String lights can take your outdoor space from drab to fabulous. However, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to hang string lights, particularly on a lanai, which may use concrete or stone supports. We've done the research and found the best way to install string lights in a lanai.
To hang string lights like a professional decorator, take the following steps:
- Determine the layout of your lights, including anchor points and electricity source.
- Use a tape measure to figure out how many lights and how much guidewire you'll need.
- Install screw eyes at the anchor points.
- Attach the string lights to the guidewire.
- Use carabiners to attach the guidewire and lights to the screw eyes.
- Plug in your string lights and enjoy!
If this seems overwhelming, don't worry. Read on to find out more details about each step, including what to do if you need to attach your string lights to a difficult anchor point such as a tree or concrete wall.
How To Hang String Lights In A Lanai
1. Determine the Layout of Your Lights
The first thing you have to do is decide where you want to hang your lights. The placement of your lights will depend on where you can anchor them. If your lanai is enclosed, it will be easier to find anchor points. However, even if your lanai is open, you can use the roof supports or nearby trees as anchor points.
Make sure whatever you use for an anchor point can support the tension and weight of the guidewire and lights. The wire and lights aren't heavy, but the tension from the guidewire will put some pressure on the anchor points.
2. Measure the Distance Between Anchor Points
To find out how many strings of lights you'll need, use a tape measure to measure the total distance your lights will cover. Add two to six extra feet to account for the natural swag in the lights. If your project is especially large, add even more. A good rule of thumb is to buy one more set than you think you'll need.
If your layout is complicated or difficult to measure, you can use twine or yarn as a stand-in to measure. Simply run the twine in where you plan to hang the lights and then measure it. Don't forget to include the distance to your electricity source.
3. Install Screw Eyes at the Anchor Points
Next, you'll need to install screw eyes to hold the guidewire. This will be relatively simple if you're attaching the screw eyes to wood. Simply predrill the holes and then screw in the screw eye bolts. This works on trees as well. You will just need to make sure that your tree is healthy and sturdy enough to support the tension of the wire.
If your anchor points are on a brick, stone, or concrete surface, you'll need a few extra supplies. You'll need to predrill your holes with a masonry bit. Then insert a lag shield anchor into the hole. This will help hold the eye bolt in place. Finally, screw the eye bolt into the lag shield anchor.
4. Attach the String Lights to the Guidewire
You can attach your lights to the guidewire now, or you can wait until the guidewire is installed and then attach the lights. If your lights are going to be installed in an area that's difficult to access, it will probably be easiest to attach the lights to the guidewire before you hang them. That way, you'll only have to hang it once.
If your lights are heavy or will be exposed to a lot of wind, you can use S-hooks to attach them. For more lightweight lights, or if you're installing them in a protected area, you can use zip ties to attach the lights to the wire.
5. Use Carabiners to Attach the Guide Wire to the Screw Eyes
You will need to make a loop in the guidewire to attach it at the first anchor point. Do this by using a crimping ferrule or wire clamp. Simply loop the cable and insert it in the ferrule or clamp. Then crimp or screw the fastener. You'll end up with a loop at the end of the guidewire.
Once you've made the loop, use a locking carabiner to connect the loop to the screw eye bolt. For the other connections, just attach the cable with the locking carabiner to the eye bolt. When you get to the last anchor point, make another loop and attach it to the last eye bolt with a locking carabiner.
6. Plug in Your String Lights and Enjoy
You may need to use an extension cord to reach an outlet to plug in your string lights. If you're running the cord along a wood or drywall surface to reach an outlet, you can secure the cord with staples. Just make sure you don't staple through the cord.
If you're running the cord along a concrete wall, you can use adhesive cord clips to secure it. If you need to run it along a floor, make sure it's completely covered to avoid a tripping hazard.
What Kind of Wire Do You Use to Hang String Lights?
The best type of wire to use for hanging string lights is vinyl-coated stainless steel wire. You can buy kits that contain the wire and some of the hardware you'll need. The vinyl coating will protect the wire from the elements and make it easier on your hands when you're hanging the lights.
How Do You Hang Outdoor Lights Without Nails?
If you can't drill or hammer into your lanai, you can still hang lights with adhesive hooks. You may need to skip the guidewire and just hang the lights. This isn't the best way to hang lights for durability, but it may be perfect for you if you're renting or just putting up the lights short-term, such as for a party.
How Do You Hang Outdoor String Lights on Concrete?
Since many lanais are constructed of concrete, you may need to put your anchor points in concrete. The best way to hang outdoor lights on concrete is by using a masonry bit and a lag shield anchor. The lag shield anchor will allow the eye bolt to expand in the hole you've drilled in the concrete. This forms a strong anchor point that will hold up to the tension on your string lights.
How Do You Hang String Lights on a Metal Lanai?
If all of your supports are metal, you have a few different options for hanging string lights. If you have gutters, you can use gutter hooks. These are plastic hooks that fit into your gutter. You wouldn't be able to use them with a guidewire, but they would work for hanging lightweight string lights directly.
Another option is adhesive hooks. Again, these wouldn't work with a guidewire. Depending on the type of metal structure you have, you may be able to mount an eye bolt with a nut. You can use a metal drill bit to make the hole and then use a nut on the back to secure an eye bolt.
String lights can take your lanai from ordinary to fabulous. They provide a cozy ambiance for you and your guests to spend time close to nature but protected from the elements. Investing an afternoon in hanging string lights will reward you with many evenings of outdoor fun.
If you're looking for more home inspiration, check out these posts: