Outdoor string lights are easily the simplest way to make your outdoor area more appealing in the evening. Hang them over your porch, wrap them around a tree, or decorate you whole house with them come Christmas time – the possibilities are endless, as are string light designs. We've chosen our top picks based on their visual attractiveness, ease of use, and any nice extra features such as linkable strings and smartphone control.
Want some festive ideas for indoor lighting? Check out our Christmas fairy lights ideas.
These globe-shaped lights will suit literally any patio, porch, or any other outdoor area you'd like cheering up in the evenings. The classic round shape will look equally nice in a contemporary or traditional-style garden, and the bulbs produce a bright, warm glow – plenty of light on even a very dark evening. What we really like about these is the opportunity to link up four strings together to form a string of 100 lights. The packaging they come in is a bit plain, so if you're buying as a gift, you'll need wrapping paper.
These traditional style, Edison bulb string lights produce the most beautiful amber glow – perfect for creating a more atmospheric outdoor lighting style. Despite looking retro, these benefit from high-grade insulation that make them resistant to rain, wind, snow, hot sun, and just about anything the weather may throw at you. You can also buy a dimmer switch for these to experiment with different brightness levels. We do wish these were LED, but for incandescent bulbs, these are relatively low energy.
If it's fairy lights you're after, you can't go wrong with these pretty LEDs; they're mounted onto a clear string, which makes them blend in with whatever you'll be mounting them onto. They come with a battery pack that has a timer function and multiple light frequencies for you to have fun with. The battery pack itself is a bit clunky, but can easily be hidden behind a plant pot.
If you want to take your festive lighting to the next level, look no further than Twinkly. The revolutionary string lights have bluetooth connectivity and can be controlled from an app on your smartphone, creating endless possibilities for multi-colored lighting display. These aren't cheap, but the effects are so pretty that they are worth it. Also, bear in mind that not all Twinkly lights are suitable for outdoors.
These bright and colorful lights can be used at any time of year and in any outdoor setting – wrap them around your Christmas tree in winter, or use them to accent beautiful foliage in summer. The faceted, crystal-glass effect bulbs are very nice, and they're solar powered, which means they won't cost you anything to operate. They are a bit small, though, so you may need to get more than one string.