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How to hang string lights outdoor

How to hang string lights outdoor

When it comes to improving the ambiance of your outdoor space, nothing works better than stylish outdoor string lights. The soft glow these lights give can virtually transform an uninspiring patio or ordinary backyard into a great get-together space for hosting your friends

If you have strategically-placed trees or fence, putting up string lights outdoor is a cinch. That said, sprucing up your backyard or patio doesn’t take a lot even if there are no trees or fence. All it takes is some additional supplies and a bit more of your time.

Continue reading to find out how to hang festive lights over your patio, deck, garden, balcony, or any other outdoor space.

A Few Pointers Before You Begin

  • Select the spot where you want to hang the festive lights. Also, check for a power outlet. If there’s no power source outdoor, make sure you have an extension cord with you
  • Select the light configuration and get a rough estimate of the length of string lights you will need
  • Give cheap, low-quality string lights a pass; instead, invest in quality string lights approved for outdoor use. These lights are usually waterproof and more durable, giving you a better bang for your buck in the long run

Tips for Hanging String Lights

  1. First, identify the spots where you will need mounting support. Lay out the string lights on the ground in the exact configuration that you’ve decided. Next, using a pencil mark a big X where you require support for holding the lights up

Fences, trees, or pergola roofs are ideal existing support, provided they are placed at the right place. In case they are, you just need to mark the spots where mounting hooks will be. If they aren’t placed in a good position, check out the next step.


  1. You should consider using either string light suspension kit or mounting hardware or both. You can mount outdoor string lights in two ways: (a) attached to a durable wire or (b) completely on their own. While it is not absolutely necessary that you mount them to a durable wire, but doing so can help you maintain tension, which can make things easier if you want to hang festive lights over a fairly large area. Using a mounting wire also makes sense if the backyard is particularly breezy.
  • How to hang string lights without using a wire: You’ll need to screw a cup hook into the tree trunk, pergola, fence or wall. Before you can put the screw in, you might have to drill a hole
  • How to hang string lights using a wire: If you have decided to use a wire, buy a wire hanging kit. Besides a sturdy wire, it includes suspension hardware (lock clamps, pad eyes, snap hooks, and turnbuckles). Instructions to install the wire will be included in the kit, so follow them.


  1. Hanging patio lights: After you have strung up the wire or installed the cup hooks, you’re all set to hang the outdoor string lights. If you an outdoor outlet, plug your lights into it. Otherwise, use an extension cord. Now, position first string blub next to your mounting hardware and make sure the spacing is correct. Now unplug you lights so that you can hang the remaining of the string according to the pattern you decided. Once you have installed the lights, plug into the extension cord or exterior outlet (if available).


Tips for Hanging String Lights in an Outdoor Space without Trees

What you should do if trees or walls are not in the right place for hanging festive lights?

Nothing much, really. You just need to put in a tad bit of additional effort.

Along your wood fence. Is your wood fence high enough for installing the lights over it? If yes, that’s great. But if that’s not the case, don’ worry. You can attach wooden posts with cup hooks. This is an excellent way for increasing the height of your lights. You can space the posts about 8-9 feet apart or along your fence posts.

On a concrete patio or deck. In case there are no natural supports, consider putting posts into sturdy planters that are filled with gravel. Alternately, you may use buckets that are filled with concrete. Make sure each post has a hook on its top and position the buckets or planters along the length of your patio. Next, put up your festive lights between them.

While this is a useful workaround, it has two obvious drawbacks. Firstly, you will be dealing with buckets that have concrete and heavy planters. Secondly, if your backyard is quite big, the supports may experience a considerable pull, which in turn result in buckets tipping over.   

Hanging Outdoor Strings Lights on Your Covered Patio

Hanging festive lights is a cinch when you already have a suitable existing structure. All you need to do is attach cup hooks at regular spacing along your covered porch, pergola, or patio.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you leave festoon lights outside?

These lights are a great choice for special occasions, like weddings, get-together, and more. With just a little effort, you can transform any outdoor space into a perfect party-ready space.

  1. What height festoon lights should be?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as it all depends on what best works for you. Having said that, generally experts recommending putting string lights no more than 3.5 meters up.

  1. Are festoon lights waterproof?

Reliable, versatile, and durable, these lights are also waterproof. Which means you can use them in rain (or snow) without a worry.

  1. Do festoon lights use a lot of electricity?

If you settle for incandescent bulbs, the answer is yes. These bulbs can use up to 90 percent more energy than LED light bulbs. This goes to show using the latter is always a smarter option.