How To Install STURDY Cafe Patio String Lights Without Trees!
Installing these outdoor string lights was on my list for years after we moved into the house! The problem was we had a new backyard with no mature trees to install the lights.
I had to find a way to hang these patio lights in a safe way so they could withstand rain, wind and snow.
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we Love Especially those outdoor string lights.Heavy-duty commercial grade strands, up to allI’ve kept them in rain, wind and snow and they still look great and work today.
Having trees big enough to hold these weights helped – they are heavier than your average outdoor lights, but again… they last forever increase.
I got some boxes of lights last year because I knew I was going to hang them on my new patio. I wanted to upload it last fall, but it didn’t happen.
We didn’t have any trees growing around our patio yet (and it would take years before they were strong enough to hold the light strands), so we had to come up with another option.
I’ve been researching this for a year now because it was so important that it a.) works, b.) looks good, and c.) doesn’t cost a fortune. I gathered information from many tutorials I found, but had to make some changes at the end. (Hint: The tutorial we found didn’t work for heavier lights!)
let’s start! I’ll list all the items you’ll need at the end of the post, but here are the step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Gather the planters you want to use.
Some of the tutorials I found used wooden wine barrel planters, but the ones I found either had large holes already drilled in the bottom or weren’t very sturdy. I was worried about the concrete oozing out between the slats.
I bought 3 plastic planters for this project a while back and decided they were too tall and too narrow. I need something with a wide bottom.we returned them and got These plastic barrel planters Instead:
They still have that wine barrel look, but should hold up much better!
I originally had 3 planters, but ended up using 2 due to the length of the lighting.
Step 2: Secure the pole to the planter.
Then I had an 8ft 4×4 for each planter. The quick set cement sets very quickly, but the next step helped. Before adding cement, I attached an “L” bracket to the bottom of each 4×4 and screwed it to the bottom of the planter.
This doesn’t keep it very safe (at least in plastic planters) so I can’t give it up yet, but it helps!
I’ve never used cement before, but it was surprisingly easy! I used two 50lb Quikrete bags for each planter.
Add 1 bag at a time and mix. Add cement and then spray water. Doesn’t require a lot of water. Mix as well as possible so that no dry cement remains.
For the first planter, it took 3 people as I was initially worried the 4×4 wouldn’t fit. However, the cement hardens so quickly that the second hardening required two of us.
This process uses a spirit level to check the 4×4. It doesn’t have to be perfectly straight – just remember that you can adjust the mulch or soil underneath the planter to straighten the pole.
Within 15-20 minutes, it didn’t budge:
You can get the 4×4 dirty and painted before you put it in cement, but I can’t wait to do that. I wanted to raise them! It was easy to smudge them after the fact:
Step 3: Secure the planter to the ground (if required).
This part really worked and was a lot easier than I thought. That is, until you start pulling the 4×4 a bit… no way These will not topple over under the weight of the light. (Even 100 pounds of cement!)
The lights aren’t crazy heavy, but I had them draped across the patio, so the distance adds to the tension. ) and he came up with a great solution.
He found a long metal steel flat at a hardware store, hammered it into the ground and secured it to the cement part of the pot.
You will need a stone/cement drill bit to get into the set cement. You can also do this with a regular drill bit while the cement is drying.
He installed 4 in each planter and it worked like a charm!! they don’t get upset. I’m surprised the planters in the tutorials I found are upright – but like I mentioned if you put them closer together or use lighter strands they’ll probably work (Our lights are suspended over 20 feet above our patio.)
As I filled the rest of each planter with soil and plants, I poked some holes in the sides of the planters to keep water from pooling inside.
Found these succulent flats at Lowe’s. It was very easy to plant. You can put it on the dirt or tear it into pieces like I did.
Hopefully they will do well there! One flat was $21 and there was more than enough for two planters. In spring, add petunias that spill over the sides.
Step 4: Hang the light with hardware.
Then it’s time to hang the lights!i bought This light hanging kit Last year we had everything we needed.
There was a lot of hardware and wire leftovers. If you want to drape lights under 7 feet, you can hang them alone. The brand recommends using wires for longer distances.
The kit came with 150 feet of wire, which was longer than I needed. The outdoor lights we use are from Feit, 48 feet each. So, based on the space and the length of the light, all you have to do is plan out the design you want. before) placed the planter.
It’s hard to tell exactly how much to use, so I knew the placement of the final attachment on the back of the house would depend on how much light I had left. but had to move a little. This left no extra lights/cords hanging around.
It’s so beautiful and better than I could have imagined!:
I hung the wires and attached the lights using small zip ties. You can run the wires through the holes in the lights beforehand, but it’s easier to tie them up later.
I always lean towards a simpler look so I didn’t want this to get too busy. I prefer If you want more, go ahead!
We shared all about these amazing industrial cafe lights here. A few years after that post, I’ve moved to using LEDs instead. This saves electricity. Each bulb is only 1 watt.
The old set was glass, so it had a lot of extra bulbs. Because they’re plastic, they offer little extra functionality (and they last much longer than the incandescent versions). The LED version is lighter than the one we used a few years ago.
I don’t always like LED lights. especially outdoors. I prefer warmer lights, but as you can see these aren’t harsh at all.
Tighten the bulb tightly. If the bulb doesn’t work, that’s usually the problem.
I had planned to put a switch on the porch row so I could turn it on and off easily, but the handyman reminded me that a remote switch works just as well. Saved so much money using it.
this is the remote we used — Simply plug it into an electrical outlet and then plug the light into your device. You can easily turn it on and off from inside or outside the room. Here’s what the light looks like when it’s completely dark:
Hanging cute lights outside? They make everything feel a little more magical. 🙂
Here are some useful links and products to try out this project:
String lights tutorial with trees
commercial grade string lights
plastic barrel planters (or small version here)
3 ft steel flat for fixing planters
hanging light hardware kit
Quickleat fast hardening cement
remote control outdoor plug/switch
You can use this image to pin this project later.