DIY Backyard String Lights
A few weeks ago we finished our backyard makeover, but I never got into the nitty gritty of how the string lights came to be!
It was Kris' idea to add string lights to our backyard. He had been petitioning for this project for years, so when I was formulating the plans for the backyard I knew that string lights needed to happen. But I also didn't really know how they would attach or where they would go...I thought maybe tying them into our tall ligustrum bushes might be a good option...
But Kris wanted something much sturdier and quickly came up with a plan. He told me if I could pick up all the supplies he would help me knock out the project. Cut to me running to the store immediately to get everything we needed!
This was one of those projects that I built up in my head thinking it would be complicated and take several days, but it turned out to be so simple and took less than a day (if you don't count the drying time for the concrete). Let's get into the supplies first! But be aware that the amount of lights you need will totally depend on the design you want and the size of the space you are working with. Kris and I mapped out our design with a quick sketch to determine how we wanted it to look, then Kris measured it out to determine how many feet of lights we would need. This is also a good time to make sure you know where your power source will be and how everything will be plugged in.
- string light installation kit (we also bought some additional wire since this kit only came with 30' and we needed approximately 150')
- trisource outdoor extension cord (length dependent on how far away your power source is)
Let's get into it!
Once we had all of our supplies, it was time to get started! The first thing Kris did was dig a hole where we wanted our post to go, our lights were going to connect to our house in three places and then all be tied into one post.
Kris dug down about two feet where he wanted the post to go. After that he poured in the quickrete, filled the hole up with water and mixed the quickrete with a stick until it was a good consistency.
Then he placed the post into the hole and braced it by tying it to the fence with some string so it would dry nice and straight. The next day it was time to install the wire and we put the wire exactly where we planned to string the lights. We used the wall mounts that came in the string light installation kit to attach the wire to the house.
To attach the wire to the post we used a wall mount connected to the turnbuckle piece (that also came in the kit).
From here Kris made sure the wire was as tight as humanly possible to prevent any sagging.
We used the same turnbuckle to tie all of wires into the one post we concreted in.
Once our wire was in place it was time to zip tie the string lights onto the wire. We used the small black zip ties that came in the kit to attach the lights (I went back and trimmed off all the little plastic zip tie tails with scissors).
I got several questions about why we used a wire and didn't just run the string lights back and forth on their own. The answer to this is that the wire is going to add a lot of strength and stability that a cord just doesn't have. You can absolutely hang them by the wire, but they will probably sag over time. Since we wanted these to stay up long term we definitely wanted all the added stability we could get! At this point it was important to make sure we ran our lights the correct way to all tie into our power. We used this trisource outdoor rated extension cord to connect all our string lights at the top of the post and then ran the cord down the back of the post.
Kris used several zip ties to keep the cord in place so it's not visible from the front at all. Once the extension cord reached the ground Kris dug a small hole and ran the cord to the outlet behind our garage (which could clearly use a good cleaning).
As of right now we still have to walk all the way back here to plug and unplug our string lights every time we want to turn them off and on, but I just ordered these smart plugs that should alleviate that problem!
I absolutely love how this project turned out and it was so much easier than I expected. If you've been wanting to add string lights in your backyard- DO IT!! It makes such a big impact and there is truly nothing better than eating dinner at night out here, the ambience of the string lights is a game changer!
What outdoor projects are you planning to tackle this summer?
Want to see more?