How to Hang Outdoor String Lights

Suspended string lights can transform your backyard from an unpretentious, low-light space to one with the perfect amount of warm glow.

Turn on these string lights and you have an instant great environment to chat over drinks for hours into the night.

Suspended string lights also expand your home on warm evenings, so kids can play and mingle outside with friends, even after sunset.

Before you start, you can connect your suspended rope lights to existing anchor points, like the house, or free-standing poles built for the purpose of hanging lights.

Or you can choose a combination of the two, such as turning on gable lights on a house and ending up on a separate pole.

Existing anchor points

If possible, it is best to connect suspended rope lights to existing anchor points, such as the house, deck, or trees.

This not only eliminates the hassle of making posts, but existing anchor points tend to be solid, permanent, and better integrated into your garden footprint.

Remember that rope lights will fall off, so you will need to find anchor points that are at least a foot or two above your head.

Individual posts

When you don't already have solid anchor points, you can create your own independent anchor posts.

Placing an 8- or 10-foot 2-by-2 in a concrete-filled wide-base container produces enough anchor post to support one end of a series of 25-foot suspended lamps.

This can be combined with another anchor post or with an existing solid anchor point.

Security Considerations

Be careful when working on the ladder. For the facade, cladding, and gables of the house, you will need an extendable ladder.

Have an assistant hold the ladder securely while you work. On extension ladders, never exceed the length of a comfortable arm.

For freestanding anchor posts, the container must have a wide base to prevent it from tipping over. The bottom should not be rounded.

Do not hang rope lights suspended only by wires. Instead, use steel cables and eyebolts to hold the cables.

Equipment tools

  • Cordless drill
  • Drills and screwdrivers
  • Extendable ladder
  • Bubble level
  • Garden hoe
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel

Materials

  • Outdoor Balloon String Lights
  • Outside level extension cord
  • 6 bags of ready-mixed concrete
  • 2 10-gallon plastic planting containers
  • 2 2 to 2 treated with a pressure of 8 or 10 feet
  • 2 3/8 inch eyebolts, with nuts and washers
  • 1 1/8 inch gauge per 30 foot cable
  • 2 wire rope thimbles (1/8 inch)
  • 2 steel cable clamps
  • 1 pack of zip ties

Instructions

Create freestanding poles for ceiling lights

#1: Concrete mix
For a 10-gallon container, mix two to three 60-pound bags of fast-setting concrete in a wheelbarrow.

Have an assistant add water from a garden hose while you mix the concrete with the hoe.

#2: Place post
Place the column two by two vertically in the container. Check the post to see the plumb bubble level.

Ask the assistant to hold the post in place.

#3: Pour the concrete
Working quickly, scoop out the concrete with a shovel. Ask the assistant to check the plumb bob as you add concrete.

In a few minutes, the concrete will begin to harden. Wash the wheelbarrow while you wait for the concrete to harden.

#4: Add eye bolt

Six inches below the top of the column, drill a 1/2 inch diameter hole. Slide in the eye bolt and tighten the nut and washer on the other side.

#5: Add wire rope to the eye bolt

Open the end of the thimble and place it over the eye bolt. Pass 10 cm of steel cable through the eye. Fold the wire rope over the thimble.

Add the clamp, using a wrench to tighten the clamp over the cable.

#6: Install the second anchor

If you connect the other end to a separate column, build the column as you did the first.

Pull the wire rope through the eyebolt of the second column with enough force so that it is at least 2.13 meters high.

#7: Add string lights

Attach the string lights to the wire rope with additional zip ties every 18 to 24 inches.

#8: String Lights Plugin

You will need an external GFCI outlet nearby in order to connect the lights.

Connect the string lights to the extension cord. Route the cable to the GFCI socket and connect it.

Ideas for suspended light anchor points

We hope you enjoy watching this video about how to hang outdoor string lights:

Source: Longview Lights
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