Lights brighten our homes and give us some cool vibes during outdoor home parties. We put them everywhere on our properties; on fences, in the garden, pool area, garage, and other places where it would be easy for us to spot someone. String lights are often used for decoration during seasonal celebrations, mostly around Christmas. But, can you hardwire patio string lights?
String lights are designed to be plugged in, so hardwiring them is not recommended. They aren’t rated for sun exposure, and to keep them working, you must let the electrical connection remain as it is. They also aren’t rated for a permanent hardwire connection. You could end up with a code violation if you tried hardwiring them.
In this article, we will tackle the topic of string lights and whether or not you can hardwire them. We will also tell you how to hang them outdoors and why it is important to buy commercial-grade string lights.
Can You Hardwire String Lights?
String lights give us that magical vibes we see in movies. They lighten the mood and brighten the area during garden parties or those times you want to be intimate with your family while sipping wine in your backyard.
String lights are often on display for decoration during seasonal celebrations, mostly around Christmas. They are thin wires in a parallel circuit and have multiple lights. String lights wires are so thin that some want to hardwire them.
Strictly speaking, you can’t hardwire string lights since are designed to be plugged in. To keep them working, you must let the electrical connection remain as it is. Since string lights aren’t rated for sun exposure, it is not advisable to leave them hanging in your patio, pergolas, or anywhere all year round.
String lights are designed to be plugged in, so hardwiring them is not recommended. They also aren’t rated for a permanent hardwire connection. You could end up with a code violation if you tried hardwiring them. Although, some types of string lights can be hardwired, like commercial grade string lights.
If you want to supply power to your outdoor spaces such as your yard, you can do so with the use of extension cords. The downsides to this, though, is that extension cords are a tripping hazard and they are not that good to look at. What can you do about this? Can you bury an extension cord in your yard? Read our article to find out.
Types of Outdoor String Lights
String lights are the perfect way to turn your outdoor setting into a warm, lively, and magical ambiance. Some people love to spend their free time in their backyards, whether it be on their patios, pergolas, or gardens. To set the mood and illuminate the area, you may use string lights. But, which ones are best for you?
Here are the different types of string lights you can use in your backyard.
Vintage lights give your patio and backyard a retro vibe and are often referred to as Edison light bulbs. You will mostly see this type of light in bars and restaurants, especially if their theme is antique. Vintage hanging lights are easy to spot because of their simple bulb design and warm glow. They are great if you want to achieve a romantic ambiance in your patio or backyard because they are not that bright.
The wires in those fixtures produce warm and golden light, and this type of string light is durable and long-lasting. For the best retro experience, opt for vintage lights with LED filament bulbs.
Rope lights are used to decorate the exterior of homes during the holiday season, especially on winter holidays. They are designed with enclosed and protective PVC, making them durable against harsh weather, especially frost. Rope lights can also be used for interior decorations. There are two types of rope lights:
- Rope lights that consume less energy: Rope lights with LED bulbs are available in colored bulbs, soft glow, or cold white. This kind of rope light can be expensive but can save you a lot of money on electricity. Plus, they are durable and reliable.
- Rope lights that consume more energy: This type of rope light consists of light bulbs and wires covered in rope. These are incandescent lights, which are known for their higher energy consumption and heat output. They can consume twice as much energy as LED lights. If you are on a tight budget, this type of rope light is an inexpensive alternative.
Festoon Globe Lights
This type of string light is a great addition to your patio, garden, or backyard. It gives off a dreamy and romantic ambiance and creates welcoming surroundings. Festoon globe lights are often hung from the ceiling or roped around a dining or seating area.
One of the advantages of a Festoon globe light is that you can connect 20 strands or more of these string lights for a more powerful and luminous lighting effect. Festoon globe lights are of great quality for a string light and are affordable.
Wire Rope Lights
This type of string light is quite popular among homeowners because it is easy to work with. Wire rope lights are minuscule bulbs inside a flexible and bendable wire. You can be creative when choosing this string light because of its bendable feature, which you can form into a word or turn into a different shape or design.
Fairy String Lights
Fairy string lights are perfect outdoor lights if you want to create a magical atmosphere in your patio, garden, or backyard. They are commonly used in bedrooms, but as time passes by, people are starting to hang them around trees and bushes, making them look like stars or fireflies. You can also install them on your patio, terrace, or garage.
