How to Hang String Lights (Backyard String Lighting Ideas)

Heather Clouse
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General Tips for Hanging Outdoor String Lights

Decide what height makes you happy. Hanging lights for ambiance is very different from string lights for a party. Decide on how high you want your lights to hang and how long you want them too. Another great rule of thumb is that you should position the lights no further that 8-10 feet apart.

Buy lights with bulbs for the measurement you decided on. Light sets come in all sorts of varieties and it’s easy to accidentally get the wrong diameter if you’re not paying attention. The diameter of the bulb is what you will need to know when determining how much string is needed.

Got a wide backyard? Use more string lights. A narrow yard may only need 2-3 strings.

Purchase extra bulbs. If you’ve used outdoor lighting in the past, you probably already know that bulbs burn out on a regular basis and it’s good to have extra bulbs on hand.

Remember, the more you use, the more you’ll need replacements.

Be sure to screw the bulbs into place and wear gloves while doing so. String lights are pretty, but they’re also sharp. Scraping across your skin is pretty much the last thing you want to be doing while setting up lights.

End Near an Outlet

The most important guideline to remember when you’re hanging string lights is to have them end near an outlet. If you’re hanging them from a tree, you’ll need to have an extension cord nearby.

If you’re hanging them from a building, you’ll need to have a window nearby. You don’t want to be running extension cords or electrical cords up the tree or across the roof to power the lights.

Use Solar Power LED String Lights

How to light up the backyard? Reflective solar powered LED string lights are a great solution for this.

They are easy to install, and hence you can have them installed in no time, maybe even in preparation for your next party.

They can be used in almost any occasion including: parties, holidays, weddings, concerts, backyard patio, garden, deck and so on.

The solar powered option is the best because it eliminates the hassle of looking for outlets and wires. It’s just a matter of hanging the lights!

Also, solar LED string lights run on AAs, which can be a challenge for people who do not have adequate lighting in their backyard. The sun will charge the AA batteries, and the string lights will run all night and now have to be concerned about finding an outlet, paying the electricity bill or even replacing light bulbs.

Let natural light do the job for you by converting it into solar power with your backyard LED light strings. They are also lightweight, water-resistant, and portable.

Use Waterproof or Weather Resistant Outdoor Lights

You will not only be using the string lights outdoors but they will also be exposed to any possible elements like rain, humidity, etc.

So choose a string lighting set, which is waterproof or weather resistant, i.e. they can’t be found in splinters when used without any spare parts.

Ideas for Backyard String Lights

You don’t need to go to an overpriced outdoor furniture store or resort to enjoy outdoor lighting. You can add your own lighting any time without having to spend much on expensive decorations.

String lights are a great solution as they are easily adapted to any setting.

String lights can be used to light up the whole backyard or just specific places. They can also come in handy inside your home.

String lights are not expensive and some companies offer some great deals on packages with long strands of LED lights offered in multiple colors. You can get more bang for your buck so to speak.

The first step in hanging string lights is to determine where you want the lights to be. Look around and see where you want them to highlight important features, such as the pool or deck, or above your seating area.

You may also want to put lights in specific places to separate the areas, such as along the fence. Alternatively, you can simply run one strand of lights around your entire yard for a more uniform look.

Outdoor Patio String Light Canopy

Different ways and techniques of string light laying can add to the visual appeal of your home’s patio.

Here’s one strategy you can use to make the most of your outdoor space.

All it takes is a trip to the hardware store, a few tools and a little talent. Just visualize how you want your patio to look like and find the items you need to realize that vision.

Firstly, measure the footprint of the area you are going to light. You will have to use many strings so make sure you have enough beforehand. Buy strings of bulbs that line the path and are the right length and shape.

Floodlight outdoor patio strings don’t have a problem with large spaces since they throw light in several directions and are not as focused as lamp strings. If you plan to have a patio set surrounded by these strings, you should consider getting the lamps that do not cast that much light on the ground.

Most importantly, make sure all lights are tested before installation in case there are any issues.

Hanging the strings is best done the night before the installation. The wires should be hung vertically and strung across the patio.

Make sure the strings are evenly spaced to create a balanced geometry.

String Lights for Garden Plants and Trees

Are you looking for more back yard lighting ideas?

Here’s a simple way to hang string lights for your backyard garden plants and trees.

Materials Needed

  • Tree branches
  • Garden twine
  • twine cutting scissors
  • Candles
  • electric outlet


Step 1:

Choose a material and spacing for your string lights. Then decide where you would like to place the string lights in your garden.

Step 2:

Next, cut a length of twine that is 4 times the height of your branch. For example, if you choose the branch to be 20 inches tall, cut your twine strand to be 80 inches long.

Step 3:

Tie a double overhand knot at one end of the twine. Then tie a double overhand knot at the other end of the strand.

Step 4:

Position your branch against your tree trunk. Then use the overhand knots as a place to hook the side of your branch.

Step 5:

Put an overhand knot at the top of the branch and hang the twine.

Step 6:

Poke the tip of the branch through the twine as you slide the knot up the branch.

Step 7:

Garden Path Lights

Hanging string lights inside can be very functional. They are a great decorative lighting for any room in the house and is most commonly used in the bedroom.

If you want to get the most function out of your lights, you need to think about where you are going to put them and choose lights that are best able to accent your room design.

For example, if you want to give a room a modern feel, you can hang string lights with opaque, vintage lamps or flashes for a more sleek design and have them give off a bright white glow.

For a rustic touch, mixing clear and colored strands, small globular lights and lanterns will give off a more vintage outdoor feel.

You can also hang them outdoors, in your garden or balcony with plants.

Light Up Fences

Decorate your garden and patio with string lights by hanging them on fences, arches, pergolas, and trees.

Be sure that when you purchase your string lights you select the correct type (twinkle or non-twinkle). You will also need to determine how long you want them to be.

Make sure you purchase more lights than you think you’ll need to cover the desired area. If you purchase too few, you may need to purchase more lights. String lights are inexpensive; the nicer it looks the fewer lights you can use.

If you’re hanging string lights on a fence, weave them into the top portions of the fence. Use a piece of twine to hang the lights. If there is no space between the fence planks, use zip ties to hang the string lights.

For arches and pergolas you can hang the lights straight down from the top of the structures creating a pathway for guests to walk on. If you do choose to hang the lights from an arch, make sure that you purchase the correct length.

You may want to hang them with nails or zip ties depending on the top of the structure. You can hang string lights from trees using zip ties as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to keep my string lights from burning down my house?

Securely installing your string lights outside your home is essential for safety and security. As string lights have grown in popularity, so has the availability of outdoor string light accessories like string light clips or hangers.

Buy a hanger for your lights or make your own. String lights can be dangerous if they aren’t installed correctly. Lights have been known to catch on fire because of bad wiring or improper clamping.

Choose a sturdy, even surface where the light can’t move much (if not at least 6 inches from the edge of any surface that could touch your lights). It’s always best to use outdoor rated lights. Keep the lights out of the sun, and make sure they remain dry.

My String Lights Won’t Turn on …

If your string lights won’t turn on, there may be a problem with the connection in the plug. The plug should have two or three decorative silver or gold pins on the end. Make sure the string lights are plugged into the plug correctly.

If you have a set of extra bulbs, you can test if the problem is the bulbs by switching them out with new ones.

How to hang fairy lights?

There are many uses for string lights, and they’re not all for decoration.

String lights make excellent lights for when you’re working outside at night, or even provide useful light indoors during a power failure.

There are various options when it comes to how to hang string lights. You can hang them from a fence, patio canopy, or deck.

You can use an existing structure to mount your lights or you can install a purpose built light stand.

If you see a post already in your backyard, you can just drape the string lights over it.

If you are not sure how to hang string lights from a post, you’ll need to instead install a tension rod.

Hanging your light from a tension rod attached to a homemade light stand is the easy way to mount a temporary or semi-permanent string light display.

How to hang fairy lights on wall?

Use zip ties. These guys are inexpensive, and they’re strong enough to keep up the weight of the lights.

Chances are good that you have a few laying around. Pick some up at the local hardware store.

How to hang string lights on a house wall?

Drill holes in the wall.– It’s the easiest and the most permanent application, so it’s perfect for the concrete/brick exterior of your house. Drill a hole for each pull string. Drill a big enough hole to accommodate the zip tie’s head.

“You don’t need to go overboard”, says theBunkerBrothers. You want a hole that’s about 1/4”. Too big and your zip ties will come out easily. Too small and you’ll mangle them and/or strip the plastic when you try to force them in.

Also, make sure to put the holes far enough apart that your zip ties don’t touch each other.

How to hang outdoor string lights?