‘Tis the season of lights so brighten up the holidays—and the neighborhood—by decorating your home with colorful outdoor Christmas lighting. The following tips and strategies will make it much easier and faster to hang holiday lights, so you can and step back and enjoy your masterpiece when you’re done.
Pick a Focal Point: For example, if you have columns that frame your entryway, this may be where you want to start. Without a focal point your house will just look like someone blasted lights out of a cannon all over your lawn.
Consider the surface: Check your gutter thickness and shingle flexibility to determine how to best hang lights along the roofline.
Some popular spots for outdoor Christmas lights include:
Along your rooflines or eaves
Atop bushes, hedges and trees
Around pillars, posts or deck railings
Around windows, door frames and other architectural features
Near driveways and pathways
Inside window boxes and planters
Measure: Measure any straight line you want to adorn with lights. This will help you decide how many strands you need. Also, measure the distance to your power source. No one wants a beautiful light display and no way to turn it on.
Lights Galore: The number of lights you’ll need to decorate trees and shrubs is a matter of personal preference. A good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 1-1/2-ft of tree or shrub you want to cover. So a 6-ft evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting.
Of course, if your goal is for your house to be seen from space, stagger two sets of lights side-by-side, or look for lights that are spaced closer together. Denser lights equal brighter lights.
Safety First: Use UL approved extension cords specific for outdoor use and look for lights rated for indoor/outdoor use. Check the Christmas lights package for this, the lighted length and how many strands to connect. Be sure to keep extension cords out of the way and always use waterproof lighting outdoors.
Your source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This type of outlet will shut the circuit down if there is over-current. We want your lights to shine, not sparks to fly! If you don’t have a GFCI outlet, a qualified electrician can permanently install one outdoors for holiday seasons to come.
Check your Lights: Frayed or damaged cords are a big NO. One faulty strand isn’t only a safety hazard, but could ruin your entire design.
Light Color: Believe it or not, white lights are not all the same color. LEDs typically have a bluish tint, whereas incandescent bulbs are slightly orange. Hang them side-by-side and they will look mismatched. Lights can even vary based on manufacturer and how old they are. Make it easy on yourself and buy new lights.
Light Clips: Forget staples, clothespins or any other contraption you’ve used in the past for mounting lights to your house. Light clips are your new best friend. We have something for every surface, simply read the package to find the one that fits your application.
Light Types: There are tons of different light types and colors – so have fun with them! Just make sure you group the same light-type together. For example, try using white lights on your bushes, but colored lights on your trees and entryway. Top it off with white icicle lights along your roof-line.
LEDs will save you money on energy costs and you don’t have to worry about them overheating.
Icicle lights look great on the eaves of your roof – just make sure to cluster them together. If stretched too far apart the look is completely lost. For your bushes, try net lights. These are like a blanket of lights. Simply lay them on your bushes, and boom, you’re done.