I’m that person — the slightest twinkle in any backyard, be it from the stars, candles, fairy lights, or spotlight lamps and I am officially won over. I quite simply cannot fathom the idea of possessing (or renting) an outdoor space and NOT dressing it up with lighting. With this in mind, being tasked with the job of rounding up the very best outdoor lights came as no burden.
Outdoor lights are at once a necessity and a luxury and that’s why I believe no home is complete without them. Not only do they replicate the stars in their enchanting charm and keep guests feeling cozy and warm, but they also make your home safer and more secure. I love that feeling of flicking a switch and seeing my backyard come to life and as you’re here, I guess you do, too!
Whether you’re dealing with a huge yard, a medium-sized patio, or a tiny balcony, the rule of thumb is the same. Outdoor lights will add warmth and ambiance, highlighting the beauty of nature, no matter the hour. Oh, and speaking of nature, look out for solar-powered lights if you’re after a solution that works with the environment in every way!
Just like most outdoor decor ideas, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to outdoor lighting. Consider the size of your space, the features you want to highlight, and the reason you want them and you’re off to a great start. Then, it’s just about finding the best on the market and luckily, I’ve done that for you. So, without further ado, from festoon bulbs to stake lamps, these are the best outdoor lights around. Take your pick and get ready to transform your backyard into a hosting haven.
The best outdoor lights to spruce your space in 2023
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The best solar outdoor lights
Let your lights soak up the sunshine and transform your backyard into the place to be. The green, energy-saving alternative to traditional methods, installing solar lights in your outdoor space is a low-maintenance no-brainer!
Length (in.): 15"L x 3"W x 2"H
How gorgeous are these firefly garden lights?! Tbh, even the name is straight-up adorable but I'm delighted that the execution is 10/10. Fitted with flexible poles, the design of firefly lights allows them to wave in the wind, giving them a charmingly organic look to make them fit in flawlessly with your garden. Bend them to your liking and enjoy the 12 fast-charging LED lights that come with each one. Waterproof and durable, leave them outside all year round and enjoy!
Length (in.): 4.8"L x 3.2"W x 1.8"H
The apple of the landscape gardener's eye, these stunning stake lights will give your backyard an atmospheric glow, accentuating its features and keeping you safe. With 40 LED lamp beads glowing at all times, you can enjoy strong light mode for eight hours, medium for 15, or low light mode for 25 hours. Chargeable via solar energy or a USB charging port, you never have to worry about these running out, no matter the time of year. Oh, and these are stake lights but they also come with wall brackets, so how you want to install them in your backyard is totally up to you!
Length (in.): 3.35"L x 0.8"W x 13.6"H
Ahhhh, I know mother shouldn't have favorites but out of all the outdoor lights I've picked... these might be the best of the best — especially if you're looking for ways to give your patio some pizzazz. I am just obsessed with that beautiful medallion pattern that the light casts on the floor. Such a simple way to add intrigue to any space, no matter how dull. Plus, these are super lightweight, being made from plastic, so they're perfect if you're decorating a rental!
The best string outdoor lights
I’m all about the whimsical, fairytale aesthetic and there’s no easier way to achieve this than by adding hanging lighting to your outdoor space. Give your backyard or balcony a touch of magic with these string lights.
Length (in.): 578
I am head over heels in love with festoon lights. Genuinely, you can have the most mid backyard... but if I see these bad boys? You've won me over. 100% success rate when it comes to eliciting the response “ahhhhh your garden is so beautiful” and deservedly so. These lights are the perfect choice if you're decorating your backyard for an al fresco dinner party or just to give your balcony terrace that little bit of je ne sais quoi. Plus, this model of festoon lights is commercial-grade weatherproof, with a rubberized, flexible, heavy-duty cord!
Length (in.): 108
Cute, cute, cute, and cute is all I have to say about these adorable string lights from Target. If you're leaning into your main character era, you're going to need some colorful, incandescent fairy lights. Period. These will, put simply, make every evening feel like a special occasion and make your backyard a hosting haven. What makes these string lights particularly enchanting is the iridescent reflectors which give off a glorious, glittering effect. These are selling out fast, so if you want them, put them in your basket ASAP!
Length (in.): 944
If your outdoor space consists of a pergola, balcony banister, or branchy trees, these whimsical, string fairy lights are a must. Extremely cute, super easy to style, and will never go out of style, these are a steal from Walmart. Plus, 2 come in each pack, with 240 super bright led bulbs and they feature eight different lighting modes! Oh, and it has a built-in photoelectric sensor meaning it will charge during the day (even in rain) and automatically light up at dusk.
The best outdoor LED lights
The best outdoor lights are often LEDs. Durability, flexibility, and a brighter shine make these deserving of consideration for your backyard (plus, you can find string, solar, and LED garden lights — win, win, win!)
Length (in.): 4" X 4.5" X 10.4"
These LED floodlights were the solution to my late-night anxiety. With a strong, built-in motion sensor that can detect movement up to 30 feet away, as well as a photocell sensor, you can rest easy. The batteries on these things are fab, lasting 180 days with up to 40 triggers per day. After 20 seconds of inactivity, the light will turn itself off and they are totally waterproof and all-weather resistant.
Length (in.): 468
These rope lights are cute as heck and will light up your life no matter where you put them! I'm obsessed with them wrapped around a tree trunk, but equally think they'd look gorgeous lining a pathway or highlighting a fence. Flexibility and a range of eight different lighting settings make these solar ropes a winner, plus they use low-heat-emission LED chips, making them durable and safe to use. My fave thing about these is that when it's dark, you can barely see the clear tube, making the effect even more magical!
Length (in.): 37.8
Power: Solar, Battery
Baby, you need firework lights!! Honestly, this is the quickest way to add some wow factor to your backyard and I'm not mad at it. Unique and fun, these solar outdoor lights are a sure way to make a statement on even the plainest patio or balcony. Simply insert the lights stake and turn on the switch to get these started.
What are the benefits of adding outdoor lights to your backyard?
I asked the experts this question and got answers that covered all bases, taking into account everything from making your backyard look gorg to protecting your home from raccoons (lol, bet you didn't think of that!).
"By illuminating your outdoor space, you extend its usability beyond daylight hours," explains Alex Tinsman, founder of howtohouseplant.com. "Whether you're engaging in activities, hosting gatherings, or simply unwinding, the presence of outdoor lighting allows you to enjoy your garden's ambiance even in the evening."
"Enhancing the aesthetics of your garden is another advantage of outdoor lighting. Thoughtfully placed lights add depth, accentuate architectural features, and contribute to an enchanting ambiance, transforming your outdoor space into a visually captivating haven."
Speaking to expert and owner of biggergarden.com, Brock Ingham, he also points out the safety element of outdoor lights, weighing in on the benefits to pet owners (warding off intruders of the furry variety): "When most people think about landscape lighting they often focus on the ambiance and miss the little added benefits that make something like letting your dogs out at night a worry-free experience." explains Brock.
Where to buy outdoor lights?
Here's where to continue your search for cute outdoor lights.
- Amazon outdoor lights
- Home Depot outdoor lights
- Lowe's outdoor lights
- Walmart outdoor lights
- Wayfair outdoor lights
How we chose these outdoor lights
The outdoor lights on this list were selected to be featured based on their amazing customer reviews. Yes, we only included products that shoppers rate more than four stars. This way, you know what you're buying is quality, and this comes from a rather good source. We also considered other factors such as price, power, and how easy these lights are to make work — they all have a long enough chord to illuminate your patio, that's for sure!