Save Money: How to Hang String Lights

DIY Save Money String Lights Cafe Backyard BudgetString lights come in so many colors, shapes and sizes, but no matter what kind you buy, they always provide ambiance. It’s a great way to add light and design to your backyard without breaking the bank!  

We extended our existing patio last summer in order to add a little more space to entertain friends and family outside, which we love to do!  The only issue was that our outdoor space was very dark and we needed some extra light.

We briefly thought about hiring someone to install lighting in our yard but then thought that doing it ourselves would a much less expensive alternative. Hanging string lights was always an option we thought about, but we couldn’t figure out how it would work as we don’t have any trees close to our patio to hang them on. We also didn’t want to hang them from our home because we were afraid we would wreck our siding.

We decided to save money and do it ourselves, so I did some research and found this blog post, which had some great instructions about how we should take on the project.  We made a few modifications to it and saved as much as we could along the way.

Shopping online for this project? Check out our article about How to Save Money When Shopping Online so you don’t spend more than you should.

Materials List:

  • Concrete Planter –  This type of planter is not only heavy, but also one of the most inexpensive options. What’s excellent about these pots are that they can easily be customized with spray paint. We left ours the way they came since they matched our patio color. We used three planters and placed them in an “L” formation.
  • String Lights – We bought these string lights on sale at Costco! They are heavy duty and hold up very well in windy conditions. They are also very heavy, so please make sure you have someone to help you hang them up.  These lights are great because they come with a lot of extra bulbs just in case they burn out.
  • Wood Poles – We purchased them in store at Lowe’s and they aren’t available online. They are made of oak wood and are 3 inches thick and 8 feet long. We used three poles.
  • Quikrete – We used two bags of the fast setting Quikrete, which only took 20 minutes or so to dry.
  • Rust-Oleum  – We used two cans of Indoor/Outdoor Rust-Oleum spray in Flat Black. Put on at least 2 full coats.
  • Drill – We used a drill we already owned to drill a hole into each pole.
  • Eye Hook – We used three eye hooks. These come in a two-pack.
  • Zip Ties – We zip tied the lights to the eye hooks.  The benefit of zip ties they don’t rust and they are easily replaceable if you need to cut down the lights for any reason.   We got black ties onto our poles were painted black.
  • Level – We used a 48” level to determine whether the poles were level.  This was crucial to ensuring the poles were straight!
  • Extension Cord – Since we painted our poles black, we used a black cord to match. Ours was 15 feet long.
  • Outdoor remote – We also got this remote to control our lights from inside the house!
  • Potting soil – This is optional. If you’d like to plant flowers above the concrete in each planter, you can purchase this.

Note:  We did all of the following steps on the grass, since we did not want any accidents on our paver patio or driveway. We didn’t have any, but we were so happy we didn’t ruin anything.

How to Hang String Lights

Step 1: Paint the Poles

We placed a drop cloth under a wood pallet and placed the three wooden poles on top. We then applied two coats of Rustoleum spray paint in black to each pole and waited thirty minutes between each coat. We then waited thirty minutes for the poles to dry.

Step 2: Insert the Eye Hook

We drilled the holes in the poles about 2” from the top of the pole and made sure the hole for the eye hook was smaller than the actual eye hook! After drilling the holes, we screwed in the eye hooks with a wrench.

Step 3: Add Cement

We filled up a bucket of water so we could cement the poles in the planters.  The cement only requires water to activate, so we poured the dry Quikcrete mix into the planter and then poured water over it. We then used a plastic masonry tools to smooth out the cement around the poles to make sure it looked even.

At this point, when the Quikcrete was still wet, we used the level to make sure the poles were straight. After twenty minutes, when concrete was dry, we drilled a hole into the back of each planter for drainage.

CAUTION: Please have someone help you move the concrete planter to your desired location because they are extremely heavy!

Step 4: Hang the Lights!

Once the planters and eye hooks were in the correct position, we started to hang up our string lights! We used zip ties to run the extension cord to the top of the pole to plug in the string lights. We also used zip ties to connect our lights to each eye hook.

Finally, we turned our lights on and lit up our yard! We hope you enjoyed this article and hope that you too can brighten up your backyard. It’s truly magical and it makes us feel like we’re in our own little resort!

Do you have string lights in your backyard? Have any other tips? Please share your ideas and thoughts below!

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