One of my very, very favorite things about our Backyard Patio Makeover is the DIY Posts for Outdoor String Lights. They not only bring the whole space together, but give us much needed light in our very dark backyard! From the time we started working on our patio, I knew that I wanted outdoor string lights, but with no trees to hang them from, we had to come up with a different plan. Since I didn’t want to use planters, we put posts directly in the ground where we wanted them instead, then strung the lights. I absolutely LOVE it. We hung flowers from the posts, and they gave it the perfect touch. Best of all, it’s an easy weekend project!
They are so lovely during both the day and at night. When I look out my windows, I see the bright colored flowers and lights going across the patio, and I love sitting out there. At night they light up our whole patio with a lovely glow, offering a cozy atmosphere for hanging out with our family and friends. This one project completely changes the look and ambiance of the space–what a different it makes!
I also like having the flowers up higher, as opposed to sitting nearer to the ground, because I can see them out my windows right at my eye level. You could certainly modify this tutorial and place your poles in planters to hang the lights, if you’d rather not put posts in the ground, and if that suits your needs better. There are pros and cons to both, but for us, the posts have been the perfect fit.
Solar outdoor string lights
We have patio,, but you can do the same thing with a deck– just add the light poles around the edges in the same way. Using solar string lights has made a world of difference. It also eliminated the need for an extension cord having to go across the patio, or an outlet with a plug nearby. We didn’t start out using them, but quickly discovered that was the way to go. I’ve now added them several places around our yard, including up by our fire pit area in the woods.
Not having to worry about cords has been such a lifesaver, and it makes it look so much nicer if they’re not in the way. We don’t live where it’s sunny all year, and it snows about half the time! But that’s never been a problem, because we don’t use the patio during the winter, and there’s always enough light from the spring through the fall months.
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Here’s everything you need to make your own DIY posts for string lights!
- 10 ft. or 12 ft. pressure-treated 4×4 posts
- Quikrete Fast Set Concrete Mix
- Shovel or Post Hole Digger (Auger)
- Outdoor String Lights (or these!)
- Black Steel Pipe–flange and caps, 3/4 inch (to hang the flowers on)
- Post and pipe level
- Hanging Flowers
DIY Posts for Outdoor String Lights Tutorial
- Decide where you want your posts, and how many you need. Make sure you buy pressure-treated lumber! (If you want to paint or stain the wood you can, but you have to wait until the posts are completely dry–a month or so. You can still see some of the writing on my posts in these pictures!) Depending on how far down your posts need to go, so you may want to get a longer post. I suggest having them be about 8 feet above ground, so they’re high enough for lights. See #2 below, for info on how far down your post needs to go.
- Dig the holes for your posts. How far do you go down? That will vary by location. Check the frost level in your area, and you’ll want to dig down that far. (Here’s a map you can look at, or ask your local hardware store.) If you don’t have to go too far–18 inches to 2 feet–you could use a shovel. Any farther down than that, and you may want to consider renting a post hole digger (auger) from your local hardware store or tool supply company. Even though we live in rural area, we’re lucky to have a tool supply company very close. We have a trailer so we can pick rented tools up, but check with the store about delivery, which they will often supply. If you’re going down 4 feet, it’s a very big 2-man auger, and you’ll need two people that can handle. I was able to do it with my husband, but I definitely got my workout in for the day!
- Mix and pour cement. We used 4o pounds per post. The fast setting concrete mix dries very quickly, so you can just hold the post level for a few minutes, and it will be dry enough to walk away. You will have a few more minutes to make adjustments if you need to (won’t be completely solid for a couple hours). A post and pipe level is extremely helpful to ensure that your post is totally straight–makes it so much easier, and I highly recommend it!
- Add the pipe to your post by using your drill and 7/8 in. spade bit to drill a hole where you want the pipe to be–we did ours 6 inches from the top. Screw on the caps.
- Hang your lights! If you’re using lights that plug in: We started on the end that didn’t have the outlet nearby, making our way toward it. I had a couple of strands in order to make it long enough, but it was a little too long, so we wrapped the lights around the top of the posts a couple of times to make them fit. We also used cup hooks to keep the lights on. If you’re using solar lights, you don’t have to worry about the outlets
- Hang your flowers!
And you’re set! You’ve got a beautiful addition to your patio or outdoor space, and the poles you need to hang string lights. What a difference this makes, for just a few hours of time. Transform your backyard space in a weekend!
Project Time and Cost:
Total cost for 4 posts: right around $100 (this depends on lumber costs, which can vary in price)
Average project time: 2-3 hours + drying time for the cement
Happy Summer! XOXO