Jar String Lights
Among the mentioned string lights, Jar string lights are the fanciest ones. They provide beautiful effects and are often seen at wedding receptions, anniversaries, and other intimate parties. Some homeowners prefer this type of string light to hang around their patios or gardens.
Jar string lights are widely available on the market, but some prefer to make their own to save money, since they are just normal lights contained in a jar, creating a stunning effect.
Any type of string light can turn your patio, garden, or backyard into a magical setting and give it a welcoming ambiance. Make sure to choose the perfect type to illuminate your outdoor living space. Globe string lights are perfect for outdoor lighting since they provide more illumination and a dreamy ambiance.
There exist regular string lights and commercial-grade lights. Buying commercial grade lights will go a long way. They are LED, last longer, don’t get hot when touched, and allows 20 lines to connect to a single outlet. Also, commercial grade string lights offer a lower wattage per bulb than regular string lights.
Do you hate how dark your yard looks after the sun has set? The best way to expel dark shadows is to put up artificial lighting. Lighting sets the mood of your outdoor spaces, making the atmosphere dreamy and the scenery captivating. With that in mind, which color is better for your outdoor landscape lighting, warm white or cool white? Read our article to find out.
How to Hang Outdoor String Lights
Hanging your outdoor string lights is quite easy. However, before executing the deed, you must plan for it. You have to prepare the tools, materials, and area where you want to install them.
Before starting, consider these four things:
- Ensure to have power and a plug or extension cord. Inspect the string lights you’ll be using to see if there’s a broken wire or bulb.
- Also, check how many strands it can connect to a single plug.
- Create a design for your string lights to have a clean outcome.
- Lastly, look for sturdy and natural support to attach the wires. Make sure to look for support that is at least 9” off the ground. Trees would make great support. And if you don’t have any, look for a solid spot or a post secured by concrete.
Here are the materials and tools you need to hang outdoor string lights:
- Commercial-grade string lights (the type depends on your preferences)
- Stainless steel cable / Cable guide wire
- Cable clamps
- Eye hooks
- Screw driver
- Wire snips
- Zip ties
- Extension cords (optional)
Once you have secured all the materials that you will need, you can now proceed to hang your string lights.
Step 1: Measure and Prepare
Take note of the four considerations mentioned above as part of the first step. Measure the string lights and cable guide wire you need for bridging. When ordering your string lights, make sure they are long enough to get to your power source. Also, ensure to have enough cable guide wire for it to loop the cable back to itself. Add 12” to each bridge for allowance.
Step 2: Attach the Screws Hooks
Start the installation process by tightly mounting the screw hooks to the mounting points. Make sure to mount the hooks in a sturdy area, like trees or a solid part of your house. Some love to place their string lights in a zigzag pattern in an open space. However, if you have other creative ways in mind, do as you like.
Use a hammer to secure the screw hooks onto the tree. Once you’ve secured them, screw them. Repeat the procedure as it makes its way through layers of bark.
Step 3: Connect and Tighten the Wire
Once you’ve secured the hook in place, it’s time to hang the cable. Connect the snap hook on the cable guidewire to the hooks at one end of the span. Between each set of snap or eye hook, run the cable wire and secure it using aluminum steel or other locks and pulling it tight.
Step 4: Install your String Lights
Once the guide wires are installed, hang your string lights. We recommend using zip ties (if possible of the same color as your string lights) to attach your string lights to the cable guidewire. For optimum support, use zip ties on each side of every socket.
Layout your string lights before you secure them to the cable to avoid problems that would cause you to repeat the process. Also, decide on how many bulbs you want on each cable run, so that it will be easier for you to attach the lights using a ladder in one spot.
Step 5: Sit Back and Enjoy
Once you’ve checked and ensured that all your strings lights are properly attached, it’s time to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Turn on your string lights when dusk is approaching to appreciate the view.
There exist different types of string lights to decorate your patio, garden, or backyard. There are also regular string lights and commercial-grade lights. Choose the type of light you think is best for you and safer to use. Typically, string lights are made of a special type of cord in a parallel circuit, so hardwiring them is not recommended.
It is also best to leave them the way they are since string lights aren’t made for life-long use. Although, proper safekeeping and handling can make them last longer. Before making any changes to your string lights, make sure you have the experience and proper knowledge to do so.