How to Hang Festoon Lights Outdoors - All Inclusive DIY Set up Guide
Hanging festoon lights can be a little tricky, but with a little preparation, it can be easy and fun! Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting the tools and materials for this project:
– Every location is different, so you may need to get creative when planning your installation. Depending on the space you’re working with, you may find hooks, stands, or even ropes and wires useful.
– This is an easy DIY project which gives an impressive professional finish. Follow our simple installation steps below, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your outdoor space in no time!
Tools and Materials Required
Depending on where you want to hang your festoon lights, you’ll need different types of tools. If you’re trying to figure out how to hang them in a backyard without trees, that process is different than if you’re using a pergola. Here are three primary installation situations.
Strung Between Fixing Points Less Than 8m Apart
- Outdoor Festoon Lights: Make sure you have enough to cover the entire length of the area you want to illuminate.
- Outdoor Extension Cord: Must be rated for outdoor use, although you can skip this if you have an exterior outlet close enough to where you want to install your lights.
- Drill: Electric drills are best, but manual drills are an acceptable alternative if needed.
- Tape Measure: Tape measures will help you measure the distances between hookup points as necessary.
- Pencil/Painter’s Tape: Either of these will do well for marking spaces after measuring them.
- Metal Hooks/Eyes: These will be used as fixing points. Make sure you get hooks that are sturdy enough to hold the weight of the belts and support wires. Most hooks are more than strong enough for our purposes but for safe measure, avoid the smallest and weakest ones.
- Zip ties: These will be used to secure the belts to the metal hook and eye fixing points.
- Ladder: Unless you’re setting up at ground level, you’ll need one of these.
Strung Over Large Areas With Fixing Points Over 8m Apart
For this situation, you’ll also need the following tools:
- String Light Suspension Kit: These kits are the best way to support lights over longer distances. Your kit should include a wire cable, pad eyes with screws, snap hooks, lock clamps, and turnbuckles.
- Wire Cutter: This is for trimming the wire cable from your suspension kit to ensure it fits. Don’t shorten the cable until after you’ve installed things. Cutting too early could result in a cable that’s too short for the job.
In Backyards Without Trees Or Other Tall Supports
Many homeowners without trees in their yard often contact us asking how do you hang festoon lights in their yard without using trees as supports. If this is your installation type, read on to find the tools and hardware necessary to decorate the backyard.
Wooden Posts/Poles: These will form the basis of your stands. Get whatever height you prefer, but it’s generally better to put festoon lighting no more than 3.5 meters up.
Hammer: You’ll need a hammer if you’re using the nails.
Nails: Nails are useful if you want to attach to a fence.
Weighted Buckets: Buckets serve as the foundation for posts or poles. These are available in several varieties, but plastic filled with concrete is a good choice.
Your Follow Along Setup Guide
Once you’ve gathered all your tools, and selected the appropriate festoon lights it’s time to get your hands dirty for a fun couple of hours transforming the backyard! We’ve got follow along step by step instructions for how to hang festoon lighting in all types of backyard spaces. If you’re working with a wooden deck, a patio area, an elevated balcony, or the garden lawn we’ve got you covered.
1. Plan your lighting layout and fixing points
Before you begin, it is important to map out where you will install your festoon lights by laying them on the ground. This will give you a better idea of the finished project and how much festoon lighting you need.
Tip: Avoid draping the lights over furniture or other obstacles, as this will interfere with your measurements.
Now is also a good time to decide on the pattern you want to use for your festoon lighting. The most popular patterns are X, V, zig-zag, parallel, or pinwheel, depending on the shape of the area. When choosing a pattern, keep in mind the location of the power source.
At the same time, look at potential fixing points in your backyard to see how well those support the pattern you want. Trees, tall fence posts and the sides of houses are all outstanding choices as fixing points.
Most people have trouble with fixing points farther away from the house, and that’s where installing posts or poles come into play. Done correctly, you can set up a sturdy pole with minimal effort. This lets you maximise your options and get the light pattern you want.
Fixing points should be less than 8m apart if you’re not using support wires.
This is an excellent time to test the LED globes and make sure all of them work. You don’t want to hang them up and only find out there’s a problem later!
