Solar Lights: On their own, solar lights are not enough to dine by, but they do help create a mood. Place them along a walkway, underneath a couple of trees and by some flowering plants to highlight your landscaping.
Tiki Torches: Tiki torches are an inexpensive way to add some ambience to your outdoor entertaining. Place them in the ground or in planters around your patio table. It isn’t the best solution if young children are around, but for an adults-only gathering, it’s a fun and festive touch.
String of Lights: Strings of white lights are elegant and provide plenty of lighting by which to dine comfortably. String them around the perimeter of your patio umbrella. Wrap them around a balcony railing. Wind them around the trunk of a tree or string a few up in the branches. Nobody tires of white lights and they are appropriate year round.
Chinese Lanterns: Chinese lanterns come in all colors and sizes. You can hang a strand between two trees or from your patio umbrella. They are a more colorful alternative to white lights, but don’t scream “Christmas.”
Classic Lanterns: I love these Brinkmann Classic Lanterns. They are reasonable priced at $34.00 and are solar powered. What’s also nice is that they come fashioned with a stake, so it’s a cinch to put them on the ground and move them around.
Flood Lights: Flood lights are far too bright for outdoor entertaining, but they are excellent for deterring a burglar and lighting your way in the evening. Motion-activated flood lights will turn on when they sense movement. When you pull into your driveway at night, it’s so helpful to have a flood light.
However, you choose to create ambience, remember that you need enough light for guests to see their food and each other without it being too bright. Candles are always an option and can be used in conjunction with any of the above mentioned ideas.
Enjoy these last few months of warm weather by spending your evenings outdoors.