The Best Way To Hang Your String Lights For The Perfect Outdoor Oasis

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Spending time on your outdoor patio is the perfect way to relax with friends and family. It could also be the ideal spot to unwind with a glass of wine after a hectic day. Whatever your medicine, some well-placed string lights can turn a simple space into a backyard retreat, per True Value. It's been proven that spending time outdoors is good for your health and mood. And it's remarkable to know that just 20 minutes outside can make a difference in blood pressure and stress level, whether you exercise or not, according to Time. Creating that outdoor oasis may be just what you need to bring more harmony into your life.

However, there are a few things to consider before heading to the hardware store. For instance, is your preferred string light aesthetic meant for a special occasion, or do you plan to leave it up all year? Will the lights be swaying in the wind or secured to a structure? Are you comfortable using hooks and screws, or do you prefer to hang the lights without making any permanent changes? It's important to consider the purpose and design of your space before you buy any materials.

Choosing the lights

The lights that you purchase will depend on your intention for the space. Your plan may be only to create a special ambiance for the summer; we are thinking of hammocks, swim parties, and a backyard BBQ. Or perhaps, you would prefer to leave them up during the cooler months — drinking hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows over a fire pit? Once you decide how and when you'd like to enjoy your outdoor space, it will be easier to choose the right lights for your purpose.

If you would like this incredible atmosphere to last year-round, then industrial lights are the way to go, via PartyLights. These strings are more expensive than other kinds of lights, but they are sturdier and last the longest no matter where they're hung. They are ideal for swaying in the wind and stretching across areas that aren't protected by a roof. Lightweight strings of lights are less expensive but slightly less durable. These lights are appropriate when attached directly to a fence or a building, extended under a roof, or when they're only used seasonally.

Hanging string lights over trees and poles

Once you've chosen your lights, it's time to install them in your backyard space, and a simple method is to drape them through the branches of trees. According to the Society of Municipal Arborists, choose branches that are 1 inch in diameter or more to prevent the limbs from breaking. Attach the lights using stretchable nursery tape, which is waterproof, durable, and less harmful to your trees than other methods. Don't stretch the lights tightly between the tree limbs, but allow enough room in the strands for the lights to sway with the branches in the wind. This technique creates a casual ambiance and adds elegance to the space.

Keep in mind that lights hanging too low may add extra heat to your garden party. Attaching the lights to a pole is an excellent way to raise them to a generous height above your patio. One way to provide an anchor for the pole, per Lowe's, is by filling a flower pot with cement and setting a wood post inside the concrete before it dries. Attach two screw hooks to the top of the bar that will be used to hold the lights. After the cement dries, add a layer of soil and fill the pot with flowers. It's also possible to install a pole by securing it into a heavy patio umbrella stand, via True Value. The planter and umbrella stand offers the advantage of mobility since you can move the lights to different locations in the backyard.

Hanging string lights over decks and fences

Another way to hang string lights in the backyard is by attaching them to a wooden structure like a fence or deck, per Destination Lighting. Lights along the perimeter of a fence offer soft indirect light, while those stretched overhead provide direct illumination. A good tip is to string fishing wire across the space to determine where you want to attach the lights. This step will help you estimate how many strands you'll need and give you a preview of your design. Be sure to allow enough length to reach the electrical outlet.

Secure the lights to the structure using a screw hook, such as a cup hook or an eye hook. First, use a hammer and nail to create an initial hole in the structure where the hook will go. Then screw it in a clockwise direction until the threads of the screw are inside the wood. Once the hooks are installed, you can remove the fishing wire and begin to string your lights through each one. Attach each light to a hook using a zip tie for extra security. Then it's time to plug in your lights and enjoy the transformation of your outdoor space. It's inevitable that whichever lights you choose and design you create, you and your loved ones will benefit from the additional time spent outdoors in your new oasis.