ISSUE 20  |  Landscaping 101

10 Easy Pieces: Cafe-Style Outdoor String Lights

May 19, 2015 1:30 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

If one of your jobs as a child was to follow your mother through the backyard, slowly unfurling garlands of glowing bulbs for her to wrap around the trunk of the crabapple tree and drape across the yews, you have most likely inherited a tendency toward twinkly, golden light. I speak from experience.

We are now solidly immersed in the festive months, fellow outdoor-string-light addicts. This is our season. If you haven’t gotten to it already, let’s commence now with the draping and festooning, so we can move on to the important things: warm evenings, clinking wineglasses, and fireflies at dusk.

Here are 10 garlands of outdoor string lights at a variety of prices that can give those fireflies competition:

Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

The Table in a Bag Outdoor Commercial 15-Light String Light Set Up is $47.09 for the 48-foot-long strand from Amazon.

Above:An 11-foot-long cord of 10 Industrial String Lights is available in three colors including red for $49 from West Elm.

Above: A perennial favorite, an 11-foot-long strand holds 10 lights with unglazed, ultra-thin ceramic shades that give off a translucent glow. Pleated String Lights are suitable for outdoor or indoor use; $224 from Pigeon Toe.


Above: A 20-light Hanging String of Light Balls is made of rattan wrapped with cotton. Suitable for both outdoor and indoor use, it’s $12 from Cottonlight via Etsy.

 Above: This garland of 20 White Festoon Lights uses low-energy-consuming LED bulbs and is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. The starter kit is £45 from Cox & Cox; extension sets also available.


 Above: A 54-foot-long string of Terrazzo Outdoor Lights holds 24 bulbs. It is $199 from NapaStyle.


Above: A Party Globe Light String, with choice of two sizes of bulb, is currently on sale for $38 (marked down from $45) at Restoration Hardware. The string comes with either 10 large globes or 20 small.


 Above: A Sardal LED Lighting Chain with 24 lights is $7.99 from Ikea. A pack of 12 white Solvinden Light Covers is $5.

Above: A strand of Mercury Glass Globe String Lights comes in two lengths, with either 10 or 20 lights; the price is $29.99 or $59.99 at Pottery Barn.

Above: With 10 filament bulbs per strand, a 10-foot length of Smith & Hawken String Lights is $18.74 from Target.



Above: A 50-foot-long Vintage Light String with 24 bulbs and all-weather wiring is $146 at Restoration Hardware.

For more of our favorite ways to dress up a deck or patio, see: