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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. : )
Feel free to ask me any more questions!