After the sun goes down on a warm day it’s tempting to linger in the garden. You’ll need lighting to make the most of it but it’s time to move away from standard off-the-shelf options. Transform your outdoor space into a paradise with clever DIY lighting that sparkles, twinkles and flickers. Here are three simple lighting hacks using candles or tea lights.

As always, think safety first. If you’re concerned about candles or tea lights becoming a fire hazard (especially if it’s windy), use an LED candle or tea light. And extinguish all flames before going to bed.

Lighting hacks - a simple glass jar

It’s not difficult to set tea lights in a simple glass jar. The flickering flame illuminates in a way that can’t quite be matched by artificial lighting – although LED lights are getting better and better. It’s subtle and flattering, allowing you and your guests to relax and enjoy the evening.

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Jar lights. © Pauline Mak and reused under

A clear glass jar will do or find coloured ones. The heavier the better, so Kilner or Mason jars (sold for making jam or other preserves) are good. You can twist strong wire around the top of the jar, securing it firmly, to hang the jar from branches.

Ananda shows you how here, using safety googles, pliers, wire coat hangers, tea lights and a jar.

Lighting hacks - glowing shells

This simple idea from Martha Stewart makes a beautiful table arrangement for the evening. It's so easy to make.

Place pairs of large shells in a shallow tray of sand with a votive candle between them. Make sure there is room for the flame. Place the tray where it can be admired as you relax in comfort, alone or in company.

Lighting hacks - a tin can

You can upcycle a tin can into a lamp by punching holes in it with a hammer and nail. Mysterious and somehow moody is how I’d describe the quality of the light.

lighting hacks

Tin can lantern. © Elin B and reused under

To prevent denting, Karen supports the tin with a piece of wood. Other people fill the tin with water and freeze it. You can find more lighting hacks here, from our friends over at who have created a handy guide for lighting up your outdoor spaces.

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Tin can lantern. © Pauline Mak and reused under

Beautiful light for beautiful evenings.