How To Give Your Outdoor Holiday Greenery A Charming Upgrade With Fairy Lights

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Outdoor evergreen displays look great during the winter holidays, but you can add some extra charm and excitement with simple lighting hacks. There are many kinds of string, globe, and solar lights to choose from, depending on your electrical access and budget. However, one of the easiest, least expensive, and most attractive options for lighting your outdoor greenery display is to use a string of solar or battery-powered fairy lights. You can wrap these lights around your plant containers or arrange them amidst the greenery for a beautiful lighting effect.

Fairy lights are used for decorating — often lending soft illumination to an indoor room or outdoor patio area. Typically, the lights are on plastic wires with an electrical plug or battery pack. For outdoor decor, the easiest option is fairy lights that are battery or solar-powered. Most big box stores sell solar-powered fairy lights, including Walmart, which offers a 72-foot-long string of solar-powered fairy lights for $10.

Some fairy lights have sturdier plastic cords, while some are on delicate metal wires. The lights on thin wire produce a lovely effect when used with greenery, as only the lights are visible, not the cords, hence the "fairy" effect. Both battery and solar-powered fairy lights also sometimes have different modes and effects, like twinkling or blinking, to add to their magical allure. Be sure to let some of the lights peek out from beneath the textured greenery for a delicate, lacy effect.

How to install fairy lights in your greenery display

You can add fairy lights to your greenery display in a few ways. They can be wrapped around the container, nestled amid the greenery, placed inside glass jars, or wrapped around decorative objects like a smooth branch or globe ornament. Battery-powered lights are the most flexible and only need switching on and off. Some brands, like Feit's LED Fairy String Lights at Ace Hardware for $10, come with a timer switch or remote control ability.

If you're using a string of solar-powered fairy lights, the solar battery should receive a few hours of sunlight per day to charge the solar cells. You can then wrap the cord or wire around the outside or base of your container. Or you can arrange the string of lights amidst the evergreen boughs in the container. The fairy lights with thin wires can tangle easily, so take your time.  The wire can be arranged in different shapes: as a string, in a coil, or curved around items in the display.

Another way to use wire fairy lights is to place them coiled up inside a clear glass jar or lantern and then place them beneath the evergreens so the lights peek through. This is not only a beautiful effect, but it helps to avoid tangling the lights. If you're using window boxes, you can hang the fairy lights around the boxes, maybe adding a few nails, tacks, or some adhesive to help secure the lights.

Different looks and effects with fairy lights

Fairy lights come in an assortment of colors. Blue is popular for winter and looks great, especially when reflecting off the snow. Pink lights lend a warm, soft look. Twinkling white or red lights amidst greenery both have a very classic appeal. White lights come in standard white or warm white, which has a slightly yellow tint. LED bulbs (which most string lights have) tend to be somewhat blue-tinted already, so many people prefer the warm white option. These multi-colored solar-powered lights ($22 on Amazon) are a great choice if your greenery display is fairly basic, lending a cheery, festive look. 

Some fairy lights have strings of lights  that hang down from the main string, and these can add interesting effects attached to a tall planter or placed behind your greenery display (creating a sort of curtain effect). If you have larger branches, you can carefully wrap the wire string lights around the individual branches for a delicate, magical look. 

The different modes of solar or battery-powered fairy lights usually vary the speed at which the lights blink on and off, creating a lively, festive effect. Battery lights can be used on a timer or with a remote control, while solar lights come on automatically. Consider multiple containers of greenery with tiny fairy lights placed along your walkway or on your stairs to provide beautiful ambient lighting for the holiday season.