How to Make Your Outdoor Christmas Lights Look Great


We’re heading into the Holidays again, so it’s time to start planning for the in-laws, the cooking, the gifts . . . and most important of all, the decorations, especially your outdoor Christmas lights. But, before you plan your acceptance speech for winning “most beautiful outdoor lights,” we’re offering some tips to help you make your house look like a Holiday wonderland this season.

Start by Planning Your Overall Design

You may get the urge to start decorating at any time. But, before you get started, it’s always best to sit back and figure out your game plan ahead of time. You don’t want to just “hope for the best.”

Choose your focal point – Look around and select your home’s best feature. If you have columns framing the entryway, you may want these to be your focal point. Start here.

Common places for displaying outdoor Christmas lights:

Roofline or along eaves

On pillars or posts

Across deck railings

Door and window frames

Up the driveway

Along walkways and pathways

On hedges and trees

Window boxes

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Amount of Lights – How many lights you’ll use to light up the front of your house is a matter of choice. If you’re lighting up your trees and bushes you would probably want 100 lights for every 1 ½ feet of tree or bush you plan on covering. For example, a 9 ft. tree would need at least 600 lights to cover it nicely.

But naturally, if you want your lights to be seen by the astronauts on the International Space Station, then you’ll need to use two sets of lights, staggering them side-by-side, or find strings with the lights spaced very close together. With denser lights, you’ll get more illumination.

Before Hanging Your Lights

Safety Precautions – Only use extension cords that are UL approved for outdoor use. Before buying your lights make sure they are rated specifically for indoor and/or outdoor use. Read the directions on the package for how many strands you can safely connect together. 

Inspect Your Lights – Look over every inch of your strands to see if there are any frayed or damaged parts. If you find anything faulty, it’s not only a safety hazard, but it could also ruin everything in your overall design.

Match Your Colors – If you look closely you’ll notice that white lights vary in color. LED lights tend to be either slightly yellowish or bluish in color, whereas white incandescent lights tend towards orange. If you hang them next to each other, they’ll appear mismatched.

Use Light Clips – Don’t use clothespins, staples or any other fasteners you’ve relied on in the past for attaching lights to the outside of your house. The best way to do this now is with light clips. There are clips for every type of surface, just read the instructions on the package to determine which ones best fit your needs.

Types of Lights – There are so many different types of lights and colors to choose from, so don’t let this stress you out, just have fun! Keep in mind that you should group the same type of lights together. You can use white lights on bushes and colored lights on trees and in your entryway. Along the roofline you might want to try stringing white or blue icicle lights.

LED Lights – These use less energy, so you will save money on your electric bill. They don’t overheat, which is a nice safety feature as well.

Icicle Lights – These look great hung along the roofline or eaves. They need to be clustered together because if the icicles are spaced too far apart, you lose the look entirely. 

Net Lights – These are made to be a blanket of lights that you lay over the top of your bushes to cover the entire bush in lights. They offer a quick and easy way to get complete coverage.