29+ Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas

29+ DIY Garden Lantern Ideas

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Have you ever wondered why some gardens feel more welcoming and vibrant even after the sun sets? The secret often lies not just in the plants and pathways, but in how they’re lit.

Proper outdoor lighting, especially through Garden Lantern Ideas, transforms a simple backyard into a magical space.

These lanterns are more than just lights; they are versatile, functional, and beautiful pieces that add charm and character to any garden.

They light up paths, highlight your favorite spots, and create a cozy atmosphere for evenings outdoors. With the right lanterns, your garden can become a place of beauty and relaxation, both day and night.

In this article

29+ Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas

Types of Garden Lanterns

When you think about making your garden look nice at night, there are many kinds of lights you can use. Let’s talk about different garden lanterns and how they can make your outdoor space look great.

Solar Lanterns

FeatureBenefitBest Use
No wiresEasy to put anywherePaths and open areas
Uses sunlightSaves electricitySunny spots in the garden
Turns on automaticallyNo need to remember to switch onEvery night use

Solar lanterns are great because they don’t need any wires and get their power from the sun. This means you can put them anywhere in your garden that gets sunlight.

They are very good for lighting up paths or making a sitting area feel special. Plus, they turn on by themselves when it gets dark, so you don’t have to remember to turn them on every night.

LED Lanterns

FeatureBenefitBest Use
Very brightLights up a big areaDark corners or focal points
Uses a little energyLow cost to runUse lots of them without worry
Lasts a long timeDon’t need to replace oftenSet up once, enjoy for years

LED lanterns are known for being very bright and not using much power. This makes them perfect for lighting up dark corners of your garden or showing off a special plant or statue. They are also very good because they last a long time, so you won’t have to replace them often.

Candle Lanterns

FeatureBenefitBest Use
Real flameWarm, cozy lightRomantic dinners, quiet spots
PortableCan move them aroundAnywhere you need a soft glow
Variety of stylesFits any garden lookMatching your garden’s theme

The beauty of candle lanterns lies in their real flames, giving off a warm and cozy light that’s perfect for a romantic dinner in the garden or just to enjoy a quiet spot.

They come in many styles, so you can find one that fits your garden’s theme. Just remember to be safe and never leave a candle lantern burning without watching it.

Decorative Lanterns

StyleMaterialBest Use
TraditionalMetal, GlassClassic garden looks
ModernPlastic, SolarContemporary spaces
ThematicShapes, ColorsSpecial occasions

Decorative lanterns are all about making your garden look beautiful. They can be traditional, with metal and glass, or modern, using plastic and solar power. You can also find lanterns that fit special themes, like holidays or parties. These lanterns are perfect for adding a little extra something to your garden’s look.

Choosing the Right Lanterns for Your Garden

Picking the perfect lanterns for your garden means thinking about what your garden looks like, how big it is, and what kind of light you need. Let’s go through some steps to help you choose the best lanterns.

Assessing Your Garden’s Style

First, look at your garden. Is it modern with clean lines, or is it more rustic with lots of natural elements? Your garden’s style should guide what kind of lanterns you choose.

Garden StyleLantern StyleWhy It Works
ModernSleek, LED lanternsMatches the clean, contemporary look
RusticTraditional, metal lanternsComplements natural, earthy elements
CottageDecorative, candle lanternsAdds to the cozy, whimsical feel

Matching the style of your garden with your lanterns creates a cohesive look. For example, sleek, LED lanterns work well in modern gardens, while traditional, metal lanterns look great in rustic settings.

Considering the Size and Scale

Next, think about how big your garden is and where you want to put your lanterns. You don’t want lanterns that are too big or too small for the space.

Garden AreaLantern SizeConsideration
PathwaysSmall to mediumShouldn’t overpower the path
Focal PointsLargeNeeds to stand out, but not overwhelm
Seating AreasMediumShould add to the ambiance without being in the way

Choosing the right size lanterns makes sure they fit well in the space. Small to medium lanterns are good for lighting pathways without taking over, while larger lanterns can highlight focal points without overwhelming them.

