interesting and practical uplighting to illuminate the specialty cocktail menu.

Practical Uplighting
Dave Johnson

Practical Uplighting

A simple string of white lights are an easy and cost effective way to light up any area outdoors. Sure, you can string them overhead or in the hedges, but they work even better draped around the bar area, on top of tables or even in the grass in places where they won't get trampled, just like they are shown here.

Rustic Lanterns
Dave Johnson

Rustic Lanterns

Gather up those dusty old vases crowding the pantry and any other large glass containers that could be used as lanterns for your next outdoor get-together. Use craft wire to make a handle on the lanterns if possible, and place a votive candle inside. For added safety, use flameless outdoor candles, and place the lanterns wherever a little glow is needed.

Gather 'Round The Fire
Dave Johnson

Gather 'Round The Fire

When the sun goes down and the chill sets in, everyone loves to cozy up to the fire. A fire pit in the backyard is warm, inviting and provides an intimate setting for guests to gather. Plus, it's great lighting in an otherwise dimly lit area. This fire pit was created using a gas line run underground, a planter bowl and black rocks, but you can create the same vibe with a wood-burning fire bowl purchased at most home improvements stores.

Hanging Lanterns
Dave Johnson

Hanging Lanterns

Hanging lanterns always adds a little whimsy to a backyard party and it's incredibly simple to do. These ones were made with candle holders from the local dollar store and strung on craft wire. To be on the safe side, especially when hanging lanterns in a tree or near flammable objects, use flameless candles.

DIY Hanging Lanterns
Dave Johnson

DIY Hanging Lanterns

These glass candle holders were purchased at the local dollar store. To hang them in a tree, use craft wire to tie handles onto the screw-on tops. Then, string all of the lanterns onto one long piece of craft wire and carefully arrange on the tree.

Jelly Jar Lanterns
Dave Johnson

Jelly Jar Lanterns

These mini lanterns were made with a pack of jelly jars from the local grocery store and hung in unison on a trellis in the backyard. To create these, wrap a piece of twine around the jelly jars and hang them on a trellis or fence using standard S hooks. Place a candle inside, flameless for added safety, and watch how the lattice pattern on the glass makes a playful pattern in the background.

Side Table Decor
Dave Johnson

Side Table Decor

Mismatched lanterns, votives (and those great candle holders from the dollar store) are grouped together to create interest and glow on side tables placed in various spots throughout the backyard. For objects that might get hot, place them in a heat-proof bowl or other container to keep guests safe and decor fun and funky.

Dinner Table Lighting
Dave Johnson

Dinner Table Lighting

Votive and tealight candles placed inside mismatched glasses are a great way to add warmth and glow to the dinner table without taking up much space. Textured glassware, like this candle holder found at the local dollar store, also creates interesting patterns on the table. If you like this look, use small jelly jars with the lattice pattern as candle holders at your next party.

Outdoor Movie Night
Dave Johnson

Outdoor Movie Night

Make the evening hours work in your favor by setting up an outdoor movie area for your party guests. This is also a great way to entertain the kids. Here, a movie projector is set on top of an upside down trash pail with a few strands of lights strung low to illuminate the hay bale seating.

Custom Signage
Dave Johnson

Custom Signage

For the ultimate wow factor, a practical lighting solution and to add a serious dose of personalization to your backyard, create a custom light-up sign. This homemade replica of the landmark sign in Venice Beach, California was made by cutting out letters from plywood, drilling holes through them, and stringing a set of clear outdoor holiday lights through the letters.

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Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

Tool Tip Basics: Hammer

Believe it or not, but there are actually techniques to using a hammer that will make driving that nail in much easier. Learn how here.

Tool Tip Basics: Hammer

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