Patio season is coming to Canada! As the weather finally begins to warm up, many Canadians are looking forward to long weekends spent on the patio. After being trapped inside all winter, there’s nothing like cracking open a beer and firing up the grill or lingering long into the evening with a glass of wine. But many Canadians have a problem with their backyard patios and cottage decks. Once the sun goes down, their lighting is unpleasant.

Backyard lights tend to be harsh and overly bright. While it’s an effective security measure, especially if you have motion sensor lights, they’re not particularly pleasant for a relaxing or romantic night on your back deck. Yet going with no light at all can also feel hostile and uninviting, especially up at the cottage where every snap of a twig in the distance reminds you that bears still roam the Canadian wilderness. There are better ways to light up your backyard or the deck at your cottage. Consider some of these new lighting options whether you’re in the city or by the lake.

#1 Background String Lights

String lights or fairy lights are a great way to add ambiance to any backyard. Sometimes they can steal the show, though. Hanging string lights in the background, such as on a fence or a wall creates a great background effect with low, warm light.

#2 Café-Style String Lights

Another trick with string lights is to set them up café-style, strung over your deck (particularly where your table and chairs are) in criss-crossing lines. The overhead lighting won’t be too intense and it will create a garden patio atmosphere that will make you think you’ve taken a trip to a Mediterranean winery.

#3 Lanterns

Hanging lanterns or mason jar-lights add a beautiful soft glow to any backyard patio. Hang them from trees, off of a pergola, or attach them to your home. If you don’t have too many options for places to hang them, post lights may be a better option. There are also deck lights that you can attach to deck railings to create a low, consistent source of light all around your deck.

#4 Ground Lighting

Solar lights planted into the ground are one of the most reliable ways to light up pathways. They make excellent lighting between your front door and the driveway, while up at the cottage they can light up the ground between the deck and the lake. You’re going to want these to stop yourself from tripping over rocks and roots on your way down to the dock.

#5 Table Lighting

Last but not least, consider the lighting on any tables you have outside. They may be candles or lights on tables or just at table-height. They create a warm glow from the center of any dinner party.

From the city to the country, lighting can transform your backyard at night. Make it a welcoming, warm place to linger long into the evening with these tricks.