Exterior Lighting

How to Hang String Lights (Backyard String Lighting Ideas)

How to Hang String Lights Backyard String Lighting Ideas

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No outdoor lights create as much ambiance and atmosphere as outdoor string lights do. It is a popular type used as a backyard lighting idea because of its length of cable, versatility, and colors that let you get creative with the many ways to use them in your yard. You know the kind, 100s of LEDs spread out on flexible copper wire like the fairy lights in bedroom designs, except they are for outside and waterproofed.

Browsing around on Pinterest surely gives you lots of outdoor string lighting ideas and tips, but these images do not tell you how to hang the string lights for the best effect. With a few cable ties and hooks, you can achieve a whole new look for your outdoor living space, patio or porch.

General Tips for Hanging Outdoor String Lights

So whether you are looking at how to hang gazebo or pergola lights, or just want to bring some ambiance to your back porch or deck, we have put together these tips to help you and given you a starting point to get you on the road to choosing and hanging outdoor string lights.

Just like the fairy lights for bedroom ideas, each outdoor fairy light design and pattern requires different steps. Check out the tips below to help you with hanging your outdoor string lights.

1. End Near an Outlet

Weatherproof Power Outlet

If you chose electric string lights to use on your yard or porch then, although it may seem obvious, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you start at the right end and end up with enough length of the string lights to reach a waterproof and weather-resistant external outlet.

A few tips to follow when working out how to hang string lights are, how long do you need your string lights to be to do the design you want and will you need extra wiring for the outdoor hanging lights to reach an external outlet.

If you are planning on having quite a few lights, it might be worth drawing a layout plan of what you are going to put where and ensure you have everything you need to use to hand.

A ladder to reach those just out of reach spots, especially if you are putting lights on your patio roof or under the guttering, any hooks or screw hook you might need to use to hang the lights on.

If you want to take the easy way to hang outdoor string lights then choose a different type, one that avoids the electric supply completely. That is solar-powered LED string lights, this is not only energy efficient but a whole lot cheaper to run and easier to hang and use.

2. Use Solar Power LED String Lights

Waterproof Outdoor String Lights

The most energy-efficient and eco-friendly type of outdoor string lights uses LED light technology and work on solar power. Not only do they have very low running costs, but it is a lot easier to hang outdoor string lights as you don’t have to worry about the wiring.

The alternative to solar-powered LED string lights is battery powered LED string lights, again you don’t need wiring for this type of outdoor lights but you do have the fact that batteries will need replacing, which can be expensive and honestly, quite annoying as they normally fade just when you need the outdoor lights the most.

3. Use Waterproof or Weather Resistant Outdoor Lights

String Lighting for Fences

The biggest mistake you can make when hanging outdoor string lights for a deck area or on a fence is to use lights that are meant for indoors. Rain, strong winds and heat from the sun can all damage the lights and if they are plugged into an outlet it can be a safety issue as well.

Ideas for Backyard String Lights

Whether you are looking forward to summer barbecues, long evenings relaxing in your outdoor space or just having a hot chocolate under the stars on your deck when the warmer weather is upon us we will all be wanting to spend more time outdoors. And when this time comes around, you don’t want to be worrying about how to hang string lights, you will want your living space outside in the best shape so think ahead and plan.

We have put together these ideas to get you started! Below is a quick overview of how to fix outdoor string lights for the most popular ways of hanging outdoor lights. 

Outdoor Patio String Light Canopy

Outdoor Patio String Light Canopy

Lights are great for an atmosphere on a patio or deck space. One outdoor style you often see is a canopy of hanging outdoor lights.

For this outdoor string light decoration, we recommend you hang outdoor string globe string lights.

These create a comfortable light and will make your time out on your patio so much more pleasurable, but you do need to make sure that the string light canopy suits your needs. Some of these types have links that enable you to join several lengths together giving the lights room to stretch and fill the layout for your backyard space that you want.

Many globe string lights are technologically advanced when compared to the simpler types of string lights and include functions like dimmers, timers and color changing. This gives you more control over the type and brightness of the light for different activities like an outdoor dinner or cozy nightcap.

To create a string lights canopy on your patio you will need to plan ahead, work out where you are going to attach the lights, do you need to put posts in or do you have appropriate fixings? Are you going to be using a guy wire that you can then easily hang lights to with ties? Some options of globe string lights come with a kit and everything that you will need, such as screw hooks, and most come with full fixing instructions.

Here are some of our favorite LED string lights if you haven’t yet decided on which ones you want.

