Hanging outdoor lights across the backyard, deck or inside of an outdoor structure like a gazebo or pergola is a perfect way to add ambient landscape lighting for everyday use, parties and outdoor events. Taking your parties outside at night is always a plus.
Hanging outdoor string lighting is not that much difficult, but does require some planning. You need the right product, the right tools and a design in mind when hanging the string lights. Patio string lights have the unique ability to make any outdoor space more exciting. Let’s walk through it.
Materials and Tools for Hanging String Lights
The installation process can vary depending on where and how you decide to hang your patio lights. Supplies you might need are
- Hooks- these could be screw-in hooks or another variety.
- Zip ties
- Guy wire kit
- String lights
- Extension cord
- Wall anchors
- Ladder, screwdriver, drill etc.
Where to Hang String Lights
String lights can be placed virtually anywhere in the yard or around the property. Some ideas on where to hang string lights include:
- Between trees
- Along the fence line
- Around a tree trunk and into the branches
- Between walls
- On patio railings and balustrades
- Up pergola posts and across overhead beams
- Along a single wall, as a hanging grid or an overhead edging
- Installed on the permanent yard or patio posts
How to Hang String Lights
However, is there any way to hang string light up without putting nails into the wall? Yes! outdoor lights can be hung in several ways without nails. In most cases, hanging lights without nails is safer, less expensive, and easier in the long run. Some of these ways include:
- Outdoor plants as hangers
- Using adhesive hooks
- The deck railing
- Using Hot Glue on Brick, Concrete, and Stucco
- Draping Lights for Accents
- Hanging Lights on 4×4 Posts
- Along the Fence and Poll Lighting
The first step to a flawless patio light design is making sure you know the dimensions of your space. Draw a rough sketch of the area where you plan to hang your lights and writing the measurements on your drawing for quick reference later. This sketch will come in handy when you pick your hanging pattern.
Glue on Hooks
One of the easiest ways to install patio lights without using any nails is to glue on hooks. When you want to hang up your patio lights, simply peel off the paper covering the adhesive and attach the hook to the wall. The benefit of using this kind of hook is that they are pretty strong, and you can remove them at any time without dealing with holes in your wall, which you would have if you would have used screws. However, there are some downsides, as well.
Use Tape and Staples
If you can’t find adhesive hooks or are afraid that the adhesive will be too strong, you can always use tape instead. Try to use clear tape, as that will be less noticeable. A clear tape will also leave less residue adhesive when peeled off.
An alternative to using tape is to use staples. The benefit of staples is that they are generally more secure than tape. The tape can get loose, especially when it rains, causing your patio lights to fall. On the other hand, staples can also ruin your house. Of course, staples are only good for specific kinds of walling, particularly wood.
Using Your Backyard
One of the best ways to hang outdoor lights is by using the trees and plants in your backyard. For trees, you’ll need to measure the length of the string lights that you have and measure the length of the trees. If the length of your lights is longer than the distance between the two trees, then you are good to go. Start by drilling holes into the trees where you want to string your lights through, and then string the lights through those holes. Soon your backyard will light up, and you’ll be able to have an illuminated backyard party.
Looping the Lights Around a Deck
If you have an outdoor deck space in your backyard, it can be another great space to hang lights especially if the deck is where the gathering happens! Take the lights and move them around the top railings of the deck.
Along the Fence Lighting
String lights along your fence. This adds so much depth and intimacy to your backyard. It’s also perfect way to showcase your backyard. Just make sure you have the power source for the outdoor string lights along the fence.
Gazebo or Pergola or Covered Patio String Lights
If you have a pergola or gazebo, you can string the lights around or inside the structures.
String Lights on Umbrella
If you don’t have a gazebo, but you have an umbrella, you can add string lights to it. Then you can keep the umbrella open at night to showcase the lighting. If you prefer, you can also look for umbrellas that already have integrated lighting in them.
Wrap lights around the trunk of a tall tree to light it without a ladder.
Use an extension cord to run the lights to the tree, and then wrap the lights around the tree trunk up until you reach the first branch, leaving 6 inches (15 cm) of space in between the strands of lights. Then, wrap the lights back down to the bottom of the trunk, passing through the middle of the space between the strands.
Create an “S” design over the front of the shrubs to make a random pattern.
Plug in a strand of mini-lights and start on the closest side of one bush. Snake the lights through the foliage in a winding shape from the bottom of the shrub to the top, only covering the front and some of the top of the shrub. This lighting technique gives the effect of randomly dispersed lights throughout the shrubs.
Square or Grid
Hang patio lights in straight lines across the length and width of your space to create a grid, or keep it simple by outlining just the perimeter of your space in a square shape. This design is an instant mood setter.
Zig Zag or “W”
Zig Zag patterns are a fun choice when you want to add full coverage illumination across your space but desire a more interesting light design. This can be achieved with one long light string or through the use of multiple strings connected end to end.
The Sun Ray
Similar to the V in that the light strings all anchor to one central point and fan out, however, this design requires more hanging locations opposite of the central horizon point. This technique for hanging patio lights is typically used in professional installations for events and restaurant patio seating.
Tent or Maypole Design
The tent or maypole design features multiple light strings anchored in a spoke and wheel arrangement from one central point. This point, typically either a pole or beam needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of multiple light strings and may require professional installation.
The X Factor
Want overhead lighting in a pinch? The simple crisscross delivers easily and affordably. While it works best in square spaces, you can also try it over a long dining table.
Hanging patio lights outside will simply improve your quality of life. You will be able to spend time with your family on the patio at night, provided the weather is warm. You will also be able to hang out, read, work, or watch Netflix outside at night. It will simply enable you to enjoy your patio much more.