Hand outdoor string lights without trees

8 Tips on How to Hang String Lights In Backyard Without Trees

If you love string lights decorating your backyard area but have few or no trees there, this could present a problem. After all, most people hang string lights on their trees and forget about it. 

Trees are great for hanging string lights because they are tall and allow you to use quite a few lights. But what if you don’t have any trees in your backyard? 

Backyard lights without trees

Although it may seem impossible to hang string lights in your yard without trees, you can get creative and hang them anyway. It is actually easy once you know the tricks.

So if you are looking for tips on hanging outdoor string lights without trees, read on.

1. Hang Lights on Your Fence

Let’s start with something simple – hanging string lights on a fence.

Although this suggestion looks best with a wooden fence, you can hang string lights along a chain-link fence as well.

Just measure the length of the fence so you can determine how many lights to buy, then drape them on the entire fence length. 

outdoor string lights in fence

String lights add depth to your backyard and can actually make it look much more sociable and a lot fancier. When you get together with your friends for a backyard party, lights can add some intimacy and personalization to the entire area.

2. Hang Lights on Other Greenery

If you don’t have trees but have bushes or other greenery in your backyard, you can hang your outdoor lights there.

For the best results, try to keep the lights as high as possible on the bushes because if they are too close to the ground, they might look a little awkward. 

In fact, you can hang lights from lots of fixtures in your yard, including trellises and planters. Remember, this is your yard, and you can decorate it any way you like.

If the layout looks odd to you when you’re done, just remove the lights and start decorating a different way so you can get a look you love!

If you can’t keep flowers or any greenery alive, you can use these artificial solar-powered flower lights to brighten up your space. When the sun goes down, the lights come on, and during the daytime, they are colorful artificial flowers. The best part is they do not require water.

Outdoor solar lights

3. Hang Lights on Posts

Hanging string lights from 4×4 posts works excellent and looks great, and you don’t need that many supplies to make it happen. Try to find 16-foot pressure-treated posts for the best results.

outdoor string lights with posts

You can use any number of posts that you like, and you can even start hanging them on either the first post or your home – whichever works best for you.

You can buy C-hooks with a safety buckle to secure the string lights to the posts. The safety buckle prevents the string lights from falling.

C-hook for string lights

Some people end up using only two 4×4 posts, while others use four or more posts. The size of your yard will determine how many you need to complete the project.

For the best results, place your posts a reasonable distance apart and try to make either a square or rectangle shape with them. Usually, about three feet of the post will go into the ground, so make sure your posts are long enough in the beginning.

You’ll also need to ensure your lights and any extension cords you buy are rated for outdoor use.

Test the lights first to make sure they are all working correctly. And check before you get started with the project, so you’ll know where the outdoor electrical outlet is.

Whiskey barrel light post

You can camouflage the wooden pole that holds up your string lights with a whiskey barrel with plants. This planter’s heavy base keeps everything stable while the flowers and greenery add some eye candy.

The whiskey barrel concept only works with authentic barrels that are wide enough to stabilize the posts.

Instead of 4×4, you can use landscaping timber. It’s is lighter, so you don’t have as much weight to support, but thick enough to stay straight.

You can use L-brackets to mount the post to the barrel’s bottom center.

Use coarse gravel, cement pieces, or bricks to weigh the bottom of the barrel. Fill the rest of the barrel with soil and plant the flowers.

Plastic whiskey planter barrels are also available, but their bottoms are a bit curved and have no grip, unlike natural oak barrels. The natural barrel has a rougher edge that will grab onto the soil. Plastic ones roll over quite easily due to the weight of the post and the string lights pulling on them.

You can find authentic wood barrels from Lowe’s or Craigslist, for example.

Other options

Solar lights with posts

To use solar lights, you must place a solar panel somewhere. You can run a small wire from the lights along with the post to where the solar panel sticks into the ground. 

Post cap light

You can install post cap light on the top of the post. Several models are available for installation on 4×4 or 6×6 posts. Typically, these lights automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn.

Post cap light

Flowers with posts

Posts can be decorated with flowers, which add a finishing touch during the day and night. The brightly colored flowers are visible during the day, and lights illuminate the flowers at night. 

4. Hang Lights on Your Deck or Patio

If you have a patio, deck, gazebo, or pergola, you can use that structure to hang your string lights on.

You can place the lights around the deck or patio using mounting clips. You can put them around or even inside a gazebo or pergola.

When it comes to gazebos and pergolas, you can get creative. It is possible to hang the lights on both sides of the structure.

If you have a covered patio, make sure you include some lights on the top part of the structure to add even more color and shine to your outdoor area.

We have another piece of article covering all the options on how to hang string lights on a covered patio.

5. Hang Lights on Existing Supports

If you look around your backyard area, you’ll likely find existing structures that you can use for hanging string lights. Look for poles, sheds, pillars, and any type of storage facility or other structure.

Hang outdoor lights in backyards structures

All of these are super easy to hang lights on, and the only money you’ll spend is on the lights because the structures are already there.

Try using screws, nails, or even metal hooks to hang your string lights from any of these structures. 

You don’t necessarily need a super large or very tall structure to hang string lights. A little creativity, and it’ll be easy for you to find the proper structure to hang lights on and dress up your backyard area.

6. Hang Lights on Metal Poles

Ready-made string light poles

Metal poles don’t interfere with the look of the lights because they’re non-intrusive.

Outdoor string lights with metal poles

Use the number of poles you feel comfortable with, which will depend on the size of your yard. Place the poles about 12-15 feet apart for the best look.