OUR #1 PICK
Starry LED String Fairy Lights (33ft)

  • 3000+ 5* Reviews
  • Indoor & Outdoor Use
  • Cozy Warm Glow
  • 33ft Long

Check Amazon →
Read our review
BRIGHTEST LIGHTS
Brightown Globe LED String Lights (25ft)

  • An Amazons Choice
  • 100+ 5* Reviews
  • Warm White Glow
  • 25 LED Bulbs

Check Amazon →
Read our review
SOLAR POWERED
Solar Powered Outdoor String Lights (72ft)

  • Solar Powered
  • 800+ 5* Reviews
  • Pack of 2
  • 8 Different Modes

Check Amazon →
Read our review

Now you should be at the next stage, Calculate how big your patio is and where you want to hang the lights. What is the length of the LED outdoor patio string lights that you need for your canopy design? Draw a plan of how much distance you want in between the rows so you don’t find yourself with too many or too few lights.

If you don’t want to go to any great lengths then you can also make a canopy in the outdoor space between trees, being careful not to damage the tree in the process. If you really want to go all out, why not check out some of this amazing LED light up furniture.

String Lights for Garden Plants and Trees

String Lights for Trees

Lights for outdoor trees and plants in the garden can make it look like a fairy tale. For this idea, we suggest curtain string lights and LED tube string lights.

LED curtain string lights work great on bushes because placing them can be easy, you can just gently lay them over the bush. Going for solar-powered lights makes your installation even easier and only takes a few seconds.

For trees, try using LED tube string lights or LED rope lights (again, solar-powered if you don’t want all the wiring). You could also go one step further and fit umbrella lights to your patio furniture for an extra touch of sophistication.

These are easy to wrap around tree trunks and since they are thicker than LED wire rope string lights they are also easier to navigate around branches.

Keep the on/off switch (and battery) hidden but still in an easy to place to reach, some options you can also install timers for the lights or the auto ON OFF as the daylight fades, so once you have put your lights in place you can simply set and forget.

P.s – Use the simple string lights for wrapping around plant buckets and other garden ornaments to really brighten your outdoor space.

Garden Path Lights

Using LED Rope Lights in Garden

LED tube string lights work well for creating straight lines but are still bendable which is why they are brilliant for garden path lighting and if that’s not enough check these other outdoor rope lighting ideas.

Place them along garden paths, at the edges of grass patches, ponds, and pools or on the edge of garden steps. If you’re looking to illuminate your garden pond properly, we’ve got a separate article for submersible pond lights for you to check out.

Light Up Fences

LED String Lighting in Garden

Create a pretty border around your house and hang lights on your fences and balconies. Wire string lights are quite sturdy and stay in place once bent which is why they are good for fences with many bends and loops, these also make brilliant lights for bedroom features as well, as outdoor lights can come inside.

Wrap the LED wire string lights around the fence, the more the prettier.

Connect all the string lights to a timer not only to save on electricity but to act as security lights, as a lit-up area can be a deterrent to any unwanted visitors in the night.

Make sure to follow the shape of the fence for the best visual. This makes the outdoor string lights look more natural and like it is part of the original fence design.

For decorative lights outdoors remember to choose the right type of LED string lights for your specific backyard light patterns and try to use solar power or battery-powered lights it.

Take a look in your backyard and see which parts would look better with more illumination if you hang outdoor string lights and then take these outdoor lighting ideas and transform your garden into a cozier space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now we have given you the low down on hanging your ideal outdoor lights so you can sit back in your backyard and relax knowing that you will have the perfect illuminations for your garden and deck areas.

How to hang fairy lights?

Most fairy lights are easy to hang. With screw hooks or adhesive hooks placed approximately every 20 inches, fasten your string lights along the top of your backyard perimeter fence for full effect and enjoyment of the lights, ensuring that you have enough wire to finish in the correct position for plugging in.

How to hang fairy lights on wall?

If you want to hang your fairy lights on your backyard wall without damaging the wall then you can use the modern adhesive hook that is on the market, but, if your lights are going to be permanent the tacks, etc can be used quite easily. It is even easier should you already have a wire or coax fixed as you can use plastic ties to fasten the lights to that.

How to hang outdoor string lights?

Is your backyard in need of some sparkle and shine lights? There are various ways that you can hang outdoor string lights but the easiest is to make use of furniture or planters and trees that are already in the backyard.

Simply wind and shape them along the spokes of your patio umbrella, around the trunk of a tree or place them carefully into a bush. Alternatively, run them from the house to a post and back again forming a canopy of lights over your deck area or garden.

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