How To Hang Patio Lights
Hanging patio lights is dependent upon how many anchor points you need. The more complex your pattern is, the more anchor points you may need.
Some Terms to Know.
Anchor Point - Any surface or structure that is durable enough to attach your patio lights onto. This includes but isn’t limited to:
• Tent Frames
• Poles of various materials
• Eaves and edges of buildings
• Frame of an outdoor umbrella
• Outdoor shed
• Gazebo or pergola
Guy Line – Also known as a guy-wire, this cable acts as a support line creating tension for your lights. They can have some elasticity, but mostly you want a solid cable that ties securely without drag. It is recommended that you use guy lines when your patio lights have to stretch across very widespread spaces or if you need a precise pattern. Light strings with suspended sockets commonly have holes above the sockets to run a guy line.
Socket Spacing – The distance between two sockets. The average spacing between sockets on a patio light string is at least 12 inches. However, spacing can range from 12 inches to 3 feet wide. Patio lights with smaller sockets, such as candelabra bases, tend to have shorter spacing while professional installations that are hundreds of feet long have spacing on the wider end of the spectrum.
Swag – any length of material (fabric, curtains, light, etc.) hung in such a way as to create drooping curves
• Measure your space first, determining the spacing and choosing your anchor points before hanging your lights.
• You can create your own anchor points by placing a pole or wooden post in a large bucket or pot and pouring quick dry cement in it to make a sturdy base.
• Suspended socket patio lights have holes at the bases of the sockets for guy lines or cables for extra support.
• Inline sockets for patio lighting don’t have those holes, but you can still zip tie a guy line to the lights.
• If you hang your patio lights closer together, it will look more like a canopy of stars. If you only have one or two very long light strings and a long, narrow area, consider spacing each section of your pattern farther apart to cover greater distances with less strands.
• For larger areas, use patio light strings with bigger bulb sizes and wider socket spacing. Smaller spaces will be well-balanced by smaller bulb sizes, such as G30 globe lights, with shorter socket spacing between each bulb.