DIY Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Published on | Log Homes |Josh Horner

Funky and Fun!

Ok, you want to add some lighting ambiance to your patio, deck or porch—no problem! In fact, these ideas require absolutely no electrical knowledge but only a desire to put together some inventive lighting ideas that will leave your friends and family saying: “I LOVE what you’ve done—this is amazing!”

If ease, functionality and fun are the requisites of any of your DIY lighting-project ideas, then sit back for a few moments and get ready to become inspired!

1: LED Solar Lighting ~

It doesn’t get any easier than this! This LED solar lighting idea doesn’t require any putting-together of anything other than drilling size-appropriate solar spot-lights along the sides of your deck stairs! If the steps on your deck need lighting to become not only more safe but more inviting, this idea fits the bill.

LED lights of this type will fully charge during daylight hours, with ample sunlight. They will offer up to 10 hours of a continuous glow, adding a warm ambiance for family and friends. You can expect up to 10,000 hours of reliable performance from these robust little guys!

*** What You Will Do:

Simply use the included screws with each light and drill each light into the areas you have chosen. Allow at least 8 hours of sunlight to penetrate the solar panels to completely charge the battery in each fixture. You will love the feeling of warmth you will have created!

2: Adorable Doilies ~

Ladies, you will be envied once your friends realize you created these darling, doily lighting “fixtures” that can be placed on outside end-tables, coffee-tables or eating areas to add touches of soft, mood-enhancing light. The sun has gone down and the grilled food was superb; now it’s time to just sit back and relax and enjoy some good conversation among friends. These doily-bowl lights will turn any dark nook or cranny into an inviting, beckoning space.

You will want to purchase as many 12” doilies as you feel you will need to add adequate, soft lighting and at least the same number of tea-lights or double that amount—you will place one or two battery-operated tea-lights inside each doily fixture when they are ready to be displayed in all their glory.

*** What You Will Do:

Thoroughly soak each doily in liquid starch and gently squeeze out the excess starch from each piece. Be sure not to twist the soaked doilies since this will distort the delicate material. Place each doily over its own inverted glass bowl covered with wax paper. Allow at least 24 hours for each doily to completely dry. Once each doily is completely dry to the touch, remove it from the bowl and remove the wax paper. Your doily bowls will look stunning! As mentioned, you will place one or two battery-operated tea-lights in each bowl and you and your company will be mesmerized by the flickering lights as they dance through the crocheted openings!

3: Orbs in the Night ~

If you truly want to impress the crowd, this idea will have people scratching their heads while they ask, out loud: “How in the world did you do this?” You can keep them guessing and all you need are at least 6 pair of women’s white, nylon stockings or the leggings cut from pairs of white panty-hose. You will need a white water balloon and one glow-stick for every stocking.

*** What You Will Do:

You won’t believe how cool this will look once you are done! Simply fill each water-balloon with water and drop an activated glow-stick into the water and secure, tightly. This will be the glowing orb that will be positioned into the bottom of a single stocking.   Once all stockings are filled, hang the stockings from tree limbs, trellises or other open-spaced areas so the hanging orbs can be positioned fairly close to one another (about 2 or 3 feet apart) and hang them at various lengths to provide a striking, uneven look. When placed as a grouping such as this, the hanging lights will turn your backyard into the most uniquely-lit home on the block! These orbs of light can, also, be used in a swimming pool at night (minus the stockings). The balloons with their ‘magical’ interior lights will float on, and illuminate, the water’s surface and provide an intriguing vibe!

4: Cookie-Tin Collage ~

This super-cute idea uses at least six cookie-tins that are a minimum of 12” in diameter, and a candle tea-light for each tin. And since real candle tea-lights are used, make sure the cookie-tins remain out-of-reach of curious little hands. This quaint project will add a soft glow to any area as long as you have a wall-space where the tins can be attached.

*** What You Will Do:

Screw the center of the interior bottom of each tin into an empty wall that might be a part of your patio area, for example—a wall that is craving some attention! The tins should be positioned about a foot apart from one another in any array you desire. Place a lit tea-light on the bottom ledge of each tin and enjoy the feeling of relaxation these little lit canisters will exude! A cool alternative to cookie tins would be lightweight tin buckets that are often available, very cheaply, at 2nd-hand stores!

5: Distinctive Lamp-posts ~

This eye-catching project will require 3 regular fence-posts, 6 outdoor solar lights--the type that border flower beds and sidewalks, etc. You will, also, need a drill and some extra-long screws. By utilizing fence posts that will be topped with solar lights, you will create a project that would look dynamic on a front porch, in a rock garden or on a deck or patio!

*** What You Will Do:

The three fence posts will be cut into 2 pieces each, at varying lengths. All 6 posts will be grouped together with the shortest posts at the front, the middle-length posts in the center area and the longest posts in the back. The posts can be cut at the building-supply store where they were purchased.

You will need a block of wood that can be positioned in the center so all the posts can be attached to it or attached to other posts that will be attached to the block. The middle block of wood will not only serve to keep the posts secure, but it will aid in the stabilization of the finished project.

The tops of all 6 posts will have a drilled hole that will comfortably, yet snugly, accommodate the ‘stem’ of each solar light. Each stem should be shoved at least half-way down into the drilled opening.

You can stain, paint or whitewash the posts or leave them untouched. Once completed, you will have created a piece of rustic décor` you can place anywhere outside your home to add charm and appeal!

