How To Hang String Lights + The Garden At Night

how to hang string lights

One of the best additions to our Garden Makeover were these string lights from Ballard Designs.  The lights cast a beautiful ambiance at night and make the space useable after dark – a BIG plus for a weary Mommy & Daddy that want to sit and talk after the kids are down.  We purchased this type of lighting from a different company at a previous home of ours, and we were not impressed with the quality at all.  I ordered these from Ballard (after several friends recommended them), and when I received them, I was very happy with the product.  They seem much more heavy duty than our old ones, and apt to withstand the cold and rain.

In all honesty, I was a little intimidated about hanging the lights, so I thought I would offer some tips we learned along the way to help those of you who may share the same sentiment.

how to hang string lights

1.  MAP OUT HOW YOU WANT THE LIGHTS TO RUN USING STRING

I *thought* I knew how I wanted these lights to run and how I wanted them to look.  However, once we executed our plan about 80%, I realized, “hmmm…that does not look as great as I thought it would”.  This was a disappointment, of course, so we had to take everything down and start over.  The second time around, we got smart.  It was mapped out in string, and we could tweak the design as needed.  You can see in the above photo where the lights were beginning and ending.  They started at the tree behind the lounge chairs and then fanned out to our garage and another tree next to the garage.

 

how to hang string lights

2.  USE TENSION WIRE AS YOUR MAIN BASE, THEN ATTACH THE STRING LIGHTS

To achieve just the right amount of “dip” in our string lights (perfectly straight was too rigid, but the lights in and of themselves sagged too much), we threaded tension wire through our anchors first.  This is very important.  You can play with the “dip” your lights will make once they are attached to the tension wire by assembling one strand of the lights and then going from there.  We affixed our string lights to the tension wire using cable ties.  Tension wire is readily available at your local hardware store.  Just tell the sales person the length of space you are stretching across to get the right weight and length of wire for your project.

 

how to hang string lights

3.  DON’T GET TOO HUNG UP ON MAKING YOUR STRING LIGHTS PERFECT

My original plan for the string lights was for them to stretch across the garden in evenly spaced rows.  I wanted them to be very symmetrical.  It ended up looking forced and simply not natural…and therefore, not right.  My husband envisioned them going a bit off the beaten path stretching in a fan-like shape from the tree.  Once I saw how contrived my plan appeared, I agreed with him and went for the more eclectic design.  The end product was just the feel I wanted…relaxed.  The sparkling lights look like we placed them up there without a thought.

 

how to hang string lights

Not only do the lights provide a cozy feel for us to retire to at night, now that the weather should be cooling off soon here in Texas, it will make the space a great area to entertain!  I am really excited about that.

Have a great weekend – hope it is relaxing for you. xo

PS. A reader commented and asked me to talk about how we powered the string lights, which was great because I forgot to mention it when I wrote this post.  It was fairly easy…we got power from the garage and ran the wire about six inches underground through a small trench.  The wire was attached to an outdoor plug unit and voila!  Power.

how to hang string lights

The tree on the far right in the above nighttime photo is the tree that has the plug attached to it.  In the below photo, it is still fairly obvious where the trench was dug.  The grass is still growing back.  : )

how to hang string lights  Feel free to ask me any more questions!

Written by Grace

14 Responses to “How To Hang String Lights + The Garden At Night”

  1. Kelly KV August 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Love it!! Totally doing this for string lights under our pergola. Thanks G! ❤️

    • Grace August 21, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

      Yay! Thanks KK!!

  2. LM August 21, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    How do you know where to start? Where do they get power from?

    • Grace August 21, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      LM, GREAT questions. I actually had that info in my notes for this post and then forgot to put it in. I will put the photos and info up tomorrow. So sorry, and thank you for reading and for the reminder! xo, G

      • Grace August 22, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

        LM, the info is up! Please let me know if you need anything else. 🙂 Thanks again for the reminder!

  3. Patty August 21, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

    Grace, your backyard looks like an amazing sanctuary! So beautifully designed and with wonderful cozy sitting areas. Looks like you paid a fortune for it. Great job!

    • Grace August 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Patty! I love making things look like we paid a fortune for them. 🙂 Really, it was a lot of hard work and a three year over time project. But we did invest in Robbie (see previous garden post) to get the land ready, install a sprinkler system, etc. Once the good bones were there, it was just a matter of planting, replanting, and waiting for everything to get green and fill out! 🙂 G

  4. Emily August 22, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    Tension wire–very smart! Twinkling lights all year round is a good thing! It looks so beautiful Grace.

    • Grace August 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Emily! I do love the twinkle. 😉 xo

  5. Kat August 22, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    We are doing this over our garden somedaY you! Can’t wait. It looks so pretty!

  6. Emily September 19, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    Hi Grace — This looks great. I’m wondering how many light strings you purchased?

    • Grace September 21, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      Hey Emily! I think we used 5 strands. xo, G

  7. Emily September 19, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Grace — One more question — What did you use to secure your light strings to the beginning and end points — i.e., the trees and the garage?

    • Grace September 21, 2015 at 8:35 am #

      No problem, Emily! For the tree, we just wrapped the lights around the trunk. Where it connects to the garage, we used large eyelet screws and drilled them into the mortar. Hope that helps, let me know if you have more questions! G

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