How to Make your Backyard Special with Outdoor Lighting

Learn how to update your backyard with outdoor lighting

Welcome back to The Design Twins blog! In case you are new here, we are Jodie and Julie. We love to share our homes and our decorating & DIY projects. We’re so glad you’re here. We’re especially excited to share this backyard project with you. You’ve probably seen the swoon-worthy photos all over Pinterest and Instagram showing beautiful backyard string light displays. We are taking this project head-on. We’ll show you how I created this DIY project very simply in my Seattle backyard. We’ll also answer all your outdoor lighting questions to help you create your own one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces. 

beautiful outdoor patio setting with string lights and dining table

Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart

Julie and I and part of The Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart Influencer Network. We love representing a brand that provides quality style at affordable prices. We are compensated for our efforts in creating this post. Our convenient shopping links add no additional cost to you. All our opinions are authentically our own, and as always, we hope you enjoy. There are a lot more ideas available from the talented BHG Live Better Influencer Network.

outdoor dining table with string lights overhead

A few years ago Jodie transformed her backyard with her string light DIY project. But my backyard was still in the dark.

Some of the reasons I still didn’t have any outdoor lighting:

    1. I don’t have a handy hubby to help me.
    2. I didn’t want to get my hands dirty with cement.
    3. And I really wanted my lights to be easy, inexpensive, movable and potentially temporary.
    4. Plus, I wanted to have the option of taking them down easily during the winter if I chose to.


My Outdoor String Light Display

There are a lot of DIY string light projects on Pinterest. I watched Jodie and husband Bill create an innovative pipe-barrel planter solution. I saw a lot of cement pouring and pole staining. Honestly, I didn’t want any of those projects.

Simplicity was my ultimate goal. So I brainstormed and looked at what I had. I’m so excited to share my very simple solution with you.

Supplies for Outdoor Lighting:

Edison bulb string lights from Better Homes & Gardens brand available exclusively at Walmart – (2)

Black metal outdoor poles (meant to stick in the ground) – (2)

Umbrella stands (which I already owned) – (2)

Box of screw hooks 

Outdoor extension cords – (2)

Simple How-To Hang Outdoor Lighting

      1. First, I measured the distances for where I wanted to hang my lights. This helped me determine how many sets of lights I needed.
      2. Next, I set up my poles. They came in 2 pieces. But I didn’t use the bottom piece because I wasn’t putting into the ground. I tried the ground first but honestly there is very little hope of them staying straight just in the dirt.
      3. I had 2 umbrella holders that were not in use. So, my brilliant idea was to repurpose these. The black poles I used fit nicely into the umbrella holders. When I tightened the screws, they became straight and secure. Hallelujah! You should have seen the happy dancing at this point!
      4. I actually tied the ends of the strands to the tops of the pole rings to secure.
      5. I crossed the strands in a simple “X” over our dining table.
      6. Next, I screwed hooks into the eaves of the house to connect the strands to the house.
      7. I added 2 extra screw hooks to hold the strands all the way to the electrical outlet by the outdoor kitchen. 
      8. Finally, I connected 2 outdoor (waterproof) extension cords to each strand and plugged them in. 

backyard lighting creates festive ambiance for outdoor dining

What are the Benefits of Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor lighting has the ability to transform any space.

Outdoor lighting can…

… add drama.

… create a relaxing ambiance.

… help define a space.

… make an outdoor space functional after dark.

… be relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

What are Some Different Types of Outdoor Lighting?

      • Candles
      • LED Pathway lighting
      • Lanterns
      • String Lights

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Frequently Asked Outdoor Lighting Questions:

How Do You Choose Your Outdoor Lighting?

When beginning to shop for your outdoor lighting, it’s important to think about function and style.

Function:  Ask yourself these questions:

      1. How much light do you need?
      2. What is your budget?
      3. Do you have enough sun to use solar lighting?
      4. What areas do you want illuminated?
      5. Do you want lights for ambiance, or do you want them for added security? Maybe added safety? 

Style:  Do you want a more rustic farmhouse look, or do you want a modern, glam look? It depends on the style of your outdoor decor and the look you want to achieve. There are different styles of bulbs to choose from, like globe lights, Edison bulbs, plastic bulbs etc.


outdoor dining table with overhead string lights adds the perfect amount of mood lighting

Where Do You Buy Outdoor String Lights?

Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart is a great place to shop for budget-friendly lights that will last.

They have so many cute outdoor lighting styles to choose from:

      • Edison lights
      • Globe lights
      • Mercury glass lights
      • LED lights (energy efficient)

The list goes on. Be sure to head to the Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart to shop their amazing selection of outdoor lighting.

take your backyard space to the next level with outdoor lighting

How Do You Hang Outdoor String Lights?

There are endless options for hanging outdoor string lights.

      • Try creating a DIY barrel planter to hang your lights like Jodie did.
      • Or you could try using cement to secure your poles like our friend Janine from did.
      • You can also use an umbrella stand like I did.
      • Note: If your bulbs are glass, you’ll need to remove the bulbs before hanging them so they don’t break if they fall. I absolutely loved the fact that my lights from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart were plastic. Hanging our lights above a stone patio and a metal table we would have broken many bulbs if they hadn’t been plastic. Who wants to have to take out all the bulbs and put them all back in after your strand is hung? 

green Seattle backyard with daybed and outdoor string lights

How do you mount string lights on to stucco walls?

There are specific wall mounts (clips) for hanging on stucco. Drilling is usually required to mount onto stucco walls. However, follow these instructions to safely mount onto stucco walls without drilling.

How can you hang outdoor lights from brick walls?

For hanging lights on brick, you can use a hot glue gun to secure them to the wall. For more ways to secure anything to brick walls check out this helpful blog post.

Can you hang outdoor lights from trees?

Sure. If you choose to use trees to anchor your string lights, however, keep in mind the growth rate of the tree(s) you choose. You can also wrap outdoor string lights around trees or pillars if you have them.

For more tips on how to hang your outdoor lighting, read April’s blog post from Love Our Real Life.

luscious green backyard with string lights and dining table

My Favorite Outdoor Decor Updates

Did you see my amazing outdoor daybed? I shared all about my family’s love affair with this daybed in our last post.

I also am smitten with this collection of outdoor lanterns. They are sturdy enough for outdoor, but I have also loved them inside my home. They are also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart.

You can put any kind of candle inside. I love using faux candles for convenience.


Can outdoor lighting be used indoors?

Good news: Yes, outdoor lighting can be used indoors as well. They are super versatile. If you decide to move the lights indoors during the colder months, you can definitely do that. You can even have lights both indoors and outdoors.


two wicker chairs and table over striped black and white outdoor rug facing green lawn

Are all string lights waterproof?

Yes, you can purchase specific waterproof outdoor lights. But make sure to check before purchasing if they are in fact waterproof. Some are also classified as “weatherproof” which means they are better in harsh weather or when exposed to the elements.

My Edison lights from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart are weatherproof and shatter proof plastic. These are the ones I recommend.

Can you shorten outdoor string lights?

Yes, you can. But there is a very specific way to do so. Read this article for detailed instructions on how to shorten string lights.

green Seattle backyard with daybed and outdoor string lights

Can you cut outdoor lights?

You can, but you shouldn’t attempt to cut a series of wired lights without knowing how it’s wired. Do your research before cutting into the actual wire just to be safe.

Can you dim outdoor lights?

You can only use dimmers on incandescent lights with an outdoor rated dimmer, however LED lights cannot be dimmed.

Can you paint outdoor lights?

Yes, you can spray paint lights with metallic paint to give them an updated look. Be sure to take the light bulbs out beforehand and lay down a drop cloth to avoid a mess. Lay the lights flat on the drop cloth and spray one side and let dry for 30 minutes. Then, you can flip them over and paint the other side.

outdoor seating with wicker chairs and white cushions

More Spring Backyard Updates

Since I am already updating my backyard with new outdoor lighting, I decided to spruce up the space for spring and summer ahead.

I purchased a few staple décor items from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. Jodie and I absolutely love shopping here because they have the best prices and selection of stylish patio decor.

This all-weather wicker 3-piece patio set caught my eye, and just I couldn’t resist. I love the look and feel of this set. It’s casual yet luxurious. It also comes complete with a seasonal cover. This is great, especially in Seattle. There is no season safe from plenty of rain. I can also picture this set looking great inside as well.

