Tips for Hanging Outdoor Holiday Lights

Tips for Hanging Outdoor Holiday Lights featured image

November 20, 2017 / by Gregg Cantor / In Home DIY Tips , Outdoor Spaces , Community

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — family is traveling, the baking has begun, and the decorating is a must! Although your house may be merry and bright on the inside, don’t forget about the outside. To make the process a breeze, here are our 8 essential tips for hanging holiday lights outside your home!

1. PLAN YOUR DESIGN

The holidays tend to sneak up on us all. One day you might wake up to see that your neighbors have transformed their houses into winter wonderland, making you feel like a grinch who has yet to decorate. Start your planning now! Consider the structure of your home, including its shapes and surfaces. Once you have a good idea of what areas might be best for lights, find a focal point.

For example, if you have a main entryway with columns or a large bay window at the front of your house, start there. Without a focal point for your design, it tends to look like an explosion of lights, but not in a good way.

For a traditional look, keep lights white and arranged only on gutters, windows, and a few trees or bushes in your front yard. The goal is to keep all lights symmetrical for a pleasing aesthetic. To bring in color, consider large red bows, red persimmons, or select colored lights such as red, green, or blue for the windows.

If you prefer a more festive look, mix up your lights with hanging icicles, colored strands, or large bulb lights. Don’t limit yourself to gutters and windows—decorate your landscape area, mailbox, or even walkway with festive lights.

2. PICK YOUR LIGHTS

Now that you’ve created a design, it is time to chose your lights. Before we get into the nitty gritty variety of lighting, make sure you always buy waterproof or water-resistant lights with a tag marked underwriters lab (UL) and ensure they are rated for outdoor use.

Choose your light type — LED or incandescent. Not all white lights are made the same, LED’s typically have a brighter, blueish tint while incandescents can give off a yellow and orange tint. Ensure to buy the same type of lights throughout your entire house or they will not match.

Once you have chosen your light type, now it’s time for the fun part! Depending on the type of design you have planned (traditional or more festive), purchase single bulb, icicle, or miniature strands. Don’t be afraid to use your landscape for net lighting. Net lighting is a mesh of interconnected lights that drape over your trees or bushes like a blanket. An easy and fun way to bring more light!

![net lighting on lawn](/uploads/holiday-lights-lawn.png “Light Up Your Lawn this Holiday Season)

3. TEST THEM

Even though you may have just purchased your lights, we always recommend to test them on the ground prior to installation. You don’t want to be standing out in the cold just to realize a large section of your lights don’t work! In an open space, such as your garage, layout all lights, attach light clips, and plug in to ensure that they are all working properly.

4. CHOOSE THE CORRECT OUTLET

The safest power source for your holiday lights is a ground fault circuit outlet. If any over-current occurs, this outlet will shut the circuit down to prevent sparks from flying! If you do not have one of these in a convenient location, you can purchase a portable outdoor unit at an affordable cost from any local home stores.

5. SAFETY, FIRST!

Choosing the correct outlet can help prevent any safety issues in your holiday decorating. In addition, a stable and secure ladder is needed for installation. Secure your ladder with insulated holders and pay attention to stay away from any overhead power lines in your neighborhood.

white snowflake Christmas lights on house

6. ATTACH CORRECTLY

For a variety of reasons—including potential damage to the exterior of your house—don’t use nails to hang your lights. Purchase all-purpose light clips to attach to your gutters, shingles, or frames of windows for easy installation.

7. SET A TIMER

Life happens—you get home from work late, you fall asleep too early, or you simply forget. Don’t hold your holiday lights back by manually turning them on and off everyday. Outdoor timers are an easy and convenient way to ensure your lights go on and off at specific times of the day. Some even have a dusk sensor that automatically turns them on as the sun sets and turns them off after the set amount of hours you chose. One less thing to worry about!

8. LIGHT ‘EM UP!

Now that you have put such great effort in your holiday lights — it is time to light them up! Soak up the beauty and admire your hard work!

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