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Outdoor Lighting for Backyard Get-togethers

outdoor lantern

When the sun is shining through the windows and the sprinklers draw children outside to run around, you have to take advantage. Soon, the cold winds of fall will be coming, but for now, being outside is pleasant, with warm evenings and soft late-summer breezes. As the sun dips below the horizon, you might not be ready to go inside. Here are some ideas for lighting your outdoor spaces, whether you have a balcony, porch, patio, or deck.

Cordless Lighting

Cordless lighting

Infinita Lifestyles Smart & Green BIG FLATBALL. Waterproof, cordless, rechargable LED. 160,000 Colors in static, dynamic, and candle effect. Available at BuildDirect.com.

If you’re getting your outdoor space ready for a get-together, whether it’s a barbecue, birthday party, dinner, or family gathering, cordless lighting is the perfect way to light the space without worrying about where plugs are or if guests might trip over extension cords. You can place the lights throughout the area wherever lights are needed. Set them on tables, around lounge chairs, or along walking paths.

One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that not all cordless lighting is designed for outdoor use. As you search for options, make sure it’s outdoor rated. It should be waterproof, so if you leave the light outside and it rains, it won’t be damaged. If you have a pool, you can choose lights that are made to float on the water. Invest in LED lighting that’s rechargeable and has the ability to change the effect and color of lights, and you’ll have great outdoor lighting for years to come. Remember, this lighting is for aesthetics more than anything else, so choose a light that has a beautiful soft glow.

String Lights

string lighting

It might seem like something you only see around the end of December, but string lights can be used throughout the year. If you’re worried about them looking too bland, there are ways to dress up the lights to make them more fun. One way is to take colored paper bags and cut small slits in the bottom where the lights can peek through. Then take ribbons and tie them through additional slits on the top of the bags. Thread the lights through the bottom slits and tape. The bags will hang upside down, creating a cool paper lantern-like effect.

Another way to dress up string lights is with cupcake liners. Just cut an X in the bottom of the liner and pull the light through. Then secure the liner to the string. This looks best with string lights that have larger bulbs.

For one last idea, take a hula hoop and wrap it in white lace. Then take white icicle lights and wind the lights around the hula hoop so that the icicle lights hang down in a circle. In the end, you have a hula hoop chandelier that can be hung. Of course these are just a few ideas for lights.

There are lots of ways you could cover string lights to make them festive and fit the theme of your get-together. If you’re worried about the heat, especially if you’re covering the lights with a paper product, consider getting LED string lights, which are much cooler than incandescent bulbs.

Fire Pits

fire pit

Especially inviting on cool summer nights is a fire pit. Get one that has a base that lifts it above the ground and has a table around it, and then all it needs are a few chairs to surround it. It will add a soft glow to your party that will keep your guests talking into the night. Plus, it’ll be a great addition to your back yard as fall sets in, giving you an excuse to go outdoors and enjoy the fresh air even when the frost starts biting. If a fire table isn’t your style, there are many fire pit styles to choose from that fit into whatever decor and space you have to offer.

DIY Mason Jar Lighting

mason jar lighting

Image via Flickr by apairandaspare

If you’re looking for more ways to light your yard wirelessly, consider using mason jars for lighting. There are lots of fun ideas for how to turn mason jars into lights, and since these jars are made to withstand high degrees of heat, you know they’re durable.

The first idea is to turn mason jars into solar lights. All you need are jars and pathway lights that fit the size of jar you choose. If you want to add a cool foggy look, spray the inside with frosted glass spray and let it dry. Cut out some Plexiglas to the size of the lid using a lid as a template. Glue the pathway light (solar side up) to the inside of the Plexiglas. Use the lid’s ring to keep it in place. Next, just place the light where it can get some sun during the day and enjoy the lights at night.

Another idea is a DIY mason jar chandelier. To make this, all you need is a long wood plank and some rope. Put holes in the plank for the jars to sit in and two small holes at each end of the plank to string the rope through in order to hang it. Then all you need to do is add candles inside the jar. You can use real candles or, to avoid flames, buy battery-operated candles that give the same effect.

Permanent Lighting

Outdoor permanent lighting

If you’re looking for something more permanent that you don’t have to set up and take down before a party, consider installing some solar lighting throughout your yard. Victorian-style lampposts are always popular and add an air of elegance to your property. Because they run by solar energy, you don’t have to worry about turning them off or on, and you won’t see an increase in your electric bill. Just remember that you get what you pay for. If you want to have something that looks beautiful for years to come, it will take more of an investment.

With so many options for outdoor lighting, you can really have fun with it. Find a few DIY projects that interest you and create lighting for your next party. Or buy just the perfect fixture that fits your decor and enjoy it for years to come. There are so many possibilities.

Questions about outdoor lighting? Ask us in the comments section and we’ll be happy to help.

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