Adding Patio String Lights to the Deck!

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Happy Monday!  Hope y’all had a good weekend and are enjoying these last days of summer. It sure flew by this year, but I have to admit I’m ready for cooler weather.  Speaking of cooler weather, we got some really fun string lights up on the patio and deck and those are going to be so nice for the Fall season in our backyard.

I haven’t updated you all since I finished staining the deck and it really turned out nice, so I’ll show you all of that as well as what the deck looks like now with the addition of another rug and the new string lights.  We are loving them!  Fair warning, I took a zillion pics from all angles, so you could see exactly what it looks like out there, as well as some close ups of how the lights are attached.  You’ll probably remember the Treehouse post I did earlier in the Spring before the deck was stained, but I showed it all furnished with rugs and new cushions.

Back story on the lights.  I was contacted last year by a company here in Atlanta, Christmas Lights Etc. asking me if they could come and light up my backyard.

What???

I’m sure you’ve noticed that string lights are all the rage now and so many people are adding them to their backyard and lots of companies sell them now.  They have really grown in popularity the last 5 years or so.

That sure sounded intriguing, but Mark and I were just getting married and moving into our new house, so the timing wasn’t quite right and I wrote them back and told them my situation.  I remembered the email this year and reached back out to them to see about working together this year and they came out and took at look at our deck and patio and gave us recommendations on lighting it up and making it pretty. They would do all the hanging of the hooks and string lights and all we had to do was put up the posts for them to hang the hooks on and drape to, so Mark and I put our heads together and came up with a plan.

They don’t normally do installations, but since this is the first time they’ve worked with a blogger, they came out and did the installation for us and told me how their string lights work.  They’ve been in business for several years and sell online only and have lots of light options for patios as well as Christmas, hence their name. I’ll tell you more about that later.

{If you’d like to try their lights, use the code RHODA10 for 10% off your entire order!}

First, let me show you the newly stained deck!  Doesn’t it look great?! I had mentioned before that we worked with Behr on the staining project of the deck and fence.  We chose Boot Hill Gray for the deck floor and I also did the top railing in the same gray tone and we love the two toned look and how it turned out. Much more custom than one color.

Notice the posts in the corners?

Once we found out we needed to add corner posts to the deck for the lights to hang on, we came up with a plan for that.  Home Depot has some nice routed 4′ posts that were perfect for what we needed and they have deck post caps to top them off that really dresses things up, so we bought 2 of each for each corner of the deck.  We outlined the deck with string lights attached to the trim on the side of the house.

I stained the 4×4 post the same brown color as the deck rails and fence, Chocolate by Behr, and I painted Boot Hill Gray solid stain on the top part of the post for some contrast. It looks so nice with the copper caps!  Adding the string lights was just the icing on the deck!  He just looped the string lights around each hook and draped it to the next one.

Here’s how Mark installed them.  We also bought some Simpson Strong tie metal anchors to anchor the posts to the deck with 4 long screws. I didn’t take pics of that part, but 4 screws go straight down into the the Strong Tie metal piece to the large posts below the railing to hold the post and then the post sits inside the metal piece and then more screws are screwed into both sides (3 on each side).

You can sort of see the Strong Tie piece in this pic.  It only wraps the post on 2 sides, but it sits flat on the rail.  Once those were screwed in, the posts were fairly secure, but we felt like they needed more stability, so I went back to Home Depot and found these shelf brackets and add to the sides. This really makes the posts more stable. The copper tone flows with the cute caps on top of the posts.

The guys from Christmas Lights Etc. came out and secured the string lights and got them installed so nicely.

Here’s a close up of the hooks and how they were installed. These are all plugged into 2 electrical outlets on our deck. The hooks are in the posts and he wrapped the wires around the hooks once to secure them.

At the end of the wire, the extra sockets were cut off and he used a waterproof electrical tape to tie them off and keep water from getting in. There are other methods to water proof a cut wire like this too, but he said he hasn’t had a problem with these once they are sealed. I’ll talk about that more below.

Here’s the side next to the house with an extension cord to reach the outlet. I may change out the extension cord to a white one so it will blend with the house better.

Here’s a look at the string lights anchored at the top of the deck railing, draping below to the patio. I’m not sure what kind of anchor this is, but I’m sure you could find these in hardware.

The bulbs on the patio are a pretty LED Edison bulb with a vintage amber glow as you can see here. They are large bulbs and we went with smaller globe bulbs on the deck.

Here’s a look at the other side of the deck posts anchored down to the patio.  They used these same hooks up on the patio too, wrapping the string lights around the hooks for extra security.  They also cut off some extra sockets that weren’t needed and they wrap those in waterproof electrical tape to be sure that water doesn’t get in.

They told me that there are several types of waterproof tapes you can get for an application like this, so just look carefully if you try this yourself. You don’t want extra line hanging down with sockets just hanging there, so that’s the reason you might have to cut off the ends once you’re finished with draping and hanging them.  These come in certain lengths and you have to work with the set lengths and cut some extra off the end to make it neat and tidy.

So, that’s a look at how they were installed, now let’s look around at the deck and see how it’s looking now.   As much as I loved the rugs I had out here early spring from At Home, they were just too thick for all the rain we were having and were a soggy mess.  I couldn’t let them ruin, so I took them into the basement for safe keeping until I can find another place for them, hopefully when we screen in under the deck next year, they would be safe there.

I ended up finding this pretty 5×7 navy geometric rug from Target (affiliate link) for a really good price and it’s the flat outdoor kind of rug that dries fast after a rain shower, so it’s much more suited for an open deck.  Lesson learned on choosing rugs for a deck!

It’s great under the seating area and I will probably get another rug for the table and chairs later on.  I have a couple more changes coming out here later this year.

It’s been the perfect gathering spot for us and we have so enjoyed having this deck space finished and usable this year.  Last year we didn’t use it at all after moving in, it was just empty with nothing out there.

I still have to stain the new stairs and will do that when it cools off a bit more.  Holly is still loving her deck and she sits under the umbrella all the time.  It really does get a lot of shade out here and only 3 to 4 hours of sun in the middle of the afternoon, but there is always some shade too.

Sweet Holly!

We eat out here pretty often too and that’s nice as well. We have had some unseasonably nice weather some days with lower humidity so that’s been nice.

I grew basil and oregano on the deck this year and that was nice to have too. We have eaten our share of Caprese salads this year and the basil was great to have on hand!

I’m keeping this deck failry easy to maintain, so I moved my deck box up here and store the cushions in there at night or when I know it’s going to rain. The dew in the morning gets the cushions wet too, so I’ve been storing them away at night. Everything else can get wet and it won’t hurt anything, so that’s my goal for this porch, easy maintenance! I don’t want a lot of extra stuff out here to clutter it up and then have to move it for rain.

My geraniums are doing great after I gave them some Miracle Grow.

These succulents are looking good out here too.

As are all the plants I planted in the pots out here early spring, they’ve all done well and are looking so healthy and pretty.

Looking down to the patio below, we have some projects to do down here too.  We are about to start on that concrete wall over there and add some faux stone. Of course, will share that one too!  We’ve sort of abandoned this seating area since the deck got finished, but I want to spruce it up down here again. My plan is to pressure wash the patio and get all the gunk off and then I want to do a stain project down here and probably do a tile look with stain on the concrete.  Not quite sure yet, but I want it to look good.  The rug down there got so wet and mildewy this year that it might be time to throw it out, it’s looking really bad.

You can see we added another post down there to anchor the lights below to.  We set it in concrete to keep it from moving. When you hang string lights you have to have some height to string them to, so keep that in mind if you do this yourself.

It really looks pretty all lit up at night and I’ll show you that too!

They really shine at night!  Haha, pun intended!

It’s amazing how string lights can add so much ambience, but they really do!  It feels like a different space out there at night with the lights on now.  We have enjoyed sitting out there listening to the night crickets and tree frogs, with their loud summer sounds.

So far, the mosquitoes haven’t been bad out here either, which really surprises me.

It’s been a great place to relax at night and it definitely cools off after dark.

I love getting pictures during the blue hour at night, that hour when the sun goes down and the sky turns  vivid blue in the camera lens.  Have you heard of the blue hour?  It’s really a thing!  Try it and you’ll see a pretty blue sky through your camera at a certain time of night, after the sun has gone down, but it’s not quite dark yet.

That blue is so gorgeous!

So I kept snapping pics all around the deck looking up to the blue night sky.

You have to capture it at just the right time.

And then it just gets dark and you don’t see it anymore.  So amazing!

We are sure going to enjoy the Treehouse deck even more now with the addition of the string lights.  A big thank you to Christmas Lights Etc. for making this happen at our house.  They made it really easy for us to get them up at our house, so I wanted to share this with all of you too!  They sell these lights online and they are made for outdoor use, so should last for many years.

Here’s a little bit of information from them that I wanted to pass onto you all too!  As you’ve noticed, string lights are all over the place now and a big part of that is the new LED bulbs that make it easier to install outdoors.

Things to Keep in Mind When Installing String Lights

1) Many people staple their string lights. While this can work, it also has a higher chance of doing damage to your wire and house, which is why we don’t recommend it as an install technique.

2) String light wire is flexible so using appropriate hook hardware and wrapping the wire around the hook is a good way to secure the line. For good measure, we also recommend a zip tie to hold the wrapped wire in place.

3) Cable or wire clamps can also be used and are similarly simple. We placed two of these near Rhoda’s back door so she would have more flexibility with her plug lead.

4.) While we don’t recommend that people cut products if they don’t have to, sometimes it is needed because everyone’s space needs are different and many outdoor rated options exist to cover any wire exposures.

5.) Outdoor rated electrical tape that seals, heat shrink wrap, liquid tape or outdoor rated wire connectors are all potential options, but each one depends on someone’s DIY comfort level.

6.) For those that want string lights hard wired to their house or want additional hardware options or covers included with their hanging points … they can certainly do that … but it typically also increases the overall project spend and time.

7.) String lights with removable bulbs offer the most flexibility. People that like decorating with colors or themes can swap bulbs out at will, which is another reason these have become so popular.

Check out Christmas Lights Etc. if you want commercial products that hold up over time.  Here’s a page with the LED Edison bulbs.  We have the ST64 LED Double Swirl Edison bulbs on the lower patio. We have the 50′ Flex Filament black commercial wire on our deck space. We currently have the incandescent globes on the deck, but will change them out to LED globes when they are back in stock.

LED lights are more expensive than regular incandescent bulbs, but last a lot longer, so that’s the good part about them.

You’ll also notice all the Christmas lights they carry as well as other Holidays, like Halloween.

{If you’d like to try their lights, use the code RHODA10 for 10% off your entire order!}

The team at Christmas Lights Etc. will be happy to help you figure out what you need if you’re in the market for string lights for your yard.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the plan they came up with for us!  It feels so good in our backyard now that it’s all lit up!

This post was sponsored by Christmas Lights Etc and they provided all the string lights for us.

 

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- Rhoda

Comments

  1. These are gorgeous lights, Rhoda! I know I read your post last week and the lighting was up and I noticed it then. Can’t remember if I saw them on one of your IG posts or videos, but they definitely stand out!! Happily posting to my Ethereal Lighting and Garden DIY Projects boards for you and our readers. I’ll need the anchoring ideas for future reference!!!

    Thanks for a great tutorial,
    Hugs,
    Barb 🙂

    • Thank you, Barb, we are proud of how those posts turned out, making it look like part of the deck.

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