I chose this on-trend black and white wide-stripe rug to give my patio a fresh new look. Adding a rug to any space helps define the space and give it a finished look.


woven chairs with side table facing golf course

striped rug and two wicker chairs from better homes & gardens at walmartRefreshing Spring Drink Recipe

When I sit outside in the afternoon, I love being able to sip on a refreshing drink, especially in the spring and summer months. It’s such a nice treat. I decided to make this delicious homemade iced peach tea.

This recipe is super simple and easy to make. I can totally imagine sipping this on my patio on a sunny day. I’m so excited to use this white pitcher from Better Homes & Gardens to serve the drink to my family members, along with these cute floral cups.

Iced Peach Iced Tea Recipe


      • 3 bags of black tea
      • 6 cups of hot water
      • 4 peaches
      • 4 tbsp honey
      • 3 cups of ice


      1. Pour 6 cups of hot water into a large pitcher.
      2. Peel and pit peaches and cut into eight slices.
      3. Add peaches to hot water
      4. Submerge tea bags in water.
      5. Add honey to water.
      6. Pour ice into water.
      7. Let steep for 5-10 minutes.
      8. Place in fridge for 10-20 minutes to chill.
      9. Serve when cold (add more ice if necessary).

outdoor seating makes the perfect addition to your backyard decor

Time to Transform Your Backyard

We hope you enjoyed this post and learned a little something about how to beautify your outdoor space with lighting. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you found this post helpful and what your next outdoor lighting projects are! With spring practically upon us, now is the perfect time to get your outdoor space ready for spending more time outside. I can’t believe how the simple addition of outdoor string lights really transformed my backyard.

We can’t wait to see your finished projects! Make sure to tag us on Instagram if you decide to experiment with outdoor lighting. And don’t forget to shop Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart for all your outdoor lighting and patio decor updates this year.

Happy Spring and Happy Decorating!

jodie & julie

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How to Make Your Backyard Special with Outdoor Lighting
Article Name
How to Make Your Backyard Special with Outdoor Lighting
Have you always wanted to transform your outdoor space? We'll show you how to make your backyard special with outdoor lighting on a budget.
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The Design Twins
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  1. Brenda says:

    Thank you for talking about this as it has me thinking. I am considering using solar hanging lights. Walmart has nice options for outdoor living and reasonable!

    • jjdesigntwins says:


      You are so welcome! We are always amazed at what a dramatic difference lighting makes, both inside and out! And for such an affordable price string lights are such a fun way to make your outdoor space more festive and useful (by adding functional light as well as decorative light). Walmart has tons of options so we’re sure you’ll find exactly what you are looking for.

      Thanks for visiting our blog post and for your feedback!

      Blessings and love,

      Jodie & Julie

  2. Judy says:

    where are the pictures showing the umbrella stand with the poles? Need to see up close. Thanks

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Judy,
      The reason why I don’t have close-ups of the umbrella stand and the poles is that this post was sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart. I wanted to focus on the products available from them and not the poles, which came from Amazon and the umbrella stands, which I owned. But honestly, it’s super simple. I just took 2 random umbrella stands I already owned and put the poles into them and tightened the tightening screws (like there was an umbrella inside). Nothing more than that. Don’t you love an easy project? Hope that helps, Julie & Jodie

  3. […] thing you can do is add lighting to your backyard to distinguish your yard from your neighbors. You can string light bulbs from an arbor or from your […]

  4. Sharon LaMountain says:

    Hello girls,
    I love and adore everything you do. I myself like to decorate so I enjoy receiving these emails.
    My question is not a decorating one.
    I simply love the tree that is barren in your front yard and it almost looks white. It is gorgeous!
    Do you happen to remember the name of it?????
    My husband and I are planning on planting a tree so if you happen to remember could you please
    forward me the name. I look forward to hearing from you.

  5. Happy Hiller says:

    Thank you for sharing! I like exterior lighting. Besides all the benefits you’ve listed above, it also adds security to a home. A dark home is an attractive target for potential burglars. And landscape lighting is a great deterrent to thieves who thrive under the cover of darkness.
    As for lights themselves, I recommend give preference to LEDs. LED bulbs are 90% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs and also last 25 times longer.

  6. Robin Williams says:

    I have read your post, it’s very informative and helpful too for readers, I am going to share it with my friends. I Got the latest collection of <outdoor lights. Landscape Lighting enhanced the appearance, safety and security of my home and garden.

  7. Carol D’Adamo says:

    Can you send me a link for the poles?
    I would love to try this . Looks great!

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