When you want the beautiful look of stringed lights in your backyard but you have no idea how to hang string lights on a deck, follow these easy DIY steps!
I love spending time on our back deck. It’s truly a perk to working from home, enjoying the chirps of birds and squirrels alike; and as much as possible we eat evening meals, an occasional weekend breakfast, and enjoy a summer cocktail or two on our deck.
But lighting in the evening is scarce for our wooded backyard. I wanted to hang string lights, but had no idea how to accomplish this when we basically only have one solid wall on our deck.
So after researching and gleaning inspiration on how to hang deck lights, I made a plan. On a wing and a prayer, and more trips to our local hardware store than I care to count … I did it! And I love how it turned out!
How to Hang String Lights on a Deck
For a patio, hanging string lights is easy … you can find tall shepherd’s hooks to insert into the grass or flower beds to achieve the look you want. But a deck that sits a few feet off the ground is another matter entirely!
First, I needed some kind of pole to hang the string lights from, in the areas they wouldn’t anchor to the house. One method of securing deck lighting poles is to ground them into planter containers (even using cement), but this wasn’t a possibility on our deck due to two built-in L-shape benches in the outside corners.
Two things you may or may not know about me: 1) I’m frugal and 2) I’m not that handy. I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on this DIY project, and it had to be easy. I can happily say now that we’re almost two years in, nothing has fallen down, and every one of my solar Edison bulbs still glow as brightly as the first night. I am really proud of what I made!
Helpful notes before you start this project:
Following are some helpful notes when you’re installing string lights around your deck using this method for making deck poles:
- Consider solar lights like I used! You’ll save on energy costs, and you won’t need to worry about where they will plug in, nor remembering to unplug them.
- Determine how high you want the lights above the outer deck railing. Will they hit someone’s head? Do they block your view of anything important? You may need to saw your boards a little shorter, or install the cup hooks a little further down.
- Are there other considerations like how you’ll continue lights where you may have an opening, such as a set of stairs? That’s what I ran into on our deck which you can see below. So, I bought two 27′ strands of solar Edison bulb string lights and started hanging one string from the house on one side, over to the opening of the stairs, and repeated on the other side with a second set. Both end with the solar panels right at the stairs leading to the backyard. There is also a 48′ length if you need a longer length.
Supply List for Hanging Lights around a Deck
I went with inexpensive, pre-cut 1″ x 2″ x 8′ pine beams. I was picky – pine is knotty so I made sure to get ones without knots on the edges.
- Four 1″x2″x8′ wooden beams (buy from a hardware store)
- Spray paint with primer, in the color of your choice (I chose black so it would be camouflaged at night)
- Cup hooks
- Deck screws (length will depend on the thickness of your deck railing)
- 1-2 strings of solar Edison lights – see note below.
Sand the wooden beams, then drill a small hole on each for where cup hook will go. Paint first coat onto the beams and cup hooks. Allow to dry, paint second coat. Allow to dry, then screw in cup hooks.
Install beams into deck railing using deck screws. Hang lights around the top, from the cup hooks. Play around with the length you wish for them to “swoop.” Enjoy all year ’round!
If you enjoy spending time in your backyard, you may like these perfect summer cocktail recipes: