How to hang string lights from trees

How to hang string lights to a tree

BySonya Barker

Find all of the details here for how to hang string lights to a tree in a secure manner. Create the backyard oasis of your dreams by adding string light ambiance.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

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I’m adding in lots of extra info to help you in the process. If you want to skip all that and move directly to hanging your lights you can do that. You can jump to any part of the blog post by clicking that section in the table of contents.

You don’t want to miss the secret trick in step four.

Have you been dreaming of the perfect backyard oasis all light up at night but feel like you need lots of decor and money to make it happen? This post is for you.

When we rebuilt our deck that included an outdoor kitchen, I knew immediately I wanted string lights as part of it. I still can’t believe our first backyard makeover didn’t include hanging lights.

When you start considering your outdoor space as a room, you’ll realize how important it is to decorate it. I’ve come to learn that no matter how beautiful or minimal your outdoor decor is, string lights will make all of the difference.

Just like your Christmas tree lights during the holidays. No matter what is going on in a room, the lights at night just make it better.

Frequently asked questions

Do you need a guide wire to hang string lights?

Not always but I’d recommend it. You will need a guide wire based on the weight of your string lights and the distance between each tree. The guide wire will create a more stable hang with less tension pulling on your string light wiring.

How do you secure string lights to a tree?

Hang with a quality string light kit. We used a top rated kit based on great recommendations. I’ve linked it in this post.

How do you hang lights on a tree without hurting it?

While wrapping string lights tightly around a tree can damage the bark, you will not need to do this with a quality kit.

How do I decide how high to hang the string lights?

You want them hanging tall enough as not to be bumped out touched but not too tall you loose some of the ambient light. Try for between 8-10 feet from the ground.

Why hang outdoor string lights

  • define an area, create a room (dining, fire pit, seating)
  • ambiance lighting
  • light up your yard for safety

Creating an outdoor room and bringing the inside out, is a great way to make your home feel bigger. Taking time to make a living room, outdoor dining room or a fire pit area are my favorite ideas.

The relaxed ambiance string lights bring to your outdoor rooms is worth the effort.

There is the added bonus of having more lighting in your yard for safety. Gives strangers the notice that someone is home, as you would with your porch lights. Also, adds extra light for walking around the yard.

What to do before you buy

  • decide between solar or electric
  • determine area/room your lights will hang
  • measure distance to determine what length of lights to buy and how many strands
  • choose the trees for the project

I would recommend going electric if you have the option. Solar lights hanging from trees will not put off near as much light as string lights you can plug in.

We bought two strands of 48 foot string lights. Then we attached them to 3 trees and the outdoor kitchen roof when our electrical outlet was installed.

Type of lights to look for

  • shatter resistant bulbs
  • heavy duty
  • weather resistant

Shop top quality string lights and kit

This tutorial and outdoor kit will work in any place you want to hang string lights to wood. Deck, pergola, screened porch, planter pole or your homes exterior. We hung ours from the backside of our outdoor kitchen.

As far as how to hang the hardware from the kit, it comes with great instructions. I’m adding some extra steps here to aid you in the process.

How to hang string lights to a tree

Step One

First and foremost, choose a quality outdoor string light kit. We did some research and found this top rated string light kit. Below is quoted directly from the Amazon listing.

  • Every component of this string light suspension kit is threaded and requires no additional tools to complete the project. The accessories are very compact and easy to assemble or dismantle. Detailed instruction is provided to make it a simple task to put up the strings light no matter on wood, timber or concrete wall.

Step Two

Lay out your string lights on the ground from the electrical box source. Make sure to have them laying in the correct direction before starting.

Our trees are tall and limbed up so we didn’t have any issue working our lights around branches. If you do have branches to maneuver this is the time to lay out that plan.

Step Three

Attach the tree hardware. We added the string lights as we went, doing one tree at a time. This allowed us to see how high up each tree we wanted the lights to be. The distance is roughly the same but because the ground is slightly uneven I didn’t do an exact measurement.

Step Four (secret trick!)

We didn’t use the twist ties that come with the kit and instead ran our guide cable through the loops at the top of each light. Paying special attention to alternate the direction on each bulb.

This way of doing it has made the cable and string lights hold together very well.

Outdoor string light maintenance

  • remove any broken tree branches from the wires as soon as you can
  • clean the bulbs with a microfiber cloth to keep a nice bright glow
  • check your tree hardware each season

See many more before and after home decorating projects from around our home. That is a great post to see lots in one place.

How to Hang String Lights DIY

Backyard DIY Series Part II

Getting Started

I’m so excited to share Part 2 in our Backyard series (see Part 1 here) with you today AND to have Ryan takeover for the day. Like I mentioned last week, our backyard was his project, and it would be cruel to not let him show it off. Plus, he did some seriously amazing DIYs that you need to try this summer!

Today we are starting with the Canopy String Light DIY! And have no fear… after reading this post you will know exactly what to do, because not only is Ryan handy, he’s also thorough! You can just go ahead and thank your lucky stars that I’m not the one writing this! Ha! So, let’s get started… Ryan, show us how it’s done!


Hey Everyone, Ryan here! The real litmus test to know if a home project (DIY or otherwise) is worth the investment is whether you get the feeling that you don’t know how you ever did life without it. I’m sure there is a relationship or marriage metaphor in there somewhere, but that’s exactly how we felt about the lights. They make such a huge statement with our backyard ambiance. Early morning, dusk, evening, during rainstorms. We turn them on almost every chance we get!

Putting up the lights came with a few unexpected challenges, but overall it was a fairly simple DIY that can be completed by anyone in just a few simple steps and definitely within a day. Here’s how to start.


1) Do a little dreaming and sketching

The first thing we did was take a good look at our backyard. We took measurements and sketched out some options for how the lights could be laid out. While there are a number of ways we could have strung these lights over our backyard, we could only choose one. This post will just cover what we did. As you start your DIY, you may need to modify this plan to fit your unique circumstances. There’s a little work involved, but it’s not rocket science. Clearly, my artistic talents are not quite up to Ashley’s level!


2) Get These Materials

– about 80, 4″ Zip ties

– 150 feet of vinyl coated galvanized steel cable (buy it by the foot in store)

– 5 Stainless steel eyelets 

– 4 Ferrule & Stop sets 

– 5 Quick links 

– LED Lights (the most important part!)

***UPDATE 5/18/20*** The above materials are perfect for this project, but I just noticed that Amazon sells these Light Hanging Kits. I have looked into it and they are legitimate. They could save you a lot of time and work!

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LED String Lights

– I used 4 sets of 24-foot canopy/string lights – I bought them on Amazon. The sets are $39.97 which I found to be the best value out there. A few of my bulbs went bad, but they have a lifetime warranty and Alpan’s customer service was very quick to send me replacements. I haven’t had another issue.

We chose LED lights because they don’t put out a lot of heat, and they use significantly less power. The bulbs also last longer so you don’t have to worry about replacing them every few months. LED anything is more expensive than traditional incandescent lighting, so we spent some time looking for affordable options.  So far they’ve worked wonderfully, and we feel great about not running up the electricity bill.


– Power drill

– Metal cutting snips or bolt cutters

– Crimping tool (optional ““ I did not use one, but would have if I had seen this under $25 one!)


*NOTE – There are a few materials we don’t list above and here is why:
For our project, we had to do a little bit of electrical work to install a power outlet under my soffit and a switch inside my garage. The switch was really for convenience and is not required to have canopy lights. As for the wall outlet, our home is surprisingly lacking in outdoor power receptacles, so that was one challenge we were forced to overcome to make our string light dream a reality. All of that said, we’re not certified electricians and will not be advising or showing the electrical part of our project. Consult a professional electrician if you feel your situation requires any electrical work.

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3) Place the Eyelets

Since we were connecting lights from our house to a central location at our lone backyard tree, that was my starting point (not pictured). We measured about 11.5 feet high so the lights would slope up from the house to the tree.

Next up, attaching the eyelets to the fascia on the house. Since we were running four lines from the house to the tree, we repeated this step four times.  If you have a setup where you can drill into your house or a stud behind the wall, that’s an even better way to go. We’ll likely go back and reinforce these connections in the near future.

Here we used the power drill and easily screwed in the 2 5/8″ Screw Eyelet from National Hardware.


4) Set the Steel Cable

The steel cable is not mandatory for some people, but it absolutely was for us. The biggest benefit is the cable will keep the string light cord from stretching out over time, prolonging the life of the lights. 

We ran four separate cable segments ““ each from the house to the tree.

-Loop the cable and feed it through the ferrule. We used metal snips to both cut the cable and crimp the ferrules. Bolt cutters work well for this too. A crimping tool is the official tool for crimping ferrules, but because of the light load on the cable, we felt more than comfortable using the snips.



Connect the looped end to one of your Quick Links



Connect the Quick Link to the eyelet. Do this on both ends of the line. Here you want to make sure the line has a little give but not too much. You don’t want the lights drooping and swinging too wildly in storms or windy weather. 



We used quick links for an easy takedown. We live in Central Florida where every few years we have an active hurricane season. I wanted to be able to take these lights down, if needed, at a moment’s notice. Using these quick links is one of a few ways to accomplish that, but it’s one of the easiest options. We got these from National Hardware, and you can also find them at Lowe’s. 


5. Secure Lights to the Cable

Phew! The cable portion is probably the most labor intensive, but with that all done you’re 80% there!

We placed two zip ties on the first and last lights on each strand for added security. One zip tie was fine for all the rest.


As you do this, carry scissors along with you and cut off the hanging end of each zip tie. That will make them as visually unobtrusive as possible.


6. Screw in the bulbs

This is pretty self-explanatory, and when you’re finished, take a deep breath.  You are DONE!


Hopefully, wherever you are the sun will be setting soon. Pour yourself some wine, plug in your string lights, sit back, and enjoy the scene for all it’s worth. 

If you do attempt this or something similar in your backyard, we’d love to hear about it! If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments section and I’ll make sure to answer them as best that I can.


Our Porch Furniture

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Planter Accent Hardware:



Lastly, many of you have asked about the accent corner braces we put on the planter. They came from our partners at National Hardware as well. We built the planter, and we thought it was great but still lacking something. National Hardware has a huge selection of hardware that can bring any part of your home to the next level. We found these braces which not only strengthen the box, but they are decorative as well. Sometimes it’s the simplest details that make the greatest difference, and we could not be more pleased! 

P. S. There will be a DIY post about building the planter AND what’s inside, so stay tuned!



Don’t miss the full Backyard DIY Series!

Part 1 – An Introduction (before & after pics included!)

Part 2 – How to hang String Lights

Part 3 – Backyard Entertaining (three best Summer cocktails!) 

Part 4 – How to Build a Cedar Wood Planter (and what to put in it)

Part 5 – How We Installed the Pavers & Gravel

Part 6 – How to Build a Simple Wood Deck


In Partnership with National Hardware

Photographed by Gregory Daniel

We decorate trees with Christmas garlands - Articles

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With a few measurements and a simple plan, you can turn your yard into a magical winter wonderland by decorating your trees with garlands! In addition, you can decorate the house with a Christmas tree, perfectly complemented by bright light bulbs!

Here's what you'll learn in this helpful guide:

  • How to decorate tree trunks and branches with garlands
  • How to decorate evergreen trees
  • How to light up bushes and fences
  • How to decorate a Christmas tree at home
  • Outdoor tree ornaments

How to do it: Trunks and Branches

If you're wondering how to decorate trees with Christmas lights, follow the tips below.

Measure the girth of the tree trunk and the girth and number of branches you wish to decorate. Determine how far apart you need between the bulbs on the filament, as well as how far apart you plan to place each turn of the garland.

When decorating trunks and branches, the most popular distance between lamps is 15 cm with a distance between coils of 5-8 cm.

Example: we have a trunk 1.2 m long and 60 cm in girth, and we plan to wrap four thick branches, each of which is about a meter long and 15 cm in girth. To calculate how long we need a garland, we use the following equation:

1.2 m stem / 7.5 cm distance = 16 x 60 cm girth = 9.6 m garland

1 m branch / 7.5 cm distance = 13 x 15 cm girth = approx.

The total length of the garland will be approximately 17-18 m per stem and 4 branches.

When decorating trees, the power available must also be considered. If you use ordinary mini-garlands, you can connect up to 10 threads per 100 light bulbs in one line, which will be 420 watts. If you use professional options, you can connect up to 6 threads per 100 bulbs together. LED decorations allow you to connect up to 43 threads at the same time, or 210 watts, so there are no particular problems with them regarding the simultaneous connection of a huge number of light bulbs. The transition to economical LED garlands allows you to include the maximum number of decorations.

The best way to decorate branches

Trees decorated with purple and orange garlands for Halloween.

Most trees should be decorated with garlands along the trunk and 1-1.2 m along the branches. It is not necessary to decorate each branch, it is better to choose those on which the light bulbs can be placed most evenly and neatly. It is best to decorate the trees together, rolling the garland into a neat ball. The following steps will make decorating your tree as easy as possible:

  • Start winding the first strand of the garland at the base of the tree. Make sure the plug is at ground level so that it can be plugged into the power cord.
  • Starting from the socket, systematically wrap the tree with a string of light bulbs, connecting the plug of one garland into the socket of the next.
  • Roll the garland tightly to prevent it from slipping along the trunk. If necessary, you can secure dangling wires or areas you're not sure about with plastic zip ties.
  • Increase the vertical distance between the threads on branches where the garland will wind in the normal and reverse directions.
  • Try to wind the garland threads closer to the tree to prevent them from being damaged by wind and bad weather.

DIY: Decorating Tree Trunks and Branches

The tutorial shown in the following images uses one 70-light LED string that wraps around a 1.2m high, 30cm girth trunk and two branches. We recommend winding decorations more tightly and making more branches.

Step 1 . Roll the garland into a ball to make it easier to wind, connect the plug to the power source at the base of the tree.

Step 2 . Wind the thread up the barrel, leaving room for you to wind it in the opposite direction (if you like).

Step 3 . Wrap the strings back and forth along the length of the main branches

Step 4 . Wind the garlands in the opposite direction along the trunk, securing the plug at the end

Decorating evergreen trees

Evergreen trees keep their canopy intact throughout the winter and include spruce, pine, fir and other species. Using the recommended number of garlands, you will be able to determine how many strings of decorations you need, as well as what size lamps should be. Check your bulbs before installing them, especially if you're going to be decorating large trees, as it's almost impossible to fix a broken one after you've installed all the lights. You may also need tees and extensions to connect your decorations to a higher tree.

Tips for decorating evergreen trees:

  • Calculate how much power you need for garlands and make sure that the limits are not exceeded
  • C7 and C9 bulbs are most often used to decorate large evergreen trees and pines
  • Wrap the strings around freely to light up the bulbs in different places without being visible or disturbing the look of the tree
  • By decorating the crowns of large trees, you will create bright lighting without having to wind the garland to the very top of the tree
  • Use extensions to reach high parts of the tree

Hedge and bush garlands

Use mesh garlands to decorate bushes and fences quickly and neatly. If you prefer to decorate bushes and fences with ordinary tree garlands, follow the basic rules:

  • Hang them randomly
  • When designing long fences, place the power supply in the center of the fence and stretch the filaments of the bulbs to the left and right
  • Attach garland strings to the outside of the bushes, covering the top and ¾ length of the bush from top to bottom
  • Leave approx. 30 cm from the ground so that the jewelry does not fall into the water or snow

How to decorate a Christmas tree with garlands

Decorating a Christmas tree that will stand in the house, the main effect that needs to be achieved is that the wires remain as invisible as possible. If you wrap a garland of a branch, instead of just hanging it outside, you get a beautiful and evenly diffused backlight.

  • If you decorate the Christmas tree with a garland with mini bulbs with a distance of 20 cm, the wires can be wound more tightly around the branches
  • Start at the base, leaving the end long enough for the plug to reach the socket
  • Wind the cord in both directions along the length of the branch, moving along the branches as close to the trunk as possible, without leading the cord to the outside of the branches
  • When the garland reaches the top of the tree, start winding it in the opposite direction, leaving a slot at the top to install a decorative tip.

Now you know how to decorate both street trees and home Christmas tree with New Year's garlands. You can complement the decoration with light figures from duralight.

Garlands for trees Clip light, views, how to decorate and connect.

On the eve of the New Year holidays, all cities, streets and shops are prepared especially carefully: everything begins to shine and shimmer with colorful lights, attracting the eye and reminding of the approach of the most important celebration.

By December, all buildings are transformed inside and out, avenues and streets shimmer with millions of lights. And the trees with the onset of the dark time of the day look like in a fairy tale. With the development of LED technology in our time, tree decoration has become very popular, it is no longer so expensive and very effective.

In this article we will understand what clip light is, what it is and how to choose the right one.

Clip-light is a LED street garland that operates from a step-down transformer (it converts 220V to 24V current, there will be no electric shock if the product is damaged) with an increased level of dust and moisture protection (IP not lower than 44), which makes it absolutely safe for people. It can be used in all weather conditions, the operating range is from -40 to +60 degrees. During operation, the diodes do not heat up and do not harm the tree.

  • The clip-light garland is very similar to the usual, comes in standard sets for 30, 60 and 100 meters. All of them go in segments of 10 m or 20 m, connected in series to each other. Comes with step down transformer. Operates in constant light mode.
  • Clip-light Spider are ready-made decoration kits. In their kit, in addition to the transformer, there is a splitter for 3 or 5 beams.

Available with modes:

  • Flickering.
  • Permanent glow (fixing).
  • With controller (chasing) that provides light dynamics modes.

You can also purchase additional splitters in the Cliplight accessories section.

Garlands are made of PVC wire (it is recommended to decorate during the warm period, because it hardens with the onset of cold weather and can break when decorating), rubber or silicone (more suitable for installation in the cold season, they will not harden at low temperatures below 20 degrees).

Connecting the garland

The garland can be connected in series one after the other if you plan to simply hang it on the branches in the old fashioned way (this method is also suitable for decorating a high-rise Christmas tree). It is convenient to dress up a tree with a long garland - just wind it around the trunk or randomly distribute it among the branches.

If you are planning to decorate a branching tree, then you need a clip-light spider, which comes with a 3- or 5-beam splitter.

Learn more