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Backyard Lighting: 4 Budget-Friendly Options for Sprucing Up Your Space

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There are a few things you’ll need to consider before purchasing backyard lighting, including the space you have, your budget, and whether or not you have any outdoor outlets! This article will outline some budget-friendly and easy ideas for sprucing up your yard, with or without electricity.

outdoor lighting ideas

1. String Lights

String lights are a classic way to illuminate a space. Available at nearly every home and garden store, these are a great way to tailor your lighting to your own backyard as strings can come in lengths as short as five feet to as long as 50+ feet! While some strings will need access to an electrical socket, a little searching can land you a pack of battery-powered or even solar lights! 

How to Install

Installing string lights is an easy process. First, you’ll need to determine the area you want to light up by your lights. A common way to hang string lights is across a patio or deck, but you can also wrap them around your roof, door frame, or even tree trunks.

Don’t worry, if you don’t have trees in your backyard, then we show you how we hung our lights in our backyard without any trees.

To install your lights across a patio, attach hooks to the sides of your roof that you want the lights to stretch across.

If using electrical lights, be sure to start your string near an outlet or extension cord. Stretch the string across while leaving a little bit of slack for that effortless draping look. To cross strings back and forth, simply use more hooks until you achieve your desired result!

If you want to decorate trees, wrap the string around the trunk tightly to keep it from slipping down. This works best if your lights are battery-operated or solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about the pesky cords being within view. If you’re wanting to avoid putting nails in the walls there are alternatives to hanging up lights without them.


String lights are likely the cheapest outdoor lighting option due to the huge variety available on the market. Your final price will depend on how many lights you purchase, whether they’re battery-operated, and if you choose any specific brands.

Luckily, it is pretty easy to find an option for whatever price range you have.

2. Solar-Powered Stakes

Another popular backyard lighting option is solar-powered stakes, often lining pathways or lawns. These are a great way to light up areas of your yard that may not be within reach of an electrical outlet.

Typically sold in sets, these stakes can easily be pushed into grass or loose dirt. The attached solar panels will soak up rays during the day and offer a nice glow after dark.

Stakes are the perfect option for wanting enough light to see where you’re walking but not too much to illuminate the entire yard.

How to Install

Solar-powered stakes are by far the easiest lighting to install in your yard. Simply choose your placement and firmly push the stake end into grass or loose dirt. If the dirt is too hard, try digging a small hole with a trowel and repacking the dirt around the base of your stake.

It’s best to use solar-powered stakes in an area that will get enough sunlight, especially if you want to use them year-round. Avoid using solar-powered lighting if you live in a particularly dark or stormy area, as you probably won’t be able to get much use out of them.


Solar-powered stakes are fairly inexpensive and typically fall between the $30 and $50 range. There are certainly cheaper options, but be sure to read reviews before purchasing to ensure the quality is up to your standards! You can always shovel out a little more if you have the room in your budget!

3. Tiki Torches

Kerosene-fueled tiki torches are one of the most fun and whimsical ways to light up your backyard without using electricity. The open-burning flame also works as a way to temporarily add light without a lengthy installation process.

These are often seen during summertime, as rain or even light winds can easily extinguish the flame, but don’t let that discourage you! Spring and summer are perfect tiki season, and their small frames can easily be stored away during the colder months.

How to Install

Tiki torches install similarly to solar-powered stakes. Whether the torch has a pointed end or footrest to push into the ground, all you need to do is add pressure into loose dirt or grass. Similarly, if the dirt is too hard, consider digging a small hole instead of forcing the torch and possibly breaking it.

Lighting a tiki torch is equally as easy. You’ll need kerosene, which can be found in many home and garden or hardware stores. Fill your torch by removing the wick and directly pouring the kerosene into the torch’s body using a funnel.

Replace and light the wick using a match or lighter. If you’re planning on storing your torches, place the snuffer cap over the wick to avoid any possible spillage in storage. If you’re wondering if you can leave tiki torches out in the rain, read our other article.


Tiki torches themselves are quite inexpensive, just like solar-powered stakes. Do some research to find which works best for your personal budget, or call your local hardware store for assistance. Individual torches can be sold for as cheap as $4 each, and sets can be purchased for $30+.

4. Security Lighting

This last option is less suited for entertaining, but great if you want to add some light to your house to see any late-night activity and discourage possible intruders. Security lights are often solar-powered and can be equipped with motion-sensor features to catch movement as it passes by. Many security lighting is also equipped with a camera.

How to Install

Installing solar-powered security lights is just as simple as any other lighting and is a matter of choosing your location and getting to work.

Any security lighting that has wiring is much more of a difficult process as you will need to wire internally, which can be tough to do from the exterior of your home. Always read instructions carefully and contact a professional if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. A light good for security our floodlights, which can find out how to install here.


Camera-less security lighting is an extremely affordable option, ranging anywhere from $20 up to hundreds of dollars. Camera-equipped security lighting is typically a little pricier and may require some extra pieces to complete your security system. It’s best to speak to a professional to ensure that your house is fully protected.

Final Thoughts

No matter your budget, space, or aesthetic, backyard lighting is an incredibly versatile way to spruce up your home while adding functionality. Each of the above options is a foolproof way to achieve your desired result, and you can even mix them throughout different areas of your yard to create a beautiful, illuminating look. 

The best way to get started is to visit your local garden store or an online retailer to pursue the options available. When in doubt, speak to a store associate! Backyard lighting doesn’t have to be a difficult task, so get out there and start illuminating!

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