There are countless ways you can add an off-the-beat feel to your home’s outside surroundings by utilizing DIY lighting projects that are surprisingly inexpensive and eye-catchingly unique! And the best part is you’ll have a-lot of fun in the process and feel a huge dose of self-satisfaction when you’re done and the complements start to flow!

This interesting idea is so neat; and is one you’ve probably never seen! To turn a darker corner into a cozy, softly-lit nook, all you’ll need is 3 fence posts, 6 solar outdoor lights, a drill and extra-long screws.

*** What You Will Do: The three fence posts will be cut into two pieces, at varying lengths—they will be placed together as a grouping with irregular heights. The shorter-cut posts will be positioned in the front while the taller posts will be positioned in the back. The home-supply store where you can purchase fence posts can saw the posts for you.

The posts will surround a block of wood in the middle of the arrangement so they can be screwed into that block which will allow all the posts to attach to the centralized ‘stand’. The top of each post will have a drilled opening to accommodate the stem of each solar light; and each solar light stem should be allowed to be positioned at least half-way down into the drilled opening to ensure that each light is securely situated.

The fence posts can be stained, painted or remain completely untouched, depending on the look you desire. Voile`--once you have all the necessary materials, this project can be completed within a few hours and once done, will add a charming, unique and rustic, addition to any outside area of your home!

2: Cookie-Tin Tea Lights ~

This is truly a darling idea, especially if you are into a more country feel. This project would be one that you would want in your patio area during times when supervision is continual since lit tea-lights are involved. This is a wonderful way to add soft lighting to a specific area whenever you might have guests invited over. All you’ll need are at least six, 12”-diameter cookie tins or larger, 3” screws, a drill and a tea-light for each can.

*** What You Will Do:

With a single screw, the cookie tins can be mounted onto a wall about a foot apart from one another with the concave sides facing outward. Each screw will be positioned about 3” up from the interior center of each can. Place a tea-light inside the bottom ledge of each tin and light. The soft flickering lighting will provide an inviting, dancing glow to a wall and the surrounding area! Make sure, however, that the tins are positioned high enough to avoid little hands touching them while they are lit.

An alternative to cookie-tins would be small, lightweight tin buckets that are often found in 2nd-hand stores in various shapes and sizes for about a dollar a piece!

3: Glowing Orbs~

This project will garner attention from everyone; and people will ask in astonishment: “How in the world did you do that??!” All you will need are at least a dozen single white stockings--as in women’s nylon stockings. If single stockings are hard to find, simply cut the leggings from panty hose. You will, also, need the same number of white water balloons and glow-sticks as stockings.

*** What You Will Do:

This is so incredibly easy! First off, fill the water balloons with water and drop a glow-stick in each balloon and tie snugly—you have just created the glowing orbs. Place one glowing orb in the bottom of each stocking. Tie the tops of the stockings from tree branches or from an overhead trellis, etc. making sure you hang the stockings at various lengths to provide a dramatic, uneven appearance. Additionally, hang the stocking/lights close enough to each other (about 2 or 3 feet apart) to create what will appear to be a cluster of glowing embers.

These hanging orbs will provide a delightful amount of light for hours; and your family and friends (and neighbors!) will remain astonished as to how you crafted these truly unique balls of light! And one more thing: You can forgo the stockings and place glow-sticks in balloons and float them in your pool water to add a dreamy, romantic ambiance!

4: Darling Doilies~

Let’s assume you will have outside tables on your deck or patio you will want lit for your company once the sun goes down. Dinner will be over and you and your friends will just want to kick back and relax. Ladies, your gal-pals will be envious of your creativity when they see how you were able to craft doilies with lights! You will need enough cloth doilies as you deem necessary to light any given patio table and/or end tables. The doilies should be a minimum of 12” in diameter.  

You will need liquid starch and a single rounded-bottom bowl for each doily light you intend to make; and you will also need the same number of tea-lights as doilies.

*** What You Will Do:

Soak doilies in starch and gently press out excess starch without twisting doily material and place doily over an inverted glass bowl covered in wax paper. Each doily formation will take at least 24 hours to dry (or more) so plan accordingly. Remove the wax paper and each stiffened doily bowl will receive a battery-operated tea-light that can provide many hours of a continuous, flickering glimmer!

5: LED Solar-Powered Spot Lights~

If lighting up the stairway of your deck is something you’ve been meaning to do, you’ll be happy to know solar spot-lights are available that are designed to simply screw into the side areas of each stair to provide a cozy appeal not to mention a safer area to climb and walk, especially for children! This is an ideal lighting solution for locations that do not have access to a traditional electrical source. LEDs can last up to 100,000 hours; and if fully charged during the daylight hours, you can receive a generous 10 hours of night-light time!

*** What You Will Do:

It doesn’t get much easier than this: simply drill each light into the areas you have chosen, using the included mounting screws; and allow at least 8 hours of sunlight to bombard each solar panel to fully charge the battery of each light. Your deck stairway or other chosen area will exude a feeling of warmth and beckoning!

There are countless ways you can create an inviting feel to any outside area of your home by incorporating inexpensive and even ingenious ideas to set your home apart from the rest. Whether it’s your garden, your front porch, your patio or your deck, adding personality to those areas with interesting lighting effects is fun and rewarding; and you’ll love the ambiance you