How to Hang Patio Lights

By Kelli Harvey | Updated Aug 19, 2021
How to Hang Patio Lights - Popular Outdoor Lighting Ideas

How to Hang Patio Lights

Patio Lights Hanging Across a Backyard Deck
Patio Lights Hanging Across a Backyard Deck

Where To Hang Patio Lights

Backyard Patio & Party Lights

Patio Lights Planning

Select the Best Patio Lights for Your Space

How to Hang Patio Lights FAQ

What size pole / post should I use?

2x2 or 2x4 wood is not recommended. A 4x4 post securely placed in the ground is typically sufficient for most backyard patio light applications. If your lighting display is more complex and you have many string light runs being supported from a single post, a 6x6 post can be used. It is larger, provides even more stability, and gives you more surface area to attach your strings, if needed.

How far should I sink the post?

If using concrete, most display applications that are 8' to 10' off ground benefit from posts sunk about 24" to 36". This is approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the post's height being sunk underground and secured with concrete. For taller applications in the 10' to 15' height range we recommend sinking the post 1/3 of the way in the ground.

How far apart should poles be spaced?

Pole spacing is based on personal preference and the needs unique to the space you are trying to decorate. For example, more complex patio string light patterns may require the use of additional poles.

When should a guy wire be used?

We recommend the use of guy or guide wire on longer light runs and projects where large, heavy patio bulbs are being used. When you stretch light wires between two points, there is constant lateral tension. It's kind of like a perpetual tug of war on your light strings, which isn't ideal. By using guy wire between two anchor points instead of the light string, you're removing the tug of war completely which means the lights you worked so hard to install are less likely to fall or sag over time.

How high should lights be hung off the ground?

Patio light display scenarios can vary widely and it's not uncommon to see lights hung at very different heights even from one end to another. Generally, though, it's good to have lights 8-10' off the ground at a minimum just so there's walking clearance. If you are using larger bulbs, you may want to consider raising the height of your display further, based on personal preference.

What hardware should be used to attach lights to a post?

Hanging hardware like cable clamps are typically sufficient for most applications. Use the appropriate screw or bolt for your hanging surface and ensure the cable clamp is secure. Additional clamps can be used to secure the ends if needed.

How can lights be attached to a tree?

Because trees have varying bark types, traditional cable clamps can work but may require longer screws to ensure the clamp is secured to the tree. Alternative hardware includes things like C hooks (sometimes called bicycle hooks) that can be inserted into a tree and then the string light can be attached to the C hook hardware.

Do you have a helpful patio lights installation tip or idea that you'd like to share, or questions about hanging patio lights? Let us know in the comments below!

Patio Lights Hanging Across a Backyard Space!
Patio Lights Hanging Across a Backyard Space!
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