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

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 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'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 hang string lights correctly the first time.

  • Working time 3 hrs
  • Start to finish 1 day
  • Difficulty Kind of Easy
  • Involves Pouring Concrete, Carpentry Skills
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What you need

Tools
Materials
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How to do it

Part 1

black light pole installed in yard surrounded by mulch
Step 1

Set Concrete

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.

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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. 

lights attached to screw eye using zip ties
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. 

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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 dried all the way through.

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string lights attached to black light pole
Step 5

Hang String Lights

Attach 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. 

    Comments (2)

    How difficult was this project?
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    April 21, 2020
    Difficulty: Kind of Easy
    Overall it worked - we bought exactly what was listed. The pvc pipe was too small for the pole to be inserted (again, bought exactly what was listed.) Also, when we got the lights up, the pole seemed to be very stressed, definitely looks a little sketchy. In the end, it technically works and looks pretty decent.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    May 29, 2019
    Difficulty: Kind of Easy
    anytime working with cement is harder work

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