Lighting Needs

Finally, think about what you need the light for. There are three main types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent.

Lighting TypePurposeLantern Example
AmbientOverall light for the gardenSolar lanterns along a path
TaskLight for a specific jobBright LED lanterns near a grill
AccentHighlight a featureCandle lanterns around a water feature

Differentiating between the types of lighting helps you decide what kind of lanterns you need. Ambient lighting gives you overall light, task lighting helps you see what you’re doing, and accent lighting highlights special features of your garden.

Creative Placement Ideas

Finding the best spots for your lanterns can make a big difference in how your garden looks and feels at night. Let’s go through some smart ways to place your lanterns.

Pathway Lighting

Lighting up your garden paths and walkways makes it easier to walk around at night and adds a welcoming vibe.

PlacementEffectBest Type of Lantern
Along the sidesSoft, guiding lightSolar lanterns
Spaced evenlyConsistent lookSmall LED lanterns
Random patternWhimsical, natural feelVaried sizes of candle lanterns

Pathway lighting should guide you comfortably through the garden, creating a safe and inviting path. Solar lanterns that light up automatically at dusk are perfect for this. Placing them along the sides of paths or walkways gives a soft, guiding light.

For a more consistent look, small LED lanterns spaced evenly can work well. If you want a whimsical, natural feel, try placing varied sizes of candle lanterns in a more random pattern.

Accentuating Garden Features

Using lanterns to spotlight plants, statues, or water features can turn them into nighttime focal points.

FeatureEffectBest Type of Lantern
PlantsSoft glow on foliageSmall, ground-level lanterns
StatuesDramatic shadow and lightDirectional LED lanterns
Water featuresReflective, shimmering lightFloating or nearby candle lanterns

Accentuating garden features with the right light can bring a magical element to your garden at night. Small, ground-level lanterns can create a soft glow on plants, enhancing their shapes and textures.

For statues, directional LED lanterns can cast dramatic shadows, highlighting their forms. Water features look stunning when illuminated by floating or nearby candle lanterns, creating a reflective, shimmering effect.

Hanging Lanterns

Hanging lanterns can add light and style above eye level, creating layers of illumination.

LocationEffectBest Type of Lantern
TreesEnchanted forest vibeSolar or LED lanterns
PergolasCozy, enclosed feelDecorative candle lanterns
Over dining areasWarm, inviting ambianceLarge, statement lanterns

Hanging lanterns in trees can give your garden an enchanted forest vibe, especially with solar or LED lanterns that cast a gentle glow. Pergolas lit with decorative candle lanterns can create a cozy, enclosed feel for those sitting underneath.

For dining areas, large, statement lanterns hung overhead provide a warm, inviting ambiance, perfect for evening meals outdoors.

Tabletop and Ground Lanterns

Placing lanterns on tables or directly on the ground can create a cozy ambiance in seating areas.

PlacementEffectBest Type of Lantern
On tablesIntimate, social settingSmall, decorative lanterns
On the groundSoft, all-around glowLow, wide lanterns
Among plantsBlended, natural lightCandle or solar lanterns

Tabletop and ground lanterns add a special touch to seating areas, making them feel more intimate and inviting. Small, decorative lanterns on tables create an intimate, social setting, perfect for conversations.

Placing low, wide lanterns on the ground provides a soft, all-around glow that lights up the area without being too bright. Lanterns placed among plants on the ground can offer a blended, natural light that makes the garden feel magical.

