Home & Garden

10 outdoor lights to make your backyard pop

Give your home the perfect glow-up

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Your backyard is a sanctuary. It’s a place where you can relax in comfy patio furniture, unwind, spend time with loved ones, and even cook dinner if you want to. With the right outdoor lighting, it can look the part. The only catch? Finding the right options for your home’s needs.

Whether you’re trying to keep your patio deck lit up past dusk or you’re just trying to make the pathway up to your front door easier to see at night, outdoor LED lighting can make a big difference, and there are plenty of models to choose from at retailers like Wayfair, Amazon, and others.

We rounded up some of the most popular exterior lighting products on the market, from fairy lights to solar-powered picks, bamboo torches, and more.

Here are 10 that can help make your outdoor space feel even more special and sacred.

1. This lighted umbrella that’s perfect for summer nights

umbrella
Credit: Wayfair

It's like getting two great items for the price of one.

This 4.6-star lighted umbrella from Wayfair is like getting the best of both worlds. On the one hand, you’re getting a nine-foot canopy umbrella with a crank lift, and it’s available in four different colors, so you can find the best one to suit your patio style.

On the other, you’re getting a unique light source, as this bad Larry has 24 LED light bulbs on the inside and when it’s fully charged, they’ll stay illuminated for up to 10 hours. More than 4,400 Wayfair shoppers love this item, with one raving: “We turned on the umbrella at night to see how the lights would look, and it was beautiful. It set the ambiance for a relaxing rest of our evening.”

Get the Jericho 108-inch Lighted Market Umbrella at Wayfair for $109.99

2. These Edison-style string lights that are totally worth the splurge

edison bulbs
Credit: Amazon

A true classic never goes out of style.

Looking for good string lights that offer a lot of footage and will be especially cute strung around your backyard gazebo? These 4.8-star outdoor string lights could be just what you’ve been waiting for. Featuring chic Edison-style bulbs, these 48-foot long lights have a distinctive look to them, but they’re surprisingly resilient, too.

The strands are made from heavy-duty, weatherproof material and the company claims they can withstand up to 50 miles-per-hour. “These lights are absolutely amazing,” wrote one of the more than 8,000 happy reviewers on Amazon. “Lit my pool and fire pit area this week and am getting rave reviews from everyone that has seen them.”

Get the Brightech Ambience Pro String Lights at Amazon for $44.99

3. A stylish lantern that also repels mosquitoes

lantern
Credit: Home Depot

Keep mosquitoes away as you relax outdoors.

Spending time outside and relaxing on your patio furniture can be a treat (especially during the summer months), but mosquito bites can take the fun out of everything. Instead of springing for a mosquito repellent candle this season, consider this 4.1-star lantern from Home Depot, which has more than 600 enthusiastic reviews.

As a lantern, it’s battery operated and can provide soft ambient lighting, illuminating a patio table and surrounding chairs, say reviewers. Yet it can also repel any insects—including mosquitoes—within 225 square feet of it according to the company, and could be a solid alternative to sprays and lotions that irritate those with sensitive skin. “I bought two of these a month ago after buying a house on the lake,” described one reviewer. “All I heard about was to expect mosquitoes. [Nope,] I set [these] out an hour before dusk, [and they work] like a gem!”

Get the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Lantern at Home Depot for $29.97

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4. A set of landscape lights to shine a clearer path

solar lights
Credit: HSN

Make your walkway easier to navigate at night.

Landscape lighting can be essential, especially if you live in a very private area or have a home surrounded by lots of woodland. This set of six outdoor solar lights from HSN can be a good solution, as they’re meant to be embedded along a pathway and each one shines seven lumens worth of light for up to eight hours every evening—no extension cords or headaches involved.

“For the price of these, [I] could not believe how well they are made and the light they put out is amazing,” described one HSN shopper of these 4.5 star-rated picks.

Get the Eveready Solar-Powered Pathway Lights, Set of 6 at HSN for $44.95

5. These bamboo torches that’ll add rustic charm to your yard

bamboo-torches
Credit: Amazon

Welcome to the backyard oasis.

Easy to mount into the ground and light up using citronella fuel, bamboo torches like this 4.5 star-rated set of six from Amazon can be a great way to give your yard a tropical feel, especially if you don’t have an island getaway in the cards this summer but you still have lots of wanderlust.

More than 1,100 reviewers give them a big thumbs up, with one customer noting: “They produce an even flame with no smoke. Oil consumption is minimal. I've used the torches for three nights and have been delighted. The wicks show no sign of wear.”

