How To Hang String Lights In Backyard Without Trees

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

So, you went to your friend’s house the other night for some backyard conversation and wine and fell in love with their yard. It was relaxing and comfortable, and those string lights in their trees were the perfect finishing touch. Now you want to hang string lights in your backyard, but you don’t have any trees.

You don’t have to hang string lights from trees. You can install the lights along your fence using posts or other structures in your yard. Sheds, patios, pergolas, and similar items are all possible mounts for lights. If you don’t have any of these things, install posts in your yard and string the lights between them.

Assess your yard and decide where you want to hang string lights to determine how many you’ll need. Then you can get to work creating the backyard retreat of your dreams (or at least one to rival your friend’s twinkling oasis).

Four Ways To Hang String Lights In A Yard Without Trees

Don’t fret if you don’t have trees in your backyard. There are plenty of other ways to hang string lights — no planting required. First, determine whether you can use existing structures in your yard to hang the lights. If not, your fence is a possibility.

But what if you don’t have a patio or you have a short fence? Or maybe you want outdoor lights throughout your yard, not just around the perimeter? Installing posts around your yard where you want to hang string lights is another great option.

1. Hang Lights From Existing Structures

Check out your yard’s current layout. Depending on what’s back there, you may already have the perfect setup for hanging string lights without trees. For example, if you have a patio and a backyard shed, you could install lights across your yard between these structures. You can also use the eaves of your house.

If they’re too far apart to accommodate a string of lights to support them properly, install a post between them (more on this later). The additional pole picks up the slack, prevents unwanted sagging, and adds necessary support.

Things You’ll Need: Tape measure, pencil or tape to mark your hooks, cup hooks, cable ties, drill with appropriate bits, and extension cord (if needed).

Plan out where you’ll hang the lights, laying them out on the ground approximately where they will go. Allow a bit of extra length so the string doesn’t pull too tightly when you hang it, and so the lights can move a bit.

Consider the location of your outdoor electrical outlet when starting your light string. It’s great if you can get as close to it as possible. But an extension cord is always an option if that’s the only way to make your plan work.

Use a pencil or a piece of painter’s tape to mark the location for your hooks. Drill a pilot hole in these spots and install exterior cup hooks. Hang the lights at even increments.

Don’t want to drill into your patio, pergola, shed, or other structures? Look for existing places where you can use cable ties to secure the lights.

2. Hang String Lights Along A Fence

If the back of the fence faces your yard, this is easy. You’ll already have access to the posts and can use them to hang lights. Otherwise, you can attach the lights directly to the fence using cup hooks or cable ties. Another option is to install some posts along your fence to act as light supports.

You’ll need the same supplies as before, in addition to wooden or metal posts, if desired. If you plan to install posts on the fence, you’ll also need a hammer, nails or screws, and a level.

Lay out the lights along the fence and decide where you’ll need to hang them. If you install posts, mark where these will go and note how many you’ll need.

Once again, consider the location of your electrical outlet and remember to leave some slack in between hanging points. If putting in posts, choose sturdy ones that are appropriate for the outdoors. Measure your fence so you know what height to get.

Attach posts evenly along the fence using the correct hardware. Use a level or ruler to mark your hanging points on each post at the same height. Install cup hooks to hang your lights.

3. Hang String Lights From Stand-Alone Posts

If you have no trees, no patio, no pergola — you get the idea — how do you hang string lights in your backyard? Even if you have a fence, what if you really want the lights to span your yard? The answer is to install some posts in your yard to support the lights.

Start with a plan. Where do you want the lights to go? Lay them out on the ground and mark the spots where you’ll need to add posts in your yard. Now you know how many you’ll need and where you must put them.

Buy tall metal or wooden posts that can stand up to outdoor elements. You need them tall enough for people to walk below the lights. If you plan to bury a portion of the pole in the ground, add this to the overall length.

You can install the posts more permanently, similar to how you install fence posts using cement and a post digger. But if you don’t want to get that involved, create weighted supports using large buckets or planters filled with cement. The essential part is to ensure the posts support the lights and stand firm, not wobbly.

If using buckets, place them where you want them, then add the cement. Then you won’t have to worry about moving or carrying them when they’re super heavy. Double-check your placement, ensuring the distance between each bucket accommodates the light length. Leave enough slack for the lights to hang loosely (this looks nice and helps with the wind).

4. Create Posts Using Stakes

Don’t want to deal with cement and buckets or drive big posts into the ground? Get rebar stakes that you can easily drive into the ground using a rubber mallet. These stakes come in various lengths. Make sure you get one long enough to go at least one foot into the ground with enough exposed length to support your post.

The longer the bar, the more support you’ll get. After placing the stakes in the ground, slide hollow wooden or metal posts over the stakes to hang your lights.

The rest of the process stays the same. Planning and laying out the lights, marking the position of your poles, etc.

No Trees? No Problem. Let The String Lights Shine

Don’t let a treeless yard keep you from enjoying the gentle glow of string lights in the evening. They make a great feature in your backyard, provide lighting, and give your outdoor space an instant boost. Hanging lights from your fence or existing structures is easy to do, but you don’t have to let that limit you.

Hang string lights in your backyard without trees using posts throughout your yard wherever you want your lights to go. No matter which way you choose, start with a plan and triple-check your light placement before you start installing posts or hooks. Finally, sit back and bask in the glow of your string lights and success.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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