20 Stunning String Light Ideas to Decorate Your Backyard

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string lights ideas for backyard

Any backyard can turn into a magical place at night with just a few string lights. You can be surprised how much ambiance string lights can do to your backyard.

But you might be wondering, what is the best way to hang string lights in an outdoor area? You definitely need to have an eye for creativity if you want to set up your string lights in a way that you can enjoy all year long.

The convenient thing about string lights is that you can hang them from one post to the next, wrap them in something, or have them draped down from the ceiling. There are so many ways to set them up!

Here, we have gathered 20 great ideas on how you should set up your string lights in the backyard. You will surely find one idea that will work well for your outdoor space.

1. Use planters for string light poles.

It is difficult to hang string lights if they have nothing to hang on to. What if all you had is just a cemented space in your yard, a lawn with no trees, or you are just renting the house you live in?

The best way to create your own string light poles is to use a huge planter as its base. Planters are wide and deep enough to handle the job. The greenery and the flowers in the planter will also pretty up the poles during daylight.

Use planters for light poles
Image from: Rona

2. Above a hammock

If you are looking for something easy to pull off, you can start with this hammock setup.

Once you set this up, you will realize that there is nothing more soothing than hanging out in a hammock that is gently swinging under string lights. This can be just your favorite way to relax!

Above a hammock
Image from: The Design Twins

3. Tree to roof

The simplest way to set up string lights over your backyard is to use a tree as your base and spread the string lights across your roof. This will form a triangular canopy-like lighting at night.

You can set up your outdoor dining or lounge area under the canopy to benefit from its brightness.

Tree to roof
Image from: Ashley Brooke

4. Patio ceiling

You can transform your patio into a more inviting and romantic lounge area by twining string lights around the beams of the ceiling. It helps if the color of the cord matches the color of the ceiling so that it really blends in and makes the lights look like they are floating!

Patio ceiling
Image from: A Beautiful Mess

5. Wrap the base of grown trees.

If you happen to have some adult trees in your backyard, one way to use string lights is to wrap them up starting on the base part. Just simply wind the lights around the trunks. Of course, you have to make sure to check the length of the string for this.

It helps to get products that are designed with connectable cables so that you can easily use multiple sets at once for a tree.

Wrap the base of grown trees
Image from: Omysa

6. Follow the branches.

Another delightful way to use string lights on the trees in your backyard is to wrap them around the tree’s major branches. This will draw attention to the tree’s natural shape and can turn it into a focal point in your yard.

Of course, this works best if you have a majestic tree with nice foliage.

Follow the branches
Image from: Yardenvy

7. Use shepherd hooks over flower beds.

If your backyard has a nice garden and you are proud of your blooming flowers, you should still make them a focal point even when it’s dark outside. And you can use string lights for that.

Shepherd hooks are a stable and great way to hold up the string lights over your plants and flowers. Make sure you use weather-proof lights, so you do not have to take extra caution while watering your flower beds.

Use shepherd hooks over flower beds
Image from: The Green Head

8. Light up walls.

If you have blank walls or a high fence in your backyard, you can turn them into an interesting feature by hanging down string lights all over them. You will also instantly have a great backdrop for all the photos you want for family gatherings and occasions.

The string lights will also give the spot a more welcoming vibe!

9. Incorporate in your outdoor kitchen.

If your backyard comes with an outdoor kitchen area, you should use string lights as another layer of lighting there too. Place them above the countertops just like this one and you achieve a cooking space that does not look boring.

 Incorporate in your outdoor kitchen
Image from: Light My Nest

10. String lights on the fence.

Make your perimeters look a little more festive by hanging string lights on the fence. It will not only make your backyard look prettier but it will also make you see the perimeters of your property clearly.

String lights on the fence
Image from: Pinterest

11. Bottle pathway lights.

If your backyard comes with a pathway, you should make sure that everyone sees the path at night. This is not only to help illuminate your backyard but also for safety purposes so that nobody trips or nobody walks into your flower beds.

This DIY project comes with a cement base so that the bottles easily stay in place.

Bottle pathway lights
Image from: Arts Pretty PLants

12. Light up your pergola.

If you have a pergola in your backyard, you can turn it into a cozy and romantic spot when the sun goes down with the help of string lights. Just hang the string lights over the top lattice of the pergola and it will light up with a warm glow at night.

13. DIY string light lanterns

This is a popular backyard string light project that adds a lot of country charm to any outdoor area. And it is very simple to make! All you have to do is place battery-powered string lights in any see-through glass jars and use steel wires to hang them from trees.

14. Attach to the underside of a gazebo.

You can give your gazebo a starry ceiling even if it has a roof. All you have to do is attach string lights on the underside of the gazebo so that you can enjoy the fairytale-like ambiance of string lights even with a roof over your head.

15. Above your dining table

Dining al fresco under the starlit sky is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors at night. You can make your outdoor dining set up more dreamy and romantic by hanging several string lights over the dining table.

This one is arranged with the string lights crisscrossing each other so the bulbs drape down at various heights, giving anyone dining at the table different layers of lighting. Make sure that the string lights are hanging high enough so that diners won’t hit the bulbs when they stand from their seats.

16. String lights canopy

Attaching string lights to tall posts or other structures can easily create a canopy made out of lights. Do this above your outdoor dining area or lounge area because it also signals to guests which areas they should gather. With a canopy made out of string lights, you have the illusion of a “roof” made out of lights.

String lights canopy
Image from: Pinterest

17. Outdoor umbrella glow-up

You can transform a simple outdoor umbrella into an eye-catching feature when the sun goes down. The structure of an umbrella is perfect for twining string lights around it. If you have a pool, you can set up a couple of umbrellas with this string light suggestion around for a cozier night swimming experience.

Outdoor umbrella glow-up
Image from: Pieces of a Mom

18. Drape down from trees

Another fairytale effect that you can do with string lights and trees is to just drape them over the branches. At night, your trees will get a curtain of light surrounding them. It is best if you set up a lounge area under the tree to enjoy the effect.

Drape down from trees
Image from: Pinterest

19. Hang above the pool.

If you have a pool in your backyard, you should consider placing a few rows of string lights above the pool. It would provide just enough brightness for everyone to enjoy an evening swim. Just make sure that the lights are high enough that they get minimal or better yet no splashes at all when someone decides to dive in.

Hang above the pool
Image from: Decoist

20. Give texture.

Make your string lights a little more special by adding some texture to their presentation. For this DIY project, string lights and rattan balls are combined to create an aesthetically pleasing string light that you can keep up all year long.

Give texture
Image from: Crafty Butt

Enjoy your backyard with string lights!

String lights should not be limited to holidays. These affordable and bright mini bulbs can add a magical sparkle to your backyard that you can enjoy all year round.

Take note that this product has grown over the past years, giving consumers a lot of options to choose from. Different kinds of lights come in different lighting modes, colors, bulb sizes, and requirements.

Hopefully, this guide will help you decide which string light you should go for and what style you should use in your backyard.

Need more lighting ideas for your home? Check these out!

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String lights do add a magical sparkle to your backyard that you can enjoy all year round! Hence, here are various string light ideas you can try at home.

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