How to Enhance Your Outdoor Spaces with String Lights
Pink Sunset Behind String Lights and Palm Trees at a Party in Palm Springs
Adding string lights is a great way to enhance your outdoor space.

A Bright Idea to Elevate Your Space

Looking for a way to create ambiance for your outdoor space? Consider setting up string lights! With perfect year-round evening weather, the desert lifestyle is ideal for outdoor entertaining. Whether you are hosting guests or simply enjoying a quiet evening outside, hanging string lights around your patio and other outdoor areas is the perfect way to create a magical, warm ambiance, while making your backyard look amazing. The best part about this lighting method? There is no professional design experience required to attractively light your outdoor spaces with string lights.

Our friends at American Home Shield put together some tips to create a space for entertaining and relaxing that will be the envy of your social circle. Read on to learn how to add string lights to your backyard.

Select a Brand That Is Always in Stock

Grabbing some deeply discounted outdoor lights during a big sale is always tempting. However, you might not be able to buy more lights of the same type if you need to replace a bulb or decide you want to add a few more strings to your space. The same applies to buying a box of generic brand string lights to save some money. For these reasons, you should buy a reputable brand that is sold year-round. You can purchase bistro or café string lights at most big-box home stores. It is always a good idea to pick up an extra box or two for replacement bulbs or expanding your lighting set up, just in case.

Remove Glass Bulbs Prior to Hanging

An Edison bulb is part of a larger string of lights, hanging over a nondescript green background of foliage.
Remove glass bulbs prior to hanging your lights to avoid accidentally breaking them.

When you are hanging glass string lights, make sure you remove the bulbs prior to hanging. The key is to avoid having them bang against each other while you’re putting up the strings so tucking them away somewhere safe during this process ensures you don’t accidentally crack or break a bulb. Once the strings have been hung and your connectors are secured, you can place the bulbs back into the sockets.

Use Coaxial Staples to Secure Strings

When you hang your strings make sure you are using coaxial staples to secure them. Coaxial staples are available at most home improvement stores and are the best way to affix string lights to wood, like trees, railings, posts, or the outside of your home. When you pick up a bag of staples, make sure they are the right size for your strings.

Decide Where to Hang Your Lights First

Strands of string lights hang between a home and a wall with a twilight sky in the background.
Before you do anything, decide the best way to hang your string lights.

Before you hang your first strand of lights, your first step is to plan where and how you are going to install them. Decorating an outdoor space with string lights can be logistically difficult depending on your space. You will need to create a layout that minimizes the need to install new posts, as well as one that works with your existing number of power sources. When coming up with a layout, be sure to use existing features like trees, railings, patio overhangs, and the exterior walls of your home, garage, gazebo, or outbuildings.

Another consideration for your lights is to go with a string light brand that allows you to connect multiple strings. This will allow you to drape them across open spaces or wrap them around trees or posts and still have enough length to reach an electrical outlet. Most common big-box store brands allow you to connect up to five strings of lights, so you can get as far as 60 feet away from a power source with your lights.

To Cross or Not to Cross?

Crossing string lights can create an interesting dynamic for square and rectangular spaces. However, if you have an irregularly shaped space you may want to stick to a design where your lights fan out in a wedge pattern from a single point. To help visualize how different arrangement would look, experiment with different designs for your space with a rough sketch using paper and a pencil. You should also consider how the lights will look in the daytime.

Use Tape to Secure Connectors

If you are using multiple set of string lights for your space, the weight of multiple strands can cause the connection to loosen as they hang. You can secure the connectors with electrical tape to ensure they stay plugged into each other. Use tape that is the same color as the cord to create a seamless look.

Leave a Little Slack

Multiple strands of string lights illuminate the dark, with a close-up shot of several rounded Edison-style bulbs in focus.
Elevate the look of your string lights by leaving a little slack so they hang slightly over your space.

If your outdoor lights are going to be hung over an open space, loosen the line so they hang down a bit. You can achieve this look by making sure the hanging points at either end of your light strands are level with each other. Then, leave a little slack in the middle of the string instead of pulling it taught.

String lights add much-needed illumination for evenings outside and are a stylish way to spruce up your outdoor entertaining space. With planning and the right tools, you can decorate your patio, porch, deck, or garden in no time.

Bennion Deville Homes assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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