Top 40 Best Patio String Light Ideas – Outdoor Lighting Designs
Summer is a time for coaxing magic out of the otherwise mundane, and indulging in a bit of whimsical ambiance.
With those long, balmy evenings and the emergence of friends eager to open a bottle under the stars, the outdoor patio is no doubt your likely destination.
And what better way to bestow that aforementioned magic than patio lighting fit for an endless summer of splendor?
For all their simplicity and relatively budget-friendly accessibility, string lights are the designer’s go-to, if not the #1 mainstay in their style arsenal. These subtle stringed embellishments can transform any space in an instant, casting a spell of irresistible allure from their heavenly perch.
Best of all, there is every kind of imaginable style of string light, from bobbing Chinese lanterns to Edison bulbs; lantern or caged globe, simple or unabashedly decadent, the lights you string above your patio represent your summer soul. This is a man who knows how to entertain, as well as bask in the solitary glow of his star-strung constellations.
Longer days and warmer nights call for a certain kind of free-spirited calm. Summer is when the rhythm of the world slows down, and delights in the joys winter so cruelly deprives us of.
A dazzling display of these top 40 best patio string light ideas drop the firefly curtain down on your own Midsummer Night’s Dream, a veil that won’t soon be lifted until the first winds of an autumn blow–and perhaps not even then.
1. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Under Pergolas
You’ve constructed this beautiful pergola to provide you with shade and comfort while enjoying your patio or backyard during the summer. But the party doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down. Your pergola provides you with the perfect structure for hanging string lights. This will double your use and enjoyment of your covered patio space.
Start by deciding where you want to hang your lights. If your pergola is a separate structure from your home, then you could string lights from the pergola to your roof. This will illuminate the patio or yard between the two structures. That way, you won’t have to stumble through the dark to get from one to the other.
You can also string them from the pergola to illuminate the space it covers. You could go for a minimal look by only having a few strands that follow the main beams of your pergola. Or you could string them around the outside edge for an all-over glow. If you love light, don’t be afraid to string them all over the place and crisscross your strings of lights.
The number of strings and bulbs you use will depend on the brightness of the bulbs and how much light you want to create.
2. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Around Fire Pits
Fire pits are a great yard feature to gather around with friends or share a romantic moment with your loved one. There’s just one problem: A fire pit doesn’t create a lot of light. The only area illuminated is the space directly around the fire pit. You’ll need to sit very near the fire pit to be illuminated. This can leave you and your company sitting in the dark.
Hanging string lights around the fire pit area can provide the additional lighting you need to make the space functional. This will allow you to enjoy the fire pit without having to sit on top of it. You can also use the string lights to define the space so that you have a room effect.
To hang your string lights, you’ll need to place poles around the perimeter of your fire pit area. You can either use a post hole digger to drop them directly into the ground, or you can use large planters to bury the poles with concrete. You need to use substantially sized posts so that they won’t tip or lean. They also need to be tall enough that you can walk under the string lights once they’re hung.
String the lights from post to post to create a perimeter of soft glowing light. You could also crisscross them across the fire pit area. Be careful with this; you don’t want the heat from your firepit to melt the lights above.
3. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Porches
If your porch has a solid roof, then it probably already has some form of lighting installed. The problem is this light doesn’t illuminate your entire porch. Or maybe it creates a harsh bright light. Give yourself another option with string lights.
String your lights back and forth across the shorter width of your porch. Make several rows until you’ve covered the length of the porch. You can do them throughout the entire porch roof to illuminate the entire space. You could only do a portion where you plan to hang out at night.
If your porch is narrow enough, you only have to attach them on the sides. This will give your light a droop effect. If you prefer them to be straight, you’ll need to secure them throughout the length of the light string. This will keep all of the bulbs tight against the underside of your roof.
If your porch roof is vaulted, then you may need to use support cabling. Mount the metal cables first, and then string the lights to the cables. You’ll do this at the base of the roof to create a false ceiling with the lights while retaining the vaulted ceiling above them for enjoyment during the day.
4. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Yards and Open Spaces
You have a big open yard that’s perfect for spending time in. Maybe you have a fire pit in one area, a table in another, a sitting area, and even a swing set. All of these features are useless once the sun sets if there’s no light in your backyard. Hang string lights and bring all of these areas together under one cohesive set of string lights.
If you have a privacy fence around your yard, you have the perfect setup for string lights. String them from your roof to the top of the fence. Do this several times and create a canopy of soft light. You could balance the light by adding more strings over high trafficked areas and fewer strings over less utilized space.
If your fence isn’t tall enough or if it’s too far away, then use posts. You can have them installed directly into the ground to give them stability. You’ll want to place them in strategic areas to give your lights the most support and the most freedom in how you string your lights. Most people choose to place them along the perimeter or have one centralized post.
5. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Dining Spaces
No one wants to eat in the dark. There’s something especially unpleasant and unnerving about not being able to see the food on your plate. Especially when you’re eating outside. String lights can eliminate this problem and make your outdoor dining area more inviting.
More is better when illuminating your cooking or dining area. This means buying string lights with more bulbs and hanging more strings than you would in other spaces. You can then supplement your string lights with other more decorative accent lighting, such as candles, lanterns, or smaller sets of string lights.
If you choose to hang your string lights over the dining space, make sure you cover the entire dining area. You don’t want some guests eating in full light while others struggle in the shadows.
If your dining area is near a fence or wall, you can hang several rows of lighting on it instead. Just be sure to hang it high enough that it isn’t in someone’s face and that the light can carry over the entire table.
6. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Lounging Areas
Your lounge area is the space where you’ve set out a few comfy chairs or couches. This is the area where you’ll sit back with a few drinks and relax with family and friends. You want the lighting to reflect this, so you need enough to see, but not as much as your dining area. Depending on the size of the space and brightness of the bulbs, you could get away with two or three strings throughout the area.
To go for maximum effect with your string lights, aim for a diagonal pattern where you start in one corner, string them out to a centralized point on the opposite side, and then back to the other corner. This should create a triangle shape.
String these lights high up so people can comfortably walk under them. The height will also provide maximum travel distance for the light. This way, you illuminate more with less.
7. Patio String Lighting Ideas for Around the Pool and Spa
A dark pool or spa area is unsafe. Whether you plan to use your pool at night or not, string lights can illuminate the area and make it a safer place. You only need enough light to see where you’re going, so a few strings placed high over the area should do the trick.
Get creative in how you hang your lights. You could create several rows, crisscross them, create a perimeter, or have several strings radiating out from a single point to create a fan effect. Make sure you hang them high enough over your pool that they won’t get splashed. You should always use lights that are rated for outdoor, which means they’ll be waterproof. However, your pool water has chemicals, and if your string lights get routinely splashed, those chemicals can corrode your string lights.
Patio String Lights FAQs
What type of string lights should I use?
The most popular type is globe string lights. They provide plenty of light and are easy to hang. For a unique look, try ornamental string lights, They can help you create a theme. For the most durability, purchase commercial grade string lights. These lights are waterproof, weatherproof, and durable enough to leave up all year long.
What do I use to hang the lights?
The method you use will depend on the material you’re attaching the light to. If you’re working with wood, then you can use a screw eye or cup hook. A cup hook will work fine for somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of exposure to the elements. A screw eye and carabiner will create a solid attachment that’s perfect for places that experience high wind.
Both of these methods will provide a long term and corrosion-resistant hanging method. Skip the nails that can damage the cable and rust.
Why do string lights look yellow?
Lightbulbs give off light that’s measured with a spectrum on the Kelvin scale. You’ll hear it referred to as the “light temperature”. This refers to the shade and not the actual temperature of the light. Most string lights are meant to provide mood lighting, so they fall in the 2,000 to 4,000 range on the scale. This is soft yellow-tinted light that’s perfect for creating ambiance. You may find some string lights that are bit brighter in the 4,000 to 6,000 range: This is a white light and better for performing tasks.
Do I need a permit to hang string lights?
You should be fine hanging your string lights without a permit. Since they aren’t a structure and you plug them in, they typically won’t qualify as a project that requires a permit. Before you hang your lights, consider how they might affect your neighbors. You may find that the additional light shines directly into your neighbor’s home, possibly upsetting them. Maintain a good relationship and keep your lighting relegated to your backyard only.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.