5 Tips On How To Hang Outdoor String Lights
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Are you hanging lights up for an event? Or are you looking to brighten up your back patio? These next few tips will help you with a little of both, especially if you are investing in strings of lights of your own and not just renting them for an evening.
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Q: Is brand a big deal with lights?
A: Yes. You will be kicking yourself if you decided to go with the bargain brand that only happens to be a seasonal purchase when several of your bulbs burn out during the offseason. Going with a brand that stores stock all year will ensure that there will also be replacement bulbs for these strings year around as well.
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Q: Glass or Plastic bulbs
A: it’s really a preference. But do a little research to figure out what it is you like the best.
Bistro string lights are generally a glass bulb and these are found just about anywhere. They give off a warm yellow glow that works for outside decor as well as indoor. ( I have several strings of these hanging up in my dining room as ambiance lights that are much more pleasing at night then the harsh overhead light I have in that room)
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Twinkle lights, (generally used to decorate during Christmas) can come in both glass or plastic as well as a wide variety of light options. You can also get LED twinkle light bulbs that are great for energy efficiency, although they do tend to give off a bit of a cooler blue light.
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Edison bulbs are your higher end pseudo-vintage looking string lights. These will give you a warm glowing light as well with the added old-timey ambiance of a bulb that shows off the glowing orange filament that lights them up inside. Great looking string lights, but replacing these bulbs isn’t cheap.
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Q: What’s the best layout?
A: What does your space look like? This is a matter of letting your space do most of the decision making.
Identify the most accessible power source and determine how many strings of lights it will support if they are strung together. This should be something you can find on the box of lights you have purchased. Your basic bistro lights generally allow you to connect up to 5 strings of lights together giving you about 60 feet of lights to work with.
Identify the most accessible locations to hang your lights from. If you plan to attach them to your house look at your roofline and sought boards for solid attachment areas. If you have trees or a fence you plan to string your lights from, Identify the best branches or posts to do this from. If you have a wide open space this may call for setting up posts.
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With your light attachment locations newly identified begin to design a pleasing light layout. Above is a diagram from Christmas Light Etc. as well as a list of patterns that might help:
The V Pattern - A versatile option for any space. The V pattern is fairly easy to achieve and does not require equal string lengths on both sides to look good. Keep in mind that the pinnacle point of the V, where each side connects bears the weight of the entire light string and should be anchored sufficiently to support the additional pressure.
Zig Zag - Zig Zag patterns are a fun choice when you want to add full coverage illumination across your space but desire a more interesting light design. This can be achieved with one long light string or through the use of multiple strings connected end to end.
X Pattern - X marks the spot! This design works especially well in wide spaces or areas that are square shaped. If you have multiple light strings, hang several X's in a row to create a diamond pattern. The result is a light display that appears intricate but is actually incredibly easy to achieve!
Square or Grid - Hang patio lights in straight lines across the length and width of your space to create a grid, or keep it simple by outlining just the perimeter of your space in a square shape.
The Horizon Point - Similar to the V in that the light strings all anchor to one central point and fan out, however, this design requires more hanging locations opposite of the central horizon point. This technique for hanging patio lights is typically used in professional installations for events and restaurant patio seating. However, with some planning, the horizon point can be easily achieved in residential outdoor spaces as well!
Tent or Maypole Design - The tent or maypole design features multiple light strings anchored in a spoke and wheel arrangement from one central point. This point, typically either a pole or beam needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of multiple light strings and may require professional installation.
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Q: Is there a trick to hanging these?
A: There is if you are hanging glass bulbed sting lights. In order to prevent your strings from tangling or your bulbs from breaking you will want to remove all of the bulbs from the string. This allows you to hang up the multiple stings in whatever pattern you choose without a tangled mess. Once you are done you can screw all the bulbs back in without any hassle.
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Q: What do I secure the lights with?
A: take your pick, One source I saw highly recommend coaxial staples, which do sound like a great way to protect your string lights from any damage altho I have personally used everything from the screw in hooks, to zip ties, to a staple gun. But what it really comes down to is what will support your lights in a secure fashion without too much damage to your home or venue.
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Now that you have your new outdoor lighting up, its time to enjoy this newly well-lit space! Kick back and relax while you sip any one of these amazing summertime cocktails!