17 Ways to Decorate Your Patio with String Lights Year-Round

Patio String Lights

Most folks associate string lights with holiday décor. But, outdoor string lights can add so much to the appearance of your home. No matter the time of year, these glowing babies can dress up your backyard and patio in a way that you’d never have guessed. 

Creative Ways to Dress Up Your Outdoor Space with String Lights

1. Use Them Like Fireflies

We may not have fireflies here in the Pacific Northwest, but we still love the fun look of little lights in the garden. Tuck a set of twinkle lights throughout a garden wall and let the gentle pulsing glow make you feel like summer will last forever.

2. Turn Your Backyard into a Bistro

Love the look of your favorite outdoor bistro? Bring it home with you. String bistro lights over your patio table and you won’t feel the need to spend $15 on a cocktail again.

3. Connect Your Outdoor Spaces

Want to make it clear your patio and deck aren’t Mars and Venus? Connect them visually. Use string lights to weave the spaces together. To maintain a cohesive look, make sure to use the same style of string lights throughout.

4. Create a Photo-Worthy Wall

Are you a Pinterest-loving, Facebook-posting, and Instagraming enthusiasts? Give yourself a go-to spot at home. Accent your lush garden wall with string lights.

5. Light Up a Fire Pit

Fire pits provide light and warmth. However, sometimes you want a bit more light. Overhead strings lights offer just the right amount of extra glow, without reducing the ambiance of the fire. Just be sure not to string them directly over the fire. You want to ring the outside of the fire pit so no stray sparks, flames or excess heat poses a safety issue.

6. Skip the Fire. Go Smokeless

Just want to avoid fire altogether, but still want the sultry ambiance of a glowing outdoor fire pit? String lights save the day again. This is a good place to use a battery-powered strand. You’ll want to wrap the strands around logs or other sturdy pieces and place them within your fire pit. When the sun goes down, switch those lights on and you have an instant, smoke-free ‘fire.’

Insider Tip

This can also be done without door candles and/or a combination of outdoor candles and string lights to maximize the glow.

7. Light a Chandelier

String lights are a great way to create your own outdoor chandelier. Wrap a string around a large outdoor wreath. (We like to go with one that’s pretty neutral.) Then, suspend it over your dining table so the face of the circle is facing the face of the table.

outdoor string lights

8. Frame Your Patio

Stretch string lights along the perimeter of an outdoor room to frame it. Not only does this add to the ambiance when you’re outside, but it also provides a focal point for those within your house.

9. Light Your Trees

You don’t need to worry about lighting the entire tree. In fact, simply wrapping string lights around the trunks a few feet up can create an enchanting outdoor destination. Look for a spot in your yard where several trees are clustered together, as this will provide the most dramatic effect.

10. Give Your Patio Some Stars

Love to sit under the stars? You don’t have to drive to the country or wait for an incredibly clear night. Hang string lights overhead to create an intimate glow that mimics starlight.

11. Establish Boundaries

This is particularly great if you are hosting a party and are trying to keep guests from certain areas. Hang string lights as a physical boundary that also brings a bit of beauty.

12. Illuminate a Wreath

Remember when you made your chandelier? That same principle can be used, but hung traditionally. Simply wrap the lights around your wreath and hang that baby on a door.

mason jar filled with string lights

13. Fill Vases

Skip the flowers. Fill your vases (or mason jars) with string lights to create a glowing focal point that can be placed on tabletops and throughout your garden. This is another use that lends itself well to battery operated string lights.

14. Make Balls

Want to hang your string lights, but want them to have a bit more ‘texture’? Try turning them into a ball, by either loosely wrapping them together on their own or wrapping them around a small ball. Then suspend them from overhead.

15. Add Some Color

Combine string lights with colorful flags to bring a bit of a bohemian vibe to your outdoor space.

16. Dangle it Out

Want to create a magical place that’s ultra-intimate? Use a mix of icicle string lights and regular string lights to deliver an enchanting and cozy canopy that helps draw you and your guests (or other half) closer together.

17. Create a Glowing ‘Garden’

Last, but not least, consider flower-shaped string lights. These crystal flowers come in a variety of colors and shapes, mimicking the real thing. But, they don’t fade with the season. You can enjoy them year-round!

Discover more ways to light your patio.