Outdoor Festoon Lights: How to Create a Beautiful Garden Space

festoon lights in the garden with gravel and a fire pit

We’ve all been there. We’ve spent hours in the garden weeding, planting, running in and out of the house to cater to our children/dog/husbands’ every whim, and just as we’re about to sit down to enjoy all the hard work in the garden and sip on a well-deserved G&T, it gets dark.

I love spending time in the garden once the sun sets and outdoor festoon lights are the best way to light up your garden! When we revamped our garden, one of the first things I did was put garden festoon lights up in the tree to determine how we would use the space. I wanted to create a cozy corner where we could sit in the evenings and invite friends around.

If you truly want to make the most of your garden space (and for many of us, the only time we really get to enjoy it is in the evenings), why not think about adding some festoon lights? Not only will it provide light (obviously), but it will also add a wonderful feature to your garden.

Outdoor Festoon Lights

festoon lights on the outside of a house with a contemporary garden space

Probably my favorite way to light up a garden, festoon lights bring a festival vibe to your garden and are a bonus garden feature during the day. They help to define a space, whether it be for relaxing, dining, or sitting by a fire pit.

Which Outdoor Festoon Lights Should I Purchase?

Having the right light solution in your garden can help provide a wonderful vibe for your family and visitors. It is always a good idea to choose lighting that goes well with the overall decor of your garden and home. 

Are festoon lights bright enough to light up your garden space? It depends on what lighting style you go for and how many you purchase. I would say, depending on the size of your garden, 20 festoon lights are enough to brighten up a seating corner.

There are plenty to choose from when purchasing festoon lights including:

Bright White

festoon lights, pergola, outdoor living, outdoor lights
These bright white festoon lights in Yvonne’s patio area really transform the space. Image credit: @sixat21

Perfect for really lighting up your garden when it gets dark. These outdoor festoon lights look fabulous under a pergola or light up your patio just outside your back door.

Warm Glow

festoon lights and solar lanterns in the garden at night

I prefer these as they give off a romantic light and don’t feel like your garden is lit up like a football stadium under floodlights. These look good everywhere, and we have them over our newly revamped garden gravel space at the back.


festoon lights, pergola, outdoor living, outdoor lights
Rainbow-coloured festoon lights under a pergola. Image credit: lights4fun.co.uk

Probably not for everyone but if you want to go for something fun and festival-like, rainbow-coloured festoon lights are perfect. They look great during the day as the garden provides a great backdrop for the different colored lights.

Which Power Option Should I Choose?

Festoon lights have become so popular in recent years, that there are plenty of options when it comes to lighting them. Can you leave festoon lights outside? Yes, the majority of festoon lights are for outdoors so they will all be waterproof.

Outdoor festoon lights come with a detachable plug socket, so when you are finished, you can unscrew the plug element and take it indoors without having to take down the festoon lights completely. 

Solar Panel

Probably the easiest way to power outdoor festoon lights is with a solar panel. You don’t have to worry about connecting them to a power point and they will turn themselves on when it gets dark and off again after a couple of hours.

You can purchase them from;

Battery Powered

Another great way to power your festoon lights without having to worry about a plug socket is battery-powered. These can be left outside come rain or shine and tend to have a long battery life.

Mains Powered

Are festoon lights waterproof? If you want to purchase mains-powered festoon lights, you need to make sure they are for outdoor use and waterproof.  I definitely prefer mains-powered outdoor festoon lights.

We have an outdoor shed with connected electricity so this is my preferred option, just remember to turn them off again before going indoors.

How to Hang Festoon Lights Outside

When it comes to hanging your outdoor festoon lights, there are so many options. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just use what you already have in your garden. 

Hang Them From Your Trees, Walls, or Shed

festoon lights, decking, outdoor living, outdoor lights
Jade has used her fence on either side of the garden to hang her festoons. Image credit: @jade.doutch

You can use your trees in the garden (like we have) to wrap them around and drape them over the patio area. Anything that is fixed in your garden space is ideal to use to hang your lights, put hooks up on your garden shed, and drape them over to adjoining trees or fences.

Use Your Pergola or Garden Parasol

rustic garden setting with bushes, pergola and festoon lights
This amazing space in Julie’s garden makes me rethink my decision not to buy a pergola! Image credit: @aldridgejulie

I think one of the most effective ways to display festoon lights is to drape them under a pergola or parasol. You can create a wonderful cascade effect and it will perfectly light up your outdoor living space in the evenings.

festoon lights hanging from a pergola over a courtyard garden
And at night, the most romantic setting. Image credit: @aldridgejulie
festoon lights and fairy lights hanging from a pergola with boho inspired light fittings and a dining table
Pair your festoon lights with fairy lights and you are onto a winning combination. Image credit: @pandora.maxton

No Fixed Items in the Garden?

festoon lights hanging from large branches that have been cemented into tin planters
Using tree branches in buckets with cement helps hang the festoons around the garden. Image credit: gettingstuffdoneinheels.com

Don’t worry, you can get creative and invent ways to hang your lights. Use heavy plant pots with plants in them and place tall sticks deep into the pots to hang the lights around the garden.

You could also create your own festoon light holders by using large plant pots or buckets, a very large branch, or a stick and fill the bucket with cement to hold the branch in place.

I love the way Sally from gettingstuffdoneinheels.com has hung her festoon lights from large tree branches cemented into tin planters, see above. 

If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, you can purchase metal festoon holders and place them straight into the ground, like these on festive-lights.com.

Cable Length and Bulb Spacing

a pergola with festoon lights wrapped around

Before installation, plan out where you want your festoon lights to go. Consider stringing them across the space, draping them along fences or walls, or winding them around trees or other garden features.

Measure your space to determine the total length of festoon lights needed. Consider the spacing between bulbs as well, as this will affect the overall lighting effect. Festoon lights should be installed with a slight sag to prevent tension on the bulbs and cables, which can lead to damage.

How to Make a Feature Out of Festoon Lights

Layer Your Lighting

Combine festoon lights with other types of outdoor lighting, such as spotlights, lanterns, or pathway lights, to create layers of illumination. This approach adds depth and texture to your garden, making it more visually appealing.

Highlight Garden Features

A bit like Instagrammers hanging ladders from their bathroom ceiling, you could hang a ladder from a nearby tree and drape festoons over it to provide a stunning lighting solution over a garden table.

Another great way to use outdoor festoon lights is to intertwine them around your iron fence or drape them around the outside of your house. 

Create a Focal Point

Consider creating a focal point with your outdoor festoon lights, such as a cozy seating area or a dining table. This invites people into the space and provides a comfortable, well-lit area for relaxation and socialization.

And Finally…

festoon lights hanging from hooks along a garden path
Shepherds’ hooks are used to hang outdoor festoon lights along a garden path. Image credit: lights4fun.co.uk

Not all outdoor festoon garden lights have to be hung above the garden. They are also a great feature to light up a garden path or patio or even display them around flower beds to light up the greenery and floral displays in the evening.

I think we will get a lot of use out of our lighting and in particular, our outdoor festoon lights this summer. We love spending time out in our graveled garden space now and actually look forward to the sun going down so we can turn all the lighting on! What festoons will you go for?

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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