Pro tip: Don’t forget to make use of your backyard surroundings, trees, fences, pergolas, and patios make for sturdy fixing points!
2. Install fixing points (and support wire if necessary)
Once you have your pattern down, it’s time to install the fixing points. What types of fixing points you need depends on factors like the design you’re using, but most people do fine with simple metal hooks or eyes.
Don’t forget to close these fixing points later to prevent the wind from blowing the cable from coming off the hooks. Drill holes for the hooks first, then screw each of your fixing points into place. You can add adhesives if you want to be particularly careful, but most outdoor surfaces won’t require this.
You can install support wires over almost any length the manufacturer recommends, but consider adding additional support poles if you’re stringing them across an area longer than 16m. Support wire should be rustproof, generally stainless steel wire will do the job here.
3. Attach lights to fixing points or steel wire support cable
Now that you have your support wire up, it’s time to add the lights! Use cable ties to attach the lights securely to the wire or support points. This process is usually straightforward once you have the support wire in place, but make sure you have someone to hold the ladder for you while you’re working. If you’re attaching the lights to steel wire, we suggest using zip ties on either side of the LED globe for a clean finish.
If you’ve purchased festoon lights with hooks attached to the top (as pictured), simply loop the zip tie through the hook and around the support wire!
For spans between fixing points that are less than 10m apart, a support wire is not required. In this case, the festoon lights can be safely rigged directly onto the fixing points.
Once you have the string lights in place, take a few extra minutes to make sure that the power cord is firmly against the wall, ground, and any posts in the area. This will help prevent accidents by keeping the cord out of the way.
4. Screw-in the LED light bulbs
It’s now time to screw in each of the LED bulbs before switching the power on. Most festoon lighting kits are fitted with E27, Edison Screw fittings, these are the easiest and simplest to use. Simply screw each bulb clockwise in the socket until the base of the bulb touches the base of the socket, or can go no further.
Make sure the light bulbs are screwed all the way to create a tight waterproof seal. When using shatterproof LED bulbs, you can screw the bulb into the socket without worrying the bulb will shatter.
5. Connect to power and turn on the system
After all the LED bulbs are snug in their sockets, it’s time to flick on the power and test your system to be sure the whole thing works.
The beautiful warm white glow emitted from the light bulbs will sparkle long into the evening, setting the scene for many memorable nights ahead.
How to Hang Festoon Lights in the backyard without Trees
For those wondering how to hang festoon lights in a backyard without trees or support points, you’ll need to be a little more creative to achieve your dreamy landscape. Making use of some common garden features you’ll be able to suspend the lights above your guests with ease.
How to setup festoon lights on a fence
If you have an existing fence and you want to hang festoon lights up, attach 3m wooden posts with cup hooks to your fence and side-nail them into place. For added security, you can use drills and screw your new posts into place instead.
Most fences are already well-grounded with concrete grips on their posts, so they’re also sturdy enough to hold your new posts and keep your festoon lights in place. You can use shorter poles if needed, but try to avoid making them longer. If you need to set up posts more than 3m high, install them independently instead of connecting them to your fence.
If you’re installing multiple posts along your fence, space them about 2.5m apart for a zig-zag pattern, or wider if you’re planning something like an X or a V shape type installation.
How to hang festoon lighting under a pergola or covered patio
How to hang festoon lights on a patio, deck or hard surface area
This is a little more complicated than hanging festoon lights on fences or under pergolas. If you’re working on a hard surface area and can’t break it up, get some of those buckets filled with concrete and space them out to match your design.
Festoon lights strung over more extensive patios will exert a lot of pull on the posts, so make sure you use enough posts and have enough weight at the bottom to keep them steady. Otherwise, a little too much wind could tip them over and bring the entire setup crashing down. If in doubt, err on the side of having more weight instead of less.
Make sure you use sturdy clamps, too. Metal tubing is a good choice for these setups, especially if you use tube clamps instead of basic hooks.
The good part about arranging festoon lighting this way is that you have almost total freedom for your poles’ placement, which means you can create some truly intricate designs.
Planning is key for a successful and safe installation of outdoor festoon lights. The actual lights themselves are relatively lightweight, and most hooks stay in place. The trick is to make sure the components don’t pull too hard on each other. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can hang festoon lights practically anywhere.