5 Fun, Eco-Friendly Ways to Light Up Your Backyard

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Tuohy
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Spring has sprung, and it’s time for lazy Sunday lunches eaten al fresco with your family and big backyard barbeque parties with your friends. You’ve got your patio furniture in place, a grill ready to fire up, a nice big table for eating, but what’s missing? Lighting! Make sure you can extend those lunches into the evening, and keep partying into the wee hours by kitting out your backyard with plenty of mood-enhancing, eco-friendly illumination.

The good news is that with the proliferation of solar and LED into consumer lighting, outdoor lighting has never been easier—or greener. You don’t have to run electrical wires underground or worry about changing out light bulbs in weather-sealed fixtures; solar and LED help you overcome all those traditional obstacles to lighting up your garden. The multitude of options means you can layer your lighting to match your patio furniture and create the perfect outdoor space for every occasion. Here are five solutions for fun, eco-friendly ways to light up your backyard.

Solar String Lanterns

These solar powered lanterns use LED bulbs and are the simplest, most cost-effective way to add a little illumination and decoration for a party in your backyard. Little paper lanterns hang on a string of small LED bulbs that can be strung through tree branches or draped around a patio umbrella or porch railing. Just be sure to pop the solar stake in the ground a day or two before you want some light so they will be fully charged up.

Tiki Torches

Doing double duty as a mosquito deterrent and softly flickering illumination, tiki torches deserve a permanent spot on your patio. Pick up a few of these tall Polynesian-themed torches and plant them in the ground around your garden to lend an island aesthetic to your outdoor decor. You can also get a tiki lamp or mini tiki fire pit for your patio table. Fill them up with a plant-based fuel (avoid petroleum), or make your own using olive oil mixed with 20 to 40 drops of citronella or lemongrass oil. Be sure to light the wick a few minutes before you head outdoors to enjoy a bug-free, tropically-lit space.

Fairy/Holiday Lights

Got strings and strings of LED holiday lights that you only use once a year? Instead of packing them away   in the attic, use them to decorate your porch. Fairy lights strung around the ceiling provide a gentle twinkling light and are perfect for all seasons. They’re a common sight on porches in the South year-round! Another fun option is to string the lights around tree trunks in your garden. Just plug them into outdoor-rated extension cables for delightful landscape lighting.

Solar Path Lights

Simple, inexpensive and wireless, solar-powered LED path lights give your garden patio a luxury feel without a luxury price tag. For under $60, you can light up your patio or garden with these easy-to-install light fixtures. Just place them in the ground where they will receive full sunlight, and let the sun do the rest. They illuminate automatically at sundown and turn off when the sun comes up. Plus, the rechargeable batteries and LED bulbs mean there’s nothing you’ll need to replace.

Smart Outdoor Lighting

outdoor LED rope light

Smart lighting isn’t just for indoors anymore! You can decorate your garden with outdoor-rated LED lighting that you can control with your smartphone and even change the colors depending on the season or reason for celebrating. Sylvania is one lighting company that offers outdoor-rated garden spot and strip lighting that lets you light up your deck red, white and blue for the Fourth of July, orange and purple for Halloween, or green and red for the holidays. The possibilities are endless!

Jennifer Tuohy writes on sustainable lifestyle topics for The Home Depot. Jennifer shares her knowledge on technology combined with ideas on how to live a greener life. She provides advice on topics such ashow to select a patio chair made of eco-friendly materials and using solar lighting to illuminate your patio.

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