These ready-made string light poles are easy to install on your lawn. You just push the fork in the ground.

String light poles

The great thing about this easy installation is that you can use these either with a permanent solution or as temporary lightning options from weddings to outdoor BBQs.

How well they will handle depends on how firm the ground is where you push them. And this kind of pole might not be suitable for heavier string lights.

DIY poles for string lights

Another option is to buy stronger metal poles from Lowe’s or Home Depot and attach them to the ground. You can use a 10.5-foot metal pole with 1 3/8 inch diameter. You can have galvanized pipe or vinyl coated for weatherproofing.

To keep the poles upright, they should be deep enough to the ground – about 1.5-2 feet.

You can try pushing the metal pole into the ground. However, it may be too difficult to push it enough, depending on the ground.

If necessary, you can first hit a short PVC pipe into the ground and then insert the metal poles into the PVC pipe. The metal pole should fit inside the PVC pipe, so PVC should be 1 3/4 or 2-inch in diameter.

Cut the PVC into suitable length, around two-foot, and into an angle, to make it easier to push into the ground. You might need to hit it with something like a mallet or mini sled hammer. Be careful not to crack the PVC. 

You need to install an end cap to the metal pole to hang the lights.

Then use a cable tie, zip tie, or S-hook to string the light.

End cap to metal pole

You can combine these two techniques. Ready-made poles that you stuck to the ground may not be sturdy enough at the corners of the string light. You can keep those ready-made poles on the straight section by putting strong metal poles to the corners.

7. Hang Lights From a Manmade Structure

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can think of a few structures to build as a hanging place for your string lights.

For instance, some people place poles in buckets and fill them with heavy material to keep them steady. If you do this, it’s a temporary measure, and therefore you can stop using it later on if you wish.

If you like this idea but want it to be permanent instead of temporary, simply fill the buckets with concrete instead of sand or gravel.

For the posts, hollow metal, wood, or even a PVC pipework is best, and make sure you also get a heavy-duty bucket and not a cheap one.

8. Hang String Lights On Your Patio Umbrella

String light: You can attach string lights to the patio umbrella with cable ties. String lights make the umbrella look nice when open.

You should install the lights in a way that you can close the umbrella without damaging them.

There are both battery operated LED string lights, and socket based LED string lights for outdoor use.

LED string lights

The battery-operated models are typically powered by AA batteries housed in a sealed battery box, meaning there is no need for an electrical outlet. The light can be turned on and off using the remote. Ensure that your battery box is clearly visible, and do not hide it from the remote signal.

Patio umbrella pole light: A patio umbrella pole light that runs on batteries is easy to install.

You just clamp it to your umbrella pole.

With the light facing up, you can gently illuminate the underside of a patio umbrella, or with the light facing down, you can bring light to a patio table.

Patio umbrella pole light

Patio umbrella with lights: A patio umbrella with a built-in lighting system is one option. Usually, they are solar-powered and have a small solar panel on top of the canvas. Direct sunlight is required for 6-7 hours to charge the lights. It is easy to roll the umbrella down when the wind is too strong to keep it open.

Patio umbrella with lights

As with patio umbrellas in general, the umbrella base must be purchased separately. 

Alternatives to Hanging Lighting in the Backyard

Rope lighting

Rope lights are flexible PVC tubes with light bulbs evenly spaced inside. 

Rope light is a versatile backyard lighting solution. Rope lights cast a wide glow instead of pinpointing a single focal point as traditional landscape lights. 

The white rope light is most commonly used because it blends better with surroundings when not in use. 

Outdoor rope light

You can use this outdoor light option to highlight contours, edges, pathways, decks, and patios. 

There are pre-cut kits for easy plug-and-play installation.

Learn more: Rope Lights vs LED Strip Lights.

Solar brick lights

Solar brick LED lights are an excellent option for decorating the backyard and patio, or illuminating pathways. 

Solar deck lights

Aside from looking great as parts of a patio or garden path, they’re also easy to install and offer a decent amount of light.

They are among the best decoration lights you can pick.

Solar paver block lights are usually solar-powered and come with in-built batteries. 

Outdoor floor lamp

Outdoor floor lamps are ideal for porches and patios, whether you have a small enclosed balcony or a large open area. Take your indoor style outside with a standing floor or table lamp that’s designed specifically for the outdoors.

You can use outdoor floor lamps almost anywhere you need light outside.

While some models are perfect for reading or eating by on a balmy summer evening, others give some ambient light. Both solar-powered and plug-in models exist.

Outdoor floor lamp

Battery operated candles

Candles look gorgeous at night. If you have a patio table, consider having battery-operated candle lights.

battery-operated candle lights

You just turn these on and off with a switch at the bottom of the candle.

They won’t light the surroundings as string lights, but they are a simple way to make a decorative statement. They are also child-safe compared to real candles.

Using a Timer With Backyard Lights

You can set the lights to run on a timer. The lights can be set to come on automatically at dusk and stay on for as long as you want (for 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, or until dawn). 

You can use the timer to turn on and off lights while away. That gives you more security. And it’s nice to get home at night when all the lights are on.

Things You Need to Know About String Lights

String lights can be strung across almost anything in your backyard. Feel free to get creative when looking for ideas for your backyard entertainment.

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to hanging string lights outside of your home, so if it works for you, then it’s right for you! 

If you don’t want to use nails, try screws or hooks instead. Hooks are best if you want the lights to be permanent, but once you see how great the lights look in your backyard, you’ll likely want them to stay there awhile.

You’ll also want to make sure the string lights you use are made specifically for outdoor use and are waterproof as well.

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