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How to Create Interesting Lighting Using the Trees in Your Yard

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Tall trees are some of the most attractive bases to use for lighting a yard. You don't have to worry about your lighting looking overly symmetrical or planned—the natural variety of each tree will keep things from looking too orderly.

The simplest way to use trees as a part of your lighting is to put decorative hanging lanterns on them. Since the branches of a tree come out at different heights, you'll end up with lanterns that are interestingly spaced without even trying. Here are a few particular ideas for how you can use lanterns in your trees to create different lighting effects in your yard.


To continue with the eclectic theme that trees with interesting shapes provide, use a variety of different-colored lanterns; you can even mix and match sizes. Colored lanterns are quite eye-catching, so they are a good choice if you'll also have a well-lit patio or yard because the lantern trees will still stand out. If the trees are close to where you'll be spending time outside, you should also consider getting lanterns in interesting shapes since you'll be able to see them easily.


For a more natural or even fairytale look, choose paper lanterns in cream or pastel colors. At night, your yard will look like it's filled with floating globes of light. This works well if your trees are a little further away from the best-lit part of your yard; your patio or outdoor lights won't overpower the hanging lanterns, and the distance will make the tree fall further into the background, adding to the illusion that the lights are floating.


If you like to change the decorations in your yard to follow the seasons and holidays, consider using plain white lanterns. This way, you can switch out the color of the bulb inside, from orange for Halloween to red for Valentine's Day to red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July.

Decorative Lighting for Trunks and Branches

When you're creating aesthetic effects with tree lighting, there are a few things that you can combine with hanging lanterns to make them even more interesting. Try wrapping strands of white lights around the trunk and branches of trees; this works especially well for trees with very asymmetrical shapes. You can also drape these lights off the branches, letting them hang down in loops. 

Tip: Choosing white lights over colored lights helps keep this from looking too much like Christmas décor. In addition, consider buying strands with round bulbs or with bulbs that are spaced farther apart than traditional Christmas tree lights.