I have dreamt of having outdoor string lights in every home I’ve lived in but either was lacking the space or means to make it happen, until now! I had such a difficult time trying to sort out how to make this work, so I thought I would share with you a tutorial in case you happen to be stuck in the same boat. There are so many creative ways you could go about doing this–it really depends on the layout of your space, but I definitely found this particular way to be the most sensible for our space, and I know it will work for a vast majority of spaces, not to mention, it was really easy to do! Follow along below for step by step directions!
What you will need:
Electrical conduit (3/4”) (we bought 3 (5’ poles) as we were installing small pieces of vertical conduit on a small patio, and we knew we would be cutting them down to a smaller size. In the end we chose to cut/make ours (2)-3 ft. and (3)- 2 ft. tall as we wanted the lights to start higher by the slider door and slope down, like a canopy, towards our fencing.
Electrical conduit brackets (3’/4”) ~2 per pole
Exterior Extension Cord (I purchased one in black to match the string lights’ cording)
String Lights (these are the lights we chose, I wanted them to be super heavy duty to withstand the weather, I love the look of the edison bulb as it feels so much more cozy and industrial in comparison to a round bulb.
How to do it:
- Plan & Measure. Figure out how many strands you will be using. We have a really small outside porch, so one strand worked out perfectly (we were able to drape the string of lights back and forth 4 times), but it really all depends on the look you are going for, and how big your outdoor space is of course..
- Figure out the length you will need to cut your electrical conduit to. Ours ended up at 2 ft./pole on the fenced side and 3ft. against the house. We ended up using 3 poles on the fence, and two poles against the house.
- Cut the electrical conduit with a hacksaw to your preferred length. Be careful as the the edges are really sharp after cutting! You could probably use a metal file if you have one on hand, but I didn’t and I knew the conduit would be sitting high enough to potentially cause any danger, so I got lazy and skipped that step. You do what you can with what you have…nuff said.
- Spray paint the conduit & conduit brackets. I did about 2 heavy applications to each piece.
- Nail conduit to the fencing with the conduit brackets, deck screws and drill. We used two conduit brackets per pole, and 3 per pole on the side attached to the house for extra support. Don’t attach the poles to far up the fencing as you won’t want them to flex once the lights are attached.
- Hang your lights! I used black zip-ties to adhere the lights to the poles. I used 1-2 ties per pole depending on how secure they felt once I tightened them. I cut the extra length off the ties after the tutorial, but left the zip ends in the photos so you could better see them! Continue this going back and forth along your patio, until you reach the end. Be sure you leave the end that will attach to your extension cord as close to your plug as possible. I pulled the lights as tight as possible to ensure they would remain taut once I let go. Go a bit tighter than you think as the lights tend to droop a bit more than you would expect once tied to the conduit. Side note: I highly recommend stringing your lights in a canopy formation. Start hanging highest at the point of your home and drape downwards when you hit your fencing or what have you. This is why we had our conduit a foot longer on the side attached to our home.
- Power Up! Using an outdoor extension cord, we ran the lights into the closest outlet. We don’t have an outdoor outlet, so I unfortunately had to have the cord run into our house (there is an outlet right inside our screen, so there isn’t a bunch of slack built up in the house or anything).
A huge thank you to Lamps Plus for partnering up with us on this post! If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them! I am so happy with how our lights turned out, it definitely sets the mood, and makes me want to finally finish putting together our patio as a place where we can get comfy and spend more time!