How to Install Poles to Hang String Lights in Your Backyard

Here's a simple, sturdy way to hang those string lights you've been eyeing.

patio string lights furnished
Photo: Adam Albright
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Ready your outdoor space for al fresco dining and bonfire season with the warm glow of string lights. If you don't have any deck or porch posts accessible or trees you can use to string outdoor lights, this backyard project to install a pole for string lights can help you suspend lights anywhere with minimal effort.

Long vertical poles secured with concrete footings are an easy way to support twinkling string lights and are sturdy enough to stay up for the entire summer season. A little carpentry work and a few basic supplies are all that are required, and this DIY project can be done in one day. See how we did it below, and check out our expert advice to hang string lights correctly the first time.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Hacksaw
  • 1 Drill
  • 1 Paintbrush

Materials

  • 1 Concrete forms
  • 1 Concrete
  • 1 1-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • 1 3/4-inch conduit
  • 1 3/4-inch cap
  • 1 Screw eye
  • 1 Nut
  • 1 Primer
  • 1 Paint
  • 1 String lights
  • 1 Zip ties

Instructions

  1. Set Concrete for String Light Poles

    black light pole installed in yard surrounded by mulch

    Create a sturdy base for the lighting supports using concrete and PVC pipes. Sink concrete forms at each end or corner of your patio or backyard area. Make sure the concrete forms are set deep enough to go below the frost line, which varies by region. (In the lower 48 states, it can range from zero to eight feet, so research how deep your frost line is before you start this project.) Center a same-height piece of 1-inch-diameter PVC pipe inside and fill form around the pipe with concrete.

  2. Cut Pipes for String Light Poles

    Cut 3/4-inch conduit to the height you want the lights, plus the height of the PVC pipe that is already installed in the ground. You can cut the conduit using a hacksaw. Do not stand the pipe up in the tube in the ground yet.

  3. Drill Holes in Pipe

    lights attached to screw eye using zip ties

    Screw a 3/4-inch cap onto the conduit end, and drill a hole 1 inch below. Feed a screw eye through the hole and secure with a nut. The screw eye is what will hold the string lights.

  4. Finish Poles for String Light

    Prime and paint the string light pole a color of your choice (we went with classic black). Next, feed it into the PVC pipe in the concrete. Before you do this, make sure the concrete has dried all the way through.

  5. Hang Outdoor String Lights

    string lights attached to black light pole

    Attach outdoor lights to the screw eye using zip ties. If necessary, spray-paint the zip tie to match the color of the pole and hook. Remove the string-light poles when not in use, and mow right over the concrete bases, if needed.

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