When the sun goes down, most of us head inside after a day spent in the garden. But with a few clever lighting solutions, you can make use of your outdoor space in the evenings too - or just give it some serious curb appeal.
Investing in some garden string lights is one of the most effective outdoor lighting ideas to make your space more inviting. With their warm glow, they add the perfect finishing touch to outdoor seating and dining areas, but they also look fantastic strung along railings and fences. You can even use them to enhance your trees and foliage.
The good news is there are garden string light designs to suit every outdoor space, from vintage-style Edison bulbs to starburst LEDs and even cascading light curtains. So, whether you’re looking to create an outdoor Christmas light display or get some larger festive statement pieces to welcome guests, or to simply add some year-round cosiness to your garden, you’ve plenty of options.
Best garden string lights to buy online
We’ve found the best garden string lights available online to help you enjoy your garden even when it’s dark outside.
Ollny Mains Powered Fairy Lights
It’s always a good idea to keep your shed or garage stocked with a pack of practical, mains-powered fairy lights. Standard bulbs and dark-coloured cables may not be the most exciting option when it comes to garden lights, but they’ll be perfect for creating a polished display.
This set looks particularly good when wrapped around trees and railings, but you can attach it to almost anything and it’ll give your garden a warming glow.
The 20m length and waterproof cable make these string lights a convenient choice. And as an added bonus, the set comes with eight different lighting settings, including ‘waves’, ‘slow fade’ and ‘twinkle’. Plus, you can set them to turn on and off automatically every day.
This warm white set makes for a cosy look, but opt for the cool light version if you prefer a bright white scene.
LED String Lights
Combining the efficiency of an LED and the look of an old-style bulb with glowing filament, this set of string lights offers the best of both worlds. It’s also a practical choice, as it swaps glass for durable PET plastic, which is less likely to crack or shatter.
In fact, you can leave these string lights outdoors all year round, thanks to their thick, flexible cable and weather-resistant materials.
In this pack, you’ll get 50 warm white bulbs on a 100ft string, but you can choose your preferred length, down to 25ft.
Starburst Chain Lights
With an unusual starburst design featuring clusters of tiny lights, this set is particularly magical. It’s the perfect accompaniment to outdoor dining set-up.
String the lights up above your guests’ heads or nestle them among the bits and bobs on the table to create a charming centrepiece. And when you head back indoors, you can take the lights with you; they’re dainty enough to look great on a mantlepiece or in a window.
Choose the battery-powered set for a 2.3m cable and automatic 6hrs on / 18hrs off timer. Or opt for the plug-in version for a longer 6m cable.
Classic Black Festoon Lights
- Buy now from Garden Trading (£45.00)
The five copper LEDs inside each bulb set this pack of string lights apart from others on the market. Rather than give out a solid glow, the bulbs twinkle with miniature lights inside.
They’re also easy to attach to trees and furniture in your garden as each bulb features a handy loop you can use to tie or clip it onto other items.
This set comes with a standard UK plug and a total lifespan of 5,000 hours.
2m x 2m Connectable Curtain Lights
- Buy now from Lights4Fun (£45.00)
If you’ve got a large space in need of a little illumination, curtain lights could be a great choice. Creating a wash of warm colour, they look fantastic draped over a hedge, hanging from an exterior wall and even tied to railings.
This set gives you plenty of choice when it comes to the size and colour of your display. You have the option to select either warm or cool white lights, as well as your preferred ‘curtain’ width between 2m and 8m.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll get eight light effects and a daily on/offer timer as part of the package.
Edison-Style Bulb Light String
Vintage-style lights can add a wonderful, cosy look to a garden, especially when clustered together for extra impact. This set includes 10 LED Edison bulbs with a glowing filament detail.
Thanks to the in-built timer, you won’t have to worry about switching them off before heading to bed; they’ll automatically turn on for just six hours every day.
Just insert three AA batteries to keep the lights glowing for at least 60 days.
Wire Lights Curtain
- Buy now from Garden Trading (£35.00)
For a subtle glow, try this delicate light curtain from Garden Trading. Lightweight wires dangle to create a display piece stretching two square metres across.
This pack, which has 30,000 hours of power time, is the ideal choice for draping over walls and railings, or placing just inside french doors to create a welcoming scene.
Warm White Festoon Lights
- Buy now from Lights4Fun (£188.99)
Lights4Fun offers a huge array of different outdoor lighting solutions, usually with a healthy choice of size and colour options. The brand’s festoon lights are well worth considering, especially if you’re planning an event.
This 20m string features 40 bulbs, but it’s easy to customise your order to your own requirements. The cable lengths on offer range from 5m all the way up to 150m, and you can choose warm, white or multi-coloured bulbs on a black or white cord.
Outdoor Light Up Tree Tower
- Buy now from Cox & Cox (£95.00)
Installing garden string lights is a great way to add some festive cheer to your outdoor space around the holiday season. So, why not go all-out with this beautiful Christmas tree feature?
The 3m-tall structure has a sturdy central pole and 12 cascading strings of lights, which you can arrange in a narrow or wide shape, depending on your space. Adding the finishing touch is a lit star at the top.
As with many other string light sets, you can switch between several lighting modes; this tree has eight different settings on offer.
Alice is a digital writer with a knack for tracking down the most innovative and exciting products to hit the market. Working across several of Our Media's special interest brands, she's written for publications including Countryfile, Gardens Illustrated and Science Focus. Outside of work - and lusting over homeware and gardening products - you’ll find her rambling in the great outdoors or watching an old film.
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