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How To Hang Outdoor Patio Lights? String Lights

Honestly, I never paid much attention to patio lights until a friend invited me over for a backyard barbecue.

My first attempt at hanging patio lights was not the best. Tangled wires, lopsided lights….I almost called an electrician! But I stuck with it, and it was worth it.

Patio lights create a sense of intimacy and wonder, transforming an ordinary outdoor space into a cozy and inviting retreat.

They’re also surprisingly easy to install, making it a simple DIY project that adds beauty and functionality to your home.

Why Install Patio Lighting?

  • Ambiance and Atmosphere: Patio lights are the ultimate mood-setter. Soft, warm lighting creates a cozy, inviting space for relaxation, while festive string lights can amp up the energy for gatherings.
  • Extended Functionality: Outdoor lighting allows you to enjoy your patio long after the sun goes down. Whether it’s dining al fresco, reading a book, or simply relaxing, patio lights extend the usability of your space.
  • Aesthetics: String lights add a touch of charm and beauty, instantly enhancing the look and feel of your outdoor space.
  • Safety and Security Illuminating your patio deters potential intruders and helps prevent accidents from tripping over unseen obstacles in the dark.
  • Increased Home Value: Well-designed outdoor lighting is attractive to potential buyers and can add to the overall value of your home.

Types Of Patio Lights

Festoon Lights for a Fun and Festive Ambiance

Festoon lights are large, globe-shaped bulbs strung on a long cord.

These lights cast a warm, inviting glow, perfect for outdoor parties, barbecues, or enjoying a relaxing.

I always think they add a touch of European cafe charm to a space.

Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are delicate strands strung with tiny LED bulbs. They emit a soft, twinkling light for ambiance.

These lights are ideal for draping around pergolas, trees, or fences, adding a touch of enchantment to your patio.

Since they’re typically LED, they’re also energy-efficient and long-lasting.

String Lights

String lights offer the most customization for patio lighting.

They come in various bulb styles (incandescent, LED, Edison bulbs), cord colors, and lengths. This versatility allows you to tailor the look and feel to your specific taste.

String lights can be draped in geometric patterns, zigzagged across the patio, or wrapped around posts for a more rustic touch. They’re a budget-friendly option that can be easily adapted to fit the size and layout of your space – the possibilities are endless!


While string lights provide general illumination, spotlights offer a more focused approach.

They’re ideal for highlighting specific features on your patio, such as a water feature, sculpture, or interesting plant life.

Spotlights come in various wattages and beam angles, allowing you to control the intensity and spread of light. Think of them as accent lighting for your outdoor space.

Step-By-Step Guide For Hanging String Lights On A Patio

  1. Plan Your Design: Before you start, visualize how you want your lights to hang. Consider:
    • Zigzag: For a playful, relaxed look.
    • Straight Lines: Creates a clean, elegant feel.
    • Perimeter: Outlines the edges of your patio.
    • Wrapping: Spiraling around posts, railings, or tree trunks.
  2. Gather Materials:
    • String Lights: Choose the type (festoon, fairy, etc.) and length that fits your design. LED lights are energy-efficient.
    • Mounting Hardware: Hooks (screw-in or adhesive), zip ties (optional), gutter clips (if applicable).
    • Extension Cord: If your outlet is far from your desired lighting area.
    • Tape Measure: To ensure even placement.
    • Ladder: If hanging lights in high areas.
  3. Install Hanging Points:
    • Utilize Existing Structures: Trees, fences, walls, and the eaves of your house are ideal.
    • Screw-in hooks: Drill pilot holes slightly smaller than the hooks for secure mounting.
    • Adhesive Hooks: Choose heavy-duty, weather-resistant options. Clean the surface thoroughly before applying.
    • Gutter Clips: Easy solution if your patio is surrounded by gutters.
    • Freestanding Posts: If you lack suitable structures, consider planters with tall, sturdy posts.
  4. Hang the String Lights:
    • Test them first! Plug in the lights before hanging them to ensure they work.
    • Start at the power source: Hang the strand closest to your outlet first.
    • Carefully attach the lights: Use hooks or zip ties for extra stability.
    • Maintain tension: Keep the strands taut for a clean look, but avoid pulling too tightly.

Hanging patio lights is a surprisingly simple project that makes a huge impact on your outdoor space. With a bit of planning and the right tools, you can transform your patio into a comfortable place.


I am a mom with two kids. I am also a writer, avid DIYer, and tech enthusiast. My favorite things are writing, shopping online for gadgets, and gizmos I can't afford (yet). Being at home with my kids is the best part of my day!

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