1. Jute Knotted Bottles

Jute Knotted Bottles | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


2. Mason Jar Sconce

Mason Jar Sconce | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


3. Garden Light

Garden Light | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

4. Waterdrop Solar Lights

Waterdrop Solar Lights | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


5. Great winter decoration

Great winter decoration | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


6. Spilling Solar light

Spilling Solar light | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


7. Wine bottle lantern

Wine bottle lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

8. Diamond Pendant Lights

Diamond Pendant Lights | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


9. Hanging Candles

Hanging Candles | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


10. DIY Lantern Jar

DIY Lantern Jar | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


11. Paper Lantern

Paper Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


12. Light Balls

Light Balls | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

13. Faux Birch Lantern

Faux Birch Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


14. Mason Jar Hearty Lantern

Mason Jar Hearty Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

15. DIY Lights from Recycled Pallet

DIY Lights from Recycled Pallet | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


16. Tin Can Lantern

Tin Can Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


17. DIY Mason Jar Luminaries

DIY Mason Jar Luminaries | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


18. Hula hoop chandler

Hula hoop chandler | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


19. DIY Wire Basket Lighting

DIY Wire Basket Lighting | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

20. DIY Solar Lanterns

DIY Solar Lanterns | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


21. DIY Faux Metal Star Lantern

DIY Faux Metal Star Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

23. Cozy Paper DIY Lanterns

Cozy Paper DIY Lanterns | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


24. DIY Wax Paper Lantern

DIY Wax Paper Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

25. DIY Paper Lantern

DIY Paper Lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com
Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

28. Wine bottle Lantern

Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com

29.  DIY Paper Cut Lamps

Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


30. Paper lantern

Paper lantern | Creative DIY Garden Lantern Ideas - FarmFoodFamily.com


Design Tips for Garden Lanterns

Creating a beautiful garden includes thinking about the lights you use. Let’s look at some tips for choosing the right colors and materials, making a lighting plan, and mixing different kinds of lanterns to make your garden look its best.

Color and Material Choices

The materials and colors of your lanterns can change how your garden feels. Here’s how they can affect the mood and style:

MetalDark hues (black, bronze)Classic, elegant
GlassClear or coloredBright, airy, or playful
PlasticBright colorsModern, fun
WoodNatural tonesRustic, cozy

Choosing the right materials and colors for your lanterns can help match the mood you want for your garden. Metal lanterns in dark hues like black or bronze add a classic, elegant look.

Glass lanterns, whether clear or colored, can make a space feel brighter and more airy or add a playful touch with colors. Plastic lanterns in bright colors work well for a modern, fun vibe, and wood lanterns in natural tones can give your garden a rustic, cozy feel.

Creating a Lighting Plan

Having a plan for your garden lighting can make sure it’s balanced and looks good. Here are some basic steps:

  1. Map Your Garden: Draw a simple map of your garden, marking key features like paths, seating areas, and plants you want to highlight.
  2. Decide on Types of Lighting: Choose ambient, task, and accent lighting based on what you need for different areas.
  3. Pick Your Lanterns: Based on your map and the types of lighting, select lanterns that fit your style and needs.
  4. Plan Placement: Decide where each lantern will go on your map, thinking about how the light will blend together.

Creating a lighting plan helps you think about what you need before you start, making it easier to get a balanced, cohesive look in your garden.

Mixing and Matching

Using different kinds of lanterns together can add interest to your garden. Here’s how to mix and match for a dynamic look:

Lantern TypeUse WithResult
Solar lanternsLED or candle lanternsEnergy-efficient & warm glow
Decorative lanternsFunctional lanternsStyle & practicality
Different materialsDifferent colorsTextured & colorful design

Mixing and matching different types of lanterns can make your garden lighting more interesting. You can use solar lanterns for easy, energy-efficient lighting along paths and mix in some LED or candle lanterns for a warm glow in seating areas.

Combining decorative lanterns with more functional ones adds both style and practicality. Using lanterns made of different materials and colors can create a textured, colorful design that makes your garden unique.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

Taking care of your garden lanterns is important for keeping them looking good and working safely. Here are some tips on cleaning, protecting them from the weather, and placing them safely.

Cleaning and Care

Keeping your lanterns clean and in good shape helps them last longer and stay safe to use.

TaskHow OftenTips
Wiping downOnce a monthUse a soft cloth to remove dust and dirt.
Checking for damageEvery few monthsLook for cracks or rust and fix them.
Replacing batteries or bulbsAs neededKeep solar and LED lanterns bright.

Regular maintenance like wiping down your lanterns can keep them shining bright. Every few months, check for any damage like cracks or rust, and fix them to prevent problems. For solar and LED lanterns, replacing batteries or bulbs when they get dim keeps your garden well-lit.

Weather Considerations

Garden lanterns are outside, so they need to handle the weather.

MaterialWeather ResistanceCare Tip
MetalCan rustUse protective sprays or paint.
PlasticMay fade in sunlightPlace in less direct light.
WoodCan rotSeal or treat the wood regularly.

Choosing weather-resistant materials and caring for them properly can protect your lanterns from the elements. Metal lanterns might need protective sprays to prevent rust. Plastic lanterns can fade in too much sun, so placing them in areas with less direct light can help. Wood lanterns should be sealed or treated regularly to prevent rot.

Safety Precautions

Placing your lanterns safely, especially candle lanterns, is crucial to avoid accidents.

Lantern TypeSafety TipReason
CandleNever leave unattendedPrevent fires
All typesKeep away from flammable materialsReduce fire risk
HangingSecure firmlyPrevent falls

Safety precautions are key, especially with candle lanterns. Never leave a candle lantern burning unattended to prevent fires. Keep all types of lanterns away from flammable materials like dry leaves or fabric. And if you’re hanging lanterns, make sure they’re secured firmly so they don’t fall and break or cause accidents.


Garden lanterns can truly change how your garden looks and feels, making it a beautiful and inviting place even after the sun goes down. From solar to LED, and candle to decorative, each type of lantern brings its own charm and function to your outdoor space. Remember, the key is to find what fits your garden’s style, meets your lighting needs, and matches your personal taste.

Don’t be afraid to try different types of lanterns and placement ideas to see what lights up your garden best. Sometimes, mixing styles or experimenting with colors and materials can lead to surprising and delightful results. Your garden is a reflection of your creativity and a space for you to enjoy; let it shine in the best light possible.

So, go ahead and play with the ideas shared here. With a little effort and imagination, you can transform your garden into a magical nighttime oasis that’s perfect for relaxing or entertaining.

FAQ: Garden Lantern Ideas

What types of garden lanterns are best for a low-maintenance garden?

Solar lanterns are ideal for low-maintenance gardens because they rely on sunlight for power, eliminating the need for battery replacements or electrical wiring. They’re also designed to automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn, providing hassle-free illumination.

Can garden lanterns be used in all types of weather?

Yes, many garden lanterns are designed to withstand outdoor conditions. However, the durability depends on the materials and construction. Metal lanterns with a protective coating, waterproof LED lanterns, and plastic solar lanterns are generally weather-resistant. It’s important to choose lanterns suited for your local weather conditions and to follow any specific maintenance instructions for the best longevity.

How can I ensure my garden lanterns are placed safely, especially candle lanterns?

For candle lanterns, place them on stable surfaces away from flammable materials, and never leave them unattended while lit. For all types of lanterns, ensure they are securely placed or hung to prevent them from tipping over or falling, particularly in areas frequented by children and pets.

Are there eco-friendly garden lantern options?

Solar lanterns are an eco-friendly option since they use renewable energy from the sun. LED lanterns are also energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional bulbs, making them an environmentally conscious choice for garden lighting.

How can I use garden lanterns to enhance the look of my garden at night?

Use a mix of lantern types and placement strategies to create depth and interest. Pathway lighting can guide visitors through your garden, while accent lighting can highlight specific features like statues or unique plants. Hanging lanterns add vertical interest and a cozy ambiance to seating areas. Experiment with different colors and materials to complement your garden’s theme and style.