Get the Backyadda Bamboo Torches, Set of 6 at Amazon for $59.99

6. These dainty mini lights that are great for railings

railings-new
Credit: Wayfair

These solar-powered string lights are ideal for fences and railings.

Whether it’s for visibility or just aesthetic purposes, railing lights can be a practice investment for your porch and front stairs because they help prevent slips and falls—plus, they can look really cute once they’re set up.

These outdoor solar lights from Wayfair have a 4.4-star rating and close to 3,000 stellar reviews from shoppers who describe them as versatile, easy to use, and extremely convenient to set up. Available in white or green, they feature 200 built-in LED lights and if charged in sunlight first, can last for up to eight hours once the sun goes down, according to the manufacturer. “These lights are professional quality. Daylight sun keeps them lit for 6-8 hours, depending on the sunlight. Beautiful,” wrote one happy reviewer.

Get the Santorini Outdoor Solar Powered LED Mini String Light at Wayfair from $36.99

7. These dreamy curtain string lights for backyard celebrations

curtain lights
Credit: Amazon

Twinkling, shimmering, and oh so splendid.

Planning a backyard wedding or a socially-distanced party for your loved ones this summer? You can make your backyard look more whimsical with these delightful curtain string lights, which have a 4.7-star rating on Amazon and more than 6,000 glowing reviews.

“These lights worked better than expected and turned a wedding night for a friend into a night of beauty and splendor,” described one shopper of these fairy lights, which need to be plugged in but come with a remote for easy use. Whether you want them to twinkle or slowly fade in or out, these lights will do so on command, and if you set the timer, you can have them turn off easily, too.

Get the MAGGIFT Curtain String Lights at Amazon from $16.99

8. A set of lights that’ll make your steps easier to navigate

stairs
Credit: Home Depot

A safer way to navigate the stairs when it's dark.

Much like railing lights, outdoor lighting for stairs can serve two functions, helping enhance visibility while also making your front and patio doors seem more inviting. These motion-activated step lights from Home Depot are an ideal option, especially if you’re searching for budget-friendly solutions, as you can get two for less than $20. Battery-operated, they cast about 35 lumens worth of illumination, extending out about 120 square feet. They also trigger on when motion is detected within about 15 feet, and according to the company, three C-cell batteries are good for a year of light.

“This gives a huge amount of light for only the cost of a copy of batteries (C), not included. It's great [as] it only stays on for a minute or so then shuts itself off (using the timer feature), but [I] love the fact that it lights up the steps, especially if there is ice or snow outside,” raved one reviewer of these 4.6-star rated picks.

Get the Mr. Beams Outdoor Motion-Activated LED Step Lights, Set of 2 at Home Depot for $18.39

9. This stylish sconce that’s super easy to install

sconce
Credit: Wayfair

This bulb is easy to switch out, which is one of it's biggest perks.

Shopping for outdoor light fixtures might seem tricky, but this sconce with a 4.8-star rating from Wayfair makes it feel a lot easier. With your choice of a black or oil-rubbed finish, this exterior light features a bell-shaped shade, which is not only stylish, but helps protect the 60-watt light bulb you’ll need to pair this with from excess moisture, which is a perk.

This package also comes with everything you’ll need to mount the sconce, and nearly 1,000 shoppers like it. One wrote: “It gives off a lot of light and brightens up my driveway (I have one on either side of [the] garage) and the front porch. Super easy to change the light bulb as opposed to having to remove a top or bottom piece to access the light bulb. Just reach right in and change it.”

Get the Birch Lane Callie Glass Outdoor Armed Sconce at Wayfair for $64.99

10. These outdoor string lights that’ll bring the disco vibes to your cookout

color lights
Credit: Amazon

Cue the dance party.

For a burst of color that’ll make your backyard feel like a private dance party, consider these outdoor string lights, which actually change colors. Available in 24-foot or 48-foot versions, these 4.8 star-rated sparklers have more than 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon from shoppers who love how they can adjust from twinkling light to a strobe effect with the push of a button.

Made with a heavy-duty cord, they’re plug-ins but are easy to install and the acrylic bulbs are impact-resistant, according to the company, so they won’t shatter easily like real glass would. “Setting static colors is easy,” noted one customer. “If you just hit the button on one of the colors the whole string lights up that color.”

Get the Enbrighten 37790 Color-Changing String Lights at Amazon from $99.50

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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