Backyard Mood Lighting

Three ways string lights add sparkle to your outdoor space.

pictures of lighting
Steven Michael Photography, Ala Cortez/Courtesy Design Hunter LA, Harwell Photography/Courtesy Style Me Pretty

Wrap: Using one strand per tree, loop lights around trunks, leaving three inches between each row for a magical glow. Choose LED bulbs; most bugs are hardwired with UV receptors, so LED rays are less appealing to them, says creator Veronica Valencia.

Zigzag: Attach lights to tall structures in your yard to illuminate an outdoor dinner. Camilla Fabbri, creator of Family Chic (, keeps cords from sagging or getting tangled by securing them to the tops of outdoor umbrellas or fence posts with plastic twist ties.

Drape: Hang lights over boughs for a romantic display that takes merely minutes to set up. Make sure the bottommost bulb is at least a foot above the ground to avoid water and prevent safety hazards, says founder Abby Larson.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest