Christmas is all about fun, love, joy, baking and…all the hard work behind decorating the house and the outdoors for the most beautiful time of the year.
Sure, you may have some specific ideas about what colors you want to use or how your garden is going to look like when you’re done with the decorating.
No matter how creative or skilled you may be, taking a peek to some tricks when decorating the outdoors isn’t a bad idea. After all, there’s always place for improvement.
Here are some specific steps that you should follow when you plan to hang some Christmas lights in the outdoors of your home.
- Make a design
No matter how swamped you may be with the Christmas preparations, always try to stay away from the “Let’s wing it this year” urge. Use the lazy fall evenings to plan a design, to make an idea about how you want your home to look like on Christmas.
Here are some ideas to have in mind:
- Choose a focal point
If your house has columns at the entry, you may want them to become the center of interest for the winter holidays. You need a focal point so that the entire Christmas décor has a nice flow and continuity.
- Keep an eye on the area
It’s important to check the gutter thickness and shingle flexibility in order to make an idea about which hang lights are going to work the best along your roofline. In case this is a first for you, here are some popular spots for the outdoor Christmas lights:
- Atop bushes, trees and hedges
- Along the rooflines or eaves
- Around posts, deck railings and pillars
- Inside window boxes and planters
- Close to driveways and pathways
Don’t forget you also have to measure the straight light that you want to decorate. This is going to help you on knowing how many strands you need.
Keep in mind to measure the distance to the power source too as you don’t want to decorate and…realize that you can’t really turn on the lights.
As for the number of lights that you’re going to need for your outdoors, it’s a matter of taste in the end. The rule of thumb is popular and useful and you may use 100 lights for every 1-1/2-ft. of tree or shrub that you want to light up. Just to make it a bit more clearly, you need around 400 lights on a 6ft. evergreen, as long as you’re going with a simple design.
This doesn’t stop you from using two sets of lights side-by-side or use some that are spaced closer together. The denser the lights are, the brighter they’re going to be. So, it’s all up to you if you want your house to be seen from the space or not.
- Get the lights ready
There are a few things to check when you’re preparing the lights:
- Check the lights to see if there are damaged cords or frayed ones as a faulty strand isn’t safe to use, not to mention it’s able to ruin the whole décor
- Safety, safety…You have to use UL approved extension cords made for the outdoor use and only get lights that are rated like that. Take a look to see the lighted length and how many strands you’re going to connect.
- Give a thought if you want to go with white lights or color ones. Even the white LEDs have a different hues, as some may have a blue tint and some are a warm yellow. This is why you need to go with the same hue on your white lights as you want your décor to look nice.
- There are many types of lights and colors so get creative when combining them. Don’t be afraid to try and put some white lights on the bushes and some colorful one at the entryway. Use some white icicle lights along the roofline to complete the picture.
- Look for the light clips for your decorating as they’re easy to use and to remove once Christmas is over.
Try some net lights for the bushes and keep in mind that LEDs are cheaper. They don’t overheat and you may safely touch them after hours of use.
Use some icicle lights for the eaves of the roof and cluster them together. You don’t want to stretch them too far apart as they are going to not look good.
Do read the manufacturer’s guidelines for the safety instructions, care and maintenance as you want to be safe, as well.
- It’s time to actually start
Pick the area you’re going to work on and take everything you need. You may use an extra-hand and it’s better to start with the bushes, continue with the trees and windows, leaving the doors and the roofline at the end.
Take a step back from time to time just to make sure everything it going to look as you pictured it.
Here are the steps to take:
- Check out the lights as even if they’re new, some may still not work. You don’t want to install them and only afterwards see that some aren’t working. Attach the light clips and see that they’re all in the same direction.
- Put on the lights to shutters or shingles, using an all-purpose light clip. You may do this with any type of light and no matter how you hang the lights (pointing up or down), you want to clip them in the same direction. Use the same clip to attach the lights to the shingles if you have no gutters, flipping the clip around.
- Use a light-hanging pole for hanging lights in a tree. The hanging poles are useful especially when you don’t want to use a ladder.
- Use some deck clips when you want to attach lights to the railings of your front porch or deck.
- Don’t forget to install a timer for the Christmas lights as you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to turn them off. Go for the timers with light sensors that turn on automatically at dusk.
- Turn on the switch and enjoy the show. After all that work, you may lay back and admire your work.