Install Poles to Hang Outdoor String Lights

Lighting makes outdoor spaces feel inviting. Here's a simple, sturdy way to hang those pretty string lights you've been eyeing. 

Just in time for bonfire season, we're here to help you create the best mood lighting for your next outdoor get-together. If you don't have already deck or porch posts to string outdoor lights, this minimally-invasive project was designed with you in mind. 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 whole season. A little carpentry work is all that's required, and this DIY project can be done in one day. See how we did it below, and check out our expert advice to get it right the first time. 

Related: 9 Gorgeous Ways to Decorate with String Lights

  • Working Time 3 Hours
  • Start to Finish 1 Day
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Easy
  • Involves Pouring Concrete, Carpentry Skills

What you need

Tools

  • Hacksaw
  • Drill
  • Paintbrush

Materials

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

How to do it

Step 1 Set Concrete

To install lighting supports, 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. Center a same-height piece of 1-inch-diameter PVC pipe inside and fill form around the pipe with concrete.

Step 2 Cut Pipes

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. 

Step 3 Drill Holes

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. 

Step 4 Finish Poles

Prime and paint the 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 tried all the way through.

Step 5 Attach Lights

Attach lights to the screw eye using zip tie. If necessary, spraypaint 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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