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The Light Fantastic

I'm a sucker for twinkling lights; they have a magical, mystical ambiance that is ideal for any outdoor space. The basics, those little white lights that we use for Christmas trees and the Brits call "fairy lights" look great nearly anywhere and in any situation. Weddings, reunions, romantic dinners, teenage pool parties, showers, anniversaries can all benefit from a twinkle or two. Wrap them around a tree trunk, up a column, across a pergola, across a fence, over a walkway; define an archway, even light up a cactus. The other beautiful thing about those lights is that they are relatively inexpensive so you can light up the night as brightly as you like.

Some tips from the experts: LED lights tend to burn more brightly, have more bulb styles and last longer than their incandescent brothers. LED lights also use less power, so if you keep them blazing all spring, summer and fall, it will be easier on your pocketbook. If you are just hanging up the lights for an occasion, the cheaper incandescent version should be just fine. 

When measuring for lights, add 2-6 feet to allow for swags, wraps, etc.

Some other things you can do with fairy lights; stuff them in empty wine bottle or mason jars; wrap up a hula hoop or a tree branch and create a chandelier; stuff wicker balls with lights, be creative, who knows what you'll come up with?

Another favorite is the globe light, which is a larger, less twinkly version of the fairy light. Again these are available in both LED and incandescent versions.

Globe lights are perfect for draping across an open space or hanging from a pergola. Don't have a place to hang them? Consider setting poles in concrete filled planters or other containers for convenient string light "hangers."

Light up your patio, light up your life! Check out Pinterest for more inspiration; you'll be amazed the difference a few little lights make in your outdoor space.




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