How to Install Patio Lights

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Patio lights can be used as a decorative addition or to illuminate the area for those evening parties. The easiest way to go is to install string patio lights.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Patio lights
  • Measuring tape
  • Decorative screw-type hooks or electrical staples
  • Extension cord

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  1. 1

    Measure the area you will be lighting. Determine how much lighting you want. Decide if you're going for ambiance or if you're using the lights to illuminate the entire patio. If you just want to set a mood, you won't need as many lights, and you can angle them to create distinctive shadows.

  2. 2

    Choose what type of patio lighting you want. Patio lights can be purchased at any home improvement center or lighting outlet. Patio lights come in a wide assortment of decorative styles and colors.

  3. 3

    Lay out the patio lights along the patio floor to determine the spacing of the lights. Once you've established how they're going to go up, you're ready for installation.

  4. 4

    Screw in decorative hooks along the patio railing or into roof beams if the patio is covered. Or use electrical staples to hold the wiring in place. Insert the screw or staples at 12-inch intervals. String the lights through the hooks, making sure to pull the lights taut. Slack wires will give your lights a sloppy look. If the lights are long enough, you can lead them off the patio and entwine them around a bush for a more decorative look. However you arrange them, make sure the lights end on the side of your electrical source. You don't want an extension cord cutting across your patio, it will ruin the presentation.

  5. 5

    Use an extension cord to plug the patio lights into the nearest outdoor receptacle. You can hide this cord by running it through a flower bed, shrubs or place it an inch or 2 beneath the dirt.

Tips and warnings

  • Low-watt bulbs are recommended for patio lighting.
  • Make sure the extension cord cannot be damaged by a lawn mower or weed whacker.

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