How To Decorate Outdoor Trees With Lights

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As the days get longer and the weather warms for summer, outdoor gatherings are on the rise. Whether you prefer a casual barbecue with friends or a formal dinner party catered by the best restaurant in town, you want your backyard to be inviting and comfortable for your guests during these summer parties. Most homeowners consider patio furniture, pool accessories, and the best grills for outdoor cooking when planning to host a party. But what about highlighting your backyard's natural beauty? The trees in your yard may be an untapped resource of illuminating decor possibilities.

According to This Old House, landscape lighting can help draw attention to your trees' natural beauty. Just like the lighting inside your home can transform a room, landscape lighting can complement the aesthetic of your backyard. To help you get started, we've selected various designs for you to review and, hopefully, find what will brighten your backyard.

Choosing a lighting type that suits your needs

Before you dive into purchasing lights for your backyard trees, it's important to consider the energy source you prefer to use to power your lights. If you have an outdoor power source where you can plug your lights in, traditional string lights with plugs at the end may be your best option. However, if you're looking to decorate trees in a more remote area of your backyard, you may not have a power source available. In that case, battery-operated lights could be a go-to option for you.

Some people don't like the hassle of changing batteries when lights unexpectedly burn out. If this applies to you, solar-powered lights are probably your best bet. Lucky for you, lights come in a wide variety of options, so you're almost guaranteed to find the style of lighting you like best with the power source that suits your needs. Some lights even come with remote controls so you can adjust the lighting while sipping wine from the comfort of your cozy backyard patio furniture.

Finding the right lighting aesthetic for you

Now that you've chosen the power source for your lighting, it's time to select your backyard tree light aesthetic. Are you decorating your trees for a weekend game night? Are you planning to host a neighborhood movie night with a projector in your backyard? Maybe you're hosting a baby or bridal shower or planning a formal dinner party? Spend some time thinking about the gathering, and the vibe you'd like to create using tree lighting.

Don't worry too much about choosing the first aesthetic. The great thing about tree lighting is that it's neither expensive nor permanent. You can select one lighting style this week and then completely switch it up for your next gathering. Remember that functionality should also be a part of your lighting aesthetic. According to Architectural Digest, durability should be a key component when considering which lights to choose. Once you have an aesthetic in mind, peruse this list of outdoor tree lighting we've compiled to help you get started.

Try Edison bulb string lights for a modern farmhouse feel

Food is an important factor in an outdoor gathering. But the real contributors to a successful party are the decor and ambiance. Edison bulbs serve all that and more when strung between the trees in your backyard. The bulbs offer a warm, modern farmhouse feel, perfect for a cozy gathering. And depending on the lighting set you choose, many of the bulbs come with dimmers, so you can choose to set the mood with different lighting levels. 

Waterproof Edison bulb string lights are also budget-friendly, making them a popular choice among homeowners, according to Food & Wine Magazine. With such a classic look, Edison bulbs can be dressed up for a formal dinner or dressed down for a more casual get-together. Pair a string of Edison bulb lights with a projector screen for a backyard movie night. Or string a set across the trees in your yard and break out your pizza oven for a neighborhood DIY pizza party. 

Looking for an ethereal feel? Try wrap lighting

Who doesn't want to feel like they're walking into a magical forest covered in fireflies when they enter their backyard? This tree-wrapped lighting delivers all the fairyland vibes directly to your yard. The best part is that no unique lights are required for this look. Simply grab a string of white outdoor twinkle lights and start wrapping. According to Homes & Gardens, ensuring your guest's path is well-lit during an outdoor party is crucial. Luckily, visibility won't be a problem with these fully illuminated trees.

Pair your light-wrapped trees with long tables draped in linen table cloths, and peach-colored runners for a garden party feel. Mix and match different styles of wicker or wooden chairs for seating. Grab an assortment of teas and mini cakes for snacking. And finish the look with some tall candlesticks, rustic candle holders, and wildflowers for a truly ethereal vibe.

For a more natural look, try hanging candle holders

Twinkle lights and Edison bulbs offer a beautiful aesthetic. But artificial lighting isn't for everyone. That's why we've included hanging glass tea candle holders for anyone looking for something more natural and flickering. But these glass candle holders offer more than just natural lighting — they are also the epitome of romance since there aren't many things more romantic than candlelight. These floating glass candle holders are sure to bring all the romantic vibes to any occasion.

Pair these holders with a charcuterie board, wine, and a bouquet of roses for a romantic outdoor date night. Or hang the holders across your trees for an idyllic backyard bridal shower. Another great thing about these lights is that you don't have to worry about electrical hook-ups. Simply light the candles for the event and let them burn out naturally as the night fades. 

Ditch the ladder with ball lights

What if you're afraid of heights? There is still an option for anyone who does not like getting on a ladder to hang lights. These ball lights are simple yet fun. And they can be used as accessories throughout your yard by simply placing them near your trees. The best part is that many of these lights are solar-paneled, so no batteries or electricity are required. According to The Times, homeowners often need to hire a qualified electrician to install their outdoor lighting. You can avoid that hassle entirely with these low-maintenance ball lights.

Many of these ball lights also come with remote controllers that can change the color of the globes. Pair these lights with colorful swim accessories for a fun pool party. Or set the globes to a dim white glow for a delicate feel while sipping wine on your patio. 

Bring magic to your yard with hanging fairy lights

These hanging fairy lights are for anyone who wants to feel like a woodland fairy when they walk into their yard. The great thing about these lights is that they can be used for both formal occasions and casual get-togethers. Homeowners can string these lights from tree branches for a fancy backyard wedding reception. For more formal events, pair these lights with white table cloths, chairs, and taper candles. Or, the lights can be used as decoration during a fairy-themed party. If opting for the fairy party, get creative with color and patterns. Pair these lights with mismatched chairs and table settings. Use lavender and billy buttons as floral accents. And, of course, don't forget the delicious treats for all your fairy visitors.

Bonus: These lights make a beautiful backdrop for photoshoots. Whether you're looking for a location for engagement photos, staging food for a cookbook, or capturing some adorable pet photos, these fairy lights can complement any photo needs.

For a more muted look, hang lanterns

There's something about lanterns that soothe the soul. Lanterns have been used for centuries around the world during festivals. Since the Han dynasty in China, they have been lit and placed in water to represent the sending away of life problems and disasters to make room for peace and happiness, as per Britannica. Sky lanterns are also often used in festivals. A candle is placed inside them and released into the night sky. The flame is seen as a symbol of guiding light directing us to the right path, even when all seems dark and unclear.

Basically, lanterns pack a lot of good karma, and who wouldn't want that for their home? If you want to turn your backyard into a calming oasis, these hanging ones are the best option. Lanterns are also one of the most versatile outdoor decorations. They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Opt for a metal one for something more durable that can be used all year long. For a fun summer party accessory, try a round paper lantern.

Hang firework lights for a burst of brightness

Who doesn't love fireworks? Well, now homeowners can have fireworks year-round without all the noise. These firework lights are an easy accessory for your backyard trees. They are battery-operated, so there's no need to worry about cords or plugs. And they come with a remote control that can change the light brightness and color. 

For a Fourth of July party, set these lights to their highest brightness level and red, white and blue colors. But Independence Day is not the only time these lights can be used. There are plenty of other occasions when they will come in handy. For a romantic New Years' Eve party, you can dim the lights and set them to a festive white color. If a child recently won a championship game, you can break these lights out for a celebratory party for some childproof fireworks without the pyrotechnics.

Get funky with mushroom lights

It's easy to get caught up in figuring out how to accessorize the branches of your backyard trees. But there is so much more to a tree than just its branches. And all those other areas deserve some attention, too! These adorable mushroom lights make the perfect decoration for the base of your trees — especially if you're looking to bring a vintage look to your décor. 

These little mushrooms bring all the funky vibes, and they're solar-powered, so there's no need to worry about batteries or plugs. For a '70s-inspired backyard look, pair these mushroom lights with some bright yellow vintage patio chairs and faded floral pattern cushions. Add a patio umbrella decorated with fringe and some groovy glass candle holders. Finish the look with a colorful lava lamp. For bonus points, find an old record player so you and your friends can listen to some classic tunes. Don't forget to serve your guests some fondue! 

Use Mason jars for a casual-but-elegant vibe

In 1858, a tinsmith from New Jersey named John Landis Mason invented and patented the Mason jar, as per The Atlantic. The screw-threaded glass jar became a staple for canning food throughout the country. Little did Mr. Mason know that his invention would one day become one of the most iconic decor items available. Yes, Mason jars may be practical canning materials, but their classic look also makes them very stylish home decorations — including outdoor lighting. 

Mason jars are the perfect option for casual-but-elegant outdoor lighting. You can pair these lights with some painted Mason jars holding white roses for a vintage farmhouse feel. Or, you can pair the jars with sleek wooden patio furniture and cream cushions for a modern, industrial vibe. Mason jars come in so many different sizes and shapes and are used to complement countless different aesthetics, so you really can't go wrong with these lights. 

Combine lights with drapery for a romantic feel

Lights are certainly the star of the show when it comes to decorating your tree. But there is definitely some room for a co-star. So, try complementing your tree lights with some drapery for a very romantic vibe. The best type of fabrics to use for long-term outdoor drapery include polyester and polyester blends, acrylic material, and olefin, as per Revolution Fabrics. But if you're looking for something to complement your lighting for only one event, just about any fabric will do. We recommend something light and airy that aligns with your party's color scheme.

The best part about drapery is that it matches almost every lighting type. Lanterns, Mason jars, twinkle lights, and more all look splendid against a soft fabric. Simply choose a color and a material and start draping. This decor can be used as the focal point of your event, or it can serve as a subtle backdrop.

Let your extravagant side shine with a chandelier

Some may think it's "extra," but we consider it living your best life. Either way, an outdoor tree chandelier serves instant backyard glam. The best part about an outdoor hanging chandelier is that it's budget-friendly. Look for old chandeliers at local garage sales; these bargain chandeliers are perfect for repurposing. You can spraypaint the light fixture, add crystals, gems, fringe, or whatever else fits your aesthetic, as per The Farmhouse Life. Then you can top it off with small candle holders for a perfectly romantic taper candle fixture.

Pair this chandelier with light drapery across your trees, and you'll never find a more romantic getaway than your own backyard. But the luxury doesn't have to stop with decor. Slip into your favorite satin robe and fuzzy slippers and lounge in your new backyard with a glass of champagne — life doesn't get much more luxurious than that.

Enjoy your new backyard decor

The hard work is finished. You identified the best power source for your lightning. You chose the right lighting aesthetic for your trees. You sifted through countless lighting options to find the perfect choice for your backyard trees. You hung your lights on and around your backyard trees. Now, it's time to enjoy your new decor. So power up your lights and throw a party! 

According to CBS News, parties can be good for your health. Epidemiologists have said that having a diverse social network can help lower the chances of getting heart disease and help people live longer. Additionally, people who socialize are 55% less likely to develop symptoms of moderate cognitive impairment, such as dementia (via CNN). So, if you needed another excuse to have a party, there it is. However, with stunning backyard lights like yours, you'll never need another excuse to throw a party.