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Backyard Lighting Ideas: Best Ways to Light a Backyard for a Party

March 22, 2023
Friends enjoying outdoor dining in a backyard with string lights

Hosting a backyard party is a great way to celebrate special occasions or simply enjoy a warm summer evening with friends and family. However, when the sun sets, the proper lighting can make all the difference in creating a welcoming and memorable atmosphere.

There are endless options for lighting your backyard party, from string lights to lanterns. Let’s explore some creative (and practical!) backyard lighting ideas to help you transform your yard into the perfect party venue and an unforgettable experience.

Outdoor living area with lanterns and string lights

String lights

String lights are one of the most popular choices for backyard lighting, and they come in various shapes and sizes. You can hang them from trees, pergolas, or other structures to create a warm and inviting ambiance. Choose battery-operated or solar-powered outdoor string lights to avoid running extension cords everywhere.


Paper or fabric lanterns can add color and style to your backyard party. You can hang them from trees or place them on tables to provide a soft glow. Portable lanterns can be placed throughout the yard to offer a little extra light to darker corners or walkways.


Candles are a classic way to add ambiance to any party. You can use them in votive holders, lanterns, or candlesticks to create a romantic and cozy atmosphere. Just be sure they’re properly secured and away from the reach of kids, so there aren’t any accidents.

Fire pit

If you have a fire pit in your backyard, it can be a great focal point for your party. You can roast marshmallows and make s'mores while enjoying the warmth and light of the fire. If you don’t enjoy the smoke smell, go with a smoke-free fire pit so your guests have a more comfortable atmosphere where they can relax.


If you want to highlight specific areas of your backyard, such as a garden or a fountain, you can use spotlights to create a dramatic effect. You can also highlight key architectural features of your home while still illuminating your backyard: Accentuate arches, columns, gabled roofs, and balconies to showcase your house’s style. Just be sure the light won’t shine in a window where you’re trying to sleep.

Tiki torches

Tiki torches can add a tropical vibe to your backyard party. You can place them around the perimeter of your party area or use them to line a pathway. Added bonus? If you use them with citronella, you’ll keep away mosquitoes and other nighttime pests.

Solar lights

Solar lights are a convenient and eco-friendly way to light your backyard. They come in various styles and can be placed strategically to provide a subtle glow. Try adding a solar pendant light above your outdoor dining table to make a dramatic statement.

Outdoor wedding setup with string lights and lanterns

If you’re looking to host a more formal event like a wedding, you can elevate your everyday backyard lighting to better suit the occasion. The lighting design for a backyard wedding should be tailored to create a magical atmosphere that enhances the beauty of the outdoor setting.

Tips for Setting the Right Backyard Ambience

Use warm, soft lighting

Soft lighting can create a romantic and intimate atmosphere, which is perfect for a wedding. Consider using warm-colored string lights, lanterns, or candles to create a cozy and inviting ambiance.

Highlight the focal points

If you have specific areas in your backyard that are important to your wedding, such as an altar or a dance floor, you can use spotlights to highlight them. This will draw attention to the focal points and create a dramatic effect.

Showcase the natural elements

Incorporating natural elements such as trees, plants, and flowers into your lighting design can add a magical touch to your wedding. For example, you could wrap string lights around trees or place candles in the midst of flower arrangements.

Pay attention to safety

While lighting is important for creating a beautiful atmosphere, safety should also be a priority. Make sure all cords are secured and out of the way and that all candles are in sturdy holders.

Group of friends around an outdoor fire pit at sunset enjoying wine and beer

Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard party, or a more formal affair such as a wedding, having the right outdoor lighting can make it feel more intimate. Being in a natural setting can create a sense of calm and relaxation, fostering intimacy and connection among guests ensuring a memorable night for everyone. Use the backyard lighting ideas above to take your backyard to the next level.

Be sure to check out the Brookfield Residential blog for more design advice, homebuying insights, mortgage tips, and more, including how to landscape your new home or tips for outdoor entertaining. You can also explore where we build and connect with our sales team when you’re ready to learn more. We’ll be expecting you!