How to hang rope lights on the exterior

Written by anne hirsh
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How to hang rope lights on the exterior
Attach rope lights to decorative railings with cable ties. (metal railing image by Thomas owen from

Rope lights are an excellent choice for outdoor lighting because the clear tube that encases rope lighting can protect it from the weather. Rope lights are commonly hung under eaves to create a glow that illuminates the exterior of your home while the roof overhangs hide the lights from direct view. This is often called soffit lighting (a soffit is the underside of an overhang). You can also install exterior rope lights along ground-level pathways, exterior stairs and throughout your gardens.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rope light mounting clips
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Cable ties
  • Scissors
  • Tent stakes
  • Rubber mallet

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  1. 1

    Place a rope light mounting clip against the exterior wall where you want soffit-style rope lighting to begin, just under the roof overhang.

  2. 2

    Attach the clip to the wall using the screws provided or any other small screw that will not pierce all the way through your exterior siding.

  3. 3

    Attach another clip for every foot of rope light, using an additional clip before and after any corner you want your rope light to turn.

  4. 4

    Press the rope lights into the clips.

  1. 1

    Lay additional rope light along any pathways, decks or stair rails you want to light.

  2. 2

    Wrap a cable tie (also called zip tie) around the rope and any surface you want to attach it to, such as a cast iron railing, and place the tail end of the cable tie through the tie's head. Pull it tightly and cut off any excess plastic that sticks out from the tie.

  3. 3

    Add a cable tie at every corner or bend in the rope, plus additional ties anywhere the rope light sags. For wood decks, mounting clips can be used as noted for wall mounting, instead of cable ties.

  1. 1

    Lay out the rope light on the ground as you want it to rest for garden and pathway lighting.

  2. 2

    Pin the rope lighting in place by staking it to the ground with U-shaped tent stakes. Place a stake at any major curve or turn in the light rope, or about every 3 feet for straight runs.

  3. 3

    Hammer the tent stakes into the ground carefully with a rubber mallet, if necessary, making sure not to strike the rope in the process.

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