If you're hoping to spend a lot of time on your porch this coming spring and summer and want to add some ambience with outdoor candles, always remember to take fire safety into account. It is possible to safely burn candles outdoors, and considering four issues when setting up the candles will help you find the best place to put them.

Isolate the Candles

You know you have to keep lit candles away from things like curtains and papers inside your home, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that you have to keep candles away from plants, streamers, canopy covers, and other flammable items outside the home. Keep all candles at least 1 foot away from flammable items; more if the wind is blowing and moving branches, leaves, and sections of cloth or paper toward the flame. Keep candles at least 3 inches away from each other.

Keep Flames Covered

One of the dangers of burning a candle outdoors is that something can fall onto the flame, like a leaf falling off a tree. Keep the candle flame covered to prevent items from touching the flame. Candle lanterns that have top covers will work well. Note that you still have to monitor the candle and immediately remove anything that falls on the lantern because heat generated by the top of the lantern can be enough to ignite anything that touches the lantern material. Candle lanterns can be found from companies like Alive With Items.

Watch the Flame Quality

Once you light the candle, even if you're keeping it in an enclosed lantern, watch the flame quality. If the flame is constantly flickering or grows very large, put out the flame and inspect the candle once it's cooled down. You may have to trim the wick; if you do that, and the flame is still inconsistent or too large, replace the candle.

Use Electric/Solar

Nothing says you have to use actual flame to achieve that glowing effect. Lots of LED candles with batteries are available; you can find solar versions as well. You can use these on their own, or place them in a lantern for looks. You still don't want to let leaves fall on the electric candles just because of the minute risk of something going wrong with the battery or any of the circuits. But electric/solar candles are very safe overall.

If you'd like to see styles of outdoor candle lanterns that help you keep candles contained, visit a garden center, gift shop, or online retailer of garden ornaments. You'll find many lanterns that have sturdy bases yet still have that lovely, delicate look that lanterns are supposed to have.