16 Must-See Outdoor String Light Ideas

Along the Walls

Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil

Wanna learn to use your string lights more than just the holidays?

Here are some terrific design ideas you can use to upgrade your patio, deck or backyard at night.

They’re perfect to light up your home. And, make guests say “wow!” when then come over.

Check them out and see which ones you like most.

Lights with Illuminating Mason Jars

best Outdoor String Lights

I’ll kick things off with one of my favorites.

This idea uses double lighting.

One, with string lights wrapped around the trees.

And two, hanging illuminated mason jars.

One or the other is great.

But together, they’re awesome! Right?

This is perfect especially if you have guests and have a table prepared. There’s no way in the world your they won’t admire your lighting setup.

High Above

outdoor string lights ideas

If you live in a two story home or have high roofs, you can hang lights across the top.

This gives them a different feel compared to when they’re just overhead.

Although they’ll play a secondary role to your main lights, they’ll produce an effect that’s wonderful.

Zig Zag Lighting

String lights designs

String lights are amazing because they give you a lot of options.

They can have big or small bulbs. The space of the bulbs may vary. And, how you line them up makes a difference as well.

This one uses the latter one to make it unique.

The Zig Zag stringing of the lights allows the lights to shine differently. And, you’ll see different patterns when you look up. Both of which makes it lovely to see.

DIY String Solar Lanterns

DIY String Solar Lanterns

One of the best things about doing things yourself is that you can customize certain components.

In this case, it’s using solar lights.

Solar lights save electricity. And, you don’t need to remember to unplug them or turn them off.

What I love is that this DIY lighting project doesn’t stop there.

It takes things to the next level by making the lights shine in different colors.

Better yet, all it takes is a little painting.

On a Railing

string lights on a railing

String lights are often placed up high. That’s because they’re mean to brighten entire spaces.

But, you don’t always have to set them up above.

Placing them down low works as well.

In this case, the string lights are placed around a railing.

This lets you accentuate any furniture, plants or items you want people to see. It also helps them watch their steps at night.

With Birthday Cones

birthday cone lights

Just when you thought that birthday cones were just for kids B-Day parties, they surprise you.

This DIY project is sooo creative.

And, it’s looks wonderful!

They’re simple, but do take a little work because you have to insert the cones one by one.

But, they definitely make ordinary string lights pop.

Along the Entryway

Along the Entryway

If you have an entryway that allows for hanging the lights overhead, this is one way to make it shine at night.

You can decide how you want to set up the lights.

They can form a guided path. Or, cross back and forth like the one above.

In either case, the hanging string lights adds extra character to your pathway and entryway.

Patio Lanterns

best outdoor string light designs

One of the things I love about lights is that they can set the mood by themselves.

If you set them up straight and in an organized way, they make the setting formal.

But, they can add a little whimsy as well. As is the case with this one.

The mini patio lanterns add a bit of fun to any space.

This lets your guests relax and feel at home.

Illuminating a Tree

lights on a tree

Trees provide a lovely setting.

Whether they’re in the background or you’re staying under them, adding lights to a tree’s branches makes them shine.

This turns them into something possibly frightening for younger kids at  night, into somewhat magical to look at.

From the Same Pole

outdoor lights

Another way to line up string lights is to have them all come from one place.

In this case, it’s a pole. But, it can be anything.

Allowing the lights to converge makes them shine brighter on one end and disperse a little more on the other. It’s also a less commonly used pattern.

Along the Walls

Along the Walls

Besides overhead, you can likewise allow the lights to come down the side of a wall.

Here, it follows a more random pattern down the from the ceiling.

But, you can always design the way the lights are formed.

That’s one of the beauties of string lights.

Along the Beams

Along the Beams

If you already have some lights going, less can be more.

This allows the string lights to add extra emphasis so certain areas.

In this case, it’s the beams of roof.

Doing so outlines the border of your home. At least the top section of it.

Under Your Pergola

Under Your Pergola

If you have a pergola or some other roofed structure, you can set the lights up under the ceiling.

The string lights act as a substitute to regular lights.

And, provide extra effects that make things extraordinary.

If you have a lot of smaller lights, you can make them look like the stars.

Narrow Hallways and Spaces

Narrow Hallways and Spaces

Narrow hallways and spaces are perfect for string lights.

That’s because they can cover the middle section and illuminate the area from all angles.

This is especially true when there’s no ceiling above.

The string lights give you better lighting coverage. And, make the space look much better as well.

Lines of Threes

Lines of Threes

This is a unique way to setting up your string lights.

You organize them in sets of 3’s. And, allow them to zig zag across a bigger spaces.

The three string lights give you more illumination. It also lets you space out the lights more.

Sometimes, the simplest of changes can make all the difference.

Highlight a Vertical Pallet Garden

Highlight a Vertical Pallet Garden

This is a creative way to emphasizing artwork or a certain section of your home.

In this case, it’s to light up a vertical pallet garden.

The lights randomly criss-cross across the wall to make the entire garden glow.

Thus, making sure nobody misses the pots and plants.


It’s easy to associate string lights with Christmas.

But, just because everybody mostly uses them only during the holidays, doesn’t mean they’re limited to that.

The designs and ideas above prove that.

And, with a little creativity and experimentation, you can use them at home and outdoors all year round as well.

What’s your favorite way of using string lights? Let me know below.


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