patio lights ideas

Here are six super easy ideas for interesting outdoor lighting for your patio and garden space. The goal of this article is to target lighting solutions that don’t require costly wiring from a professional electrician, and preferably styles and designs that use solar power or candles to create a beautiful ambiance.

Take a look, prepare to get creative, and in no time you’ll have a magical backyard space with beautiful lighting!

  • String Lights

string lights

String lights are perhaps the most well known lighting solution for outdoor patio and garden use. With innumerable design options and styles, and a very simple system that doesn’t require an electrician, these are a top choice.

You can wrap them around trees like Fairy lights/Christmas lights, run them along the backs of patio furniture, or even bunch them up and insert them into glass containers for beautiful table lighting. The possibilities are literally endless with outdoor string lights.

Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve, you may want to consider running a steel guy wire across the span you intend to light with string lights. The guy wire can be made quite taut, and then the string lights can be amazing outdoor patio lights suspended from the guy wire. By taking this step, you can get the look of nice taut lines of string lights as opposed to the sagging lines that are so frequently seen.

  • Glow in the Dark Paint

Glow in the Dark Paint

You can get very creative with glow in the dark paint, such as Rustoleum’s glow in the dark spray paints. By spraying stepping stones on a walkway, or perhaps spraying flower pots lining a walkway with glow in the dark paint, you can create a dazzling pathway that will bring whimsy and delight to your outdoor space.

Try using stencils and patterns for even more visual interest! Lay down a stencil or sheet of lace along a pathway and then paint with glow in the dark paint. Wait to let the paint dry, and remove the stencil for a beautiful pattern that will gently glow for hours after the sun goes down.

  • Solar Path Lights

solar path lights

Solar Path lighting is a classic and easy solution for lighting up walkways, and garden beds, and giving accent illumination to common outdoor features. These outdoor patio path lights are typically not super bright, and cannot provide all the necessary illumination to light up a yard or patio space. But they are great at outlining paths for safety, and garden beds for beauty.

Available with many different options, solar path lights require no wiring and can pretty much go anywhere. If you want to find something different, look for a path light that has a color changing option, or perhaps a path light that has a glass lens designed to cast an interesting pattern! For more information on solar path lights, check out this solar path lighting overview.

  • Solar Outdoor Table Lamps

Solar Outdoor Table Lamps

With a little creativity and a bit of elbow grease, you can make a beautiful outdoor solar table lamp! Simple attach the top of a solar outdoor patio lights to a lampshade of a traditional lamp. Set the lampshade onto the base of the lamp, and you have a beautiful energy efficient solar light without any need for an electric cord.

By using an old ceramic or metal lamp you have lying around with a frayed cord or otherwise non-functional part, you can have an upcycled solar LED outdoor lamp for essentially $0.00!

  • Pendant Candle Lights

Pendant Candle Lights

If you have a large tree, pergola, gazebo, or other structure that you can hang lights from in your patio space, you can get very creative with pendant candle lights.

Many online stores sell hanging candle holders (for example this pack of 12 hanging candle holders from Amazon) which you can suspend from a tree branch, pergola truss, gazebo, etc. for accent lighting.

Be careful how high you hang the globes, and try to hang them out of the circulation/walking paths so that people don’t bump into them and knock them over!

With these hanging candle lights, you can choose to forego the actual tea candles and opt for LED tea lights for ease of use and fire safety.

  • Candle Sconce Lights

Candle Sconce Lights


By using candle lights as sconce lights, you can create some beautiful visual accents that provide a bit of light, without getting an electrician in to do a bunch of wiring. There are many sconces available designed to work with candles, and while they don’t cast as much light as a traditional wired sconce casts, they look beautiful during the day, and provide a gentle accent glow in the evening.

This style of candle sconce light can also be used with LED tea lights if you don’t want to deal with actual candles and the potential fire hazard they create.


With a little bit of creativity, you can get some fantastic lighting in your back yard or patio space without needing an electrician do wire in weather-protected electrical outlets, etc. By embracing the power of solar lighting, the old-school charm of candlelight, and by using some glow in the dark spray paint to get creative, you can design a delightful outdoor space or outdoor patio lights with very little effort.

Good luck!

Author: John Magee


Bio: John has decades of experience in the home design and residential construction industry. is dedicated to modern living in the patio and garden, with a focus on interesting patio products, helpful guides and tips, and patio and backyard design ideas.