The days start off so bright and sunny and as the sun hides behind the landscape it is time to light up the backyard. We are all about outdoor entertainment, dining al fresco and spending time outside.
To enjoy our backyard and all the amenities of the outside from pit fires to cornhole we decided we needed to light our yard and patio area.
Before the lighting I am about to share with you, we still would light up our yard. However, it always felt like something was missing. Real true, crisp light. We used Christmas lights and place them all over the shrubs, trees, and bushes.
The idea, in theory, was great to create an ambiance, however, the lighting was not bright enough to do more than simply create a party feel. There are serious drawbacks to using traditional string lights and learning from past experience, I dug deeper to find a better solution.
Our DIY patio area lighting project is simple to replicate, and the ambiance it creates is comfortable, lit and perfect to host outdoor parties year-round. Lavishly live life out loud a little more lit!
The Patio Area
As I looked around our backyard, I realized that we did not need to light the yard, rather we needed to light the patio. The patio area is where the most traffic sits, stands, drinks, parties, etc and the yard is an afterthought.
We looked at our yard and considered our placement options for the new lighting. First, I just bought enough to do the patio, but trust me, we have moved on and added more since then.
Since our patio area is the halfway point between both the house and the yard, so placing lighting there is the perfect situation.
The Lighting Ambiance: Outdoor Cafe Lights
No DIY patio area lighting project would be complete without the lighting package, right? After having full out tangle disasters, strands that did not light, and electrical issues with Christmas lights, I decided to go pro.
Going pro means buying a commercial grade of patio lights. So I headed to both Amazon as well as Costco, which are the 2 places that I have seen these offered at the best pricing. Remember too, there are different lengths and styles.
What do I mean that I went pro? I located a product that I have seen in restaurants, on streets, Cafe Lights. Cafe Lights are the game-changer of outdoor lighting.
While we were strolling through Italy, while we were in Inner Harbor, while we are in Disney, on cruises, etc, Cafe Lights always have my attention. The light they typically provide is outstanding and they are built for outdoors, so they are meant to last.
My Cafe Lights
Before I did any of this, I took into account the size of the area that I needed to light up. Next, I researched all my options and I discovered, Pro GradeCafe Lights.
The lights amp up my outdoor space perfectly and provide lighting both on my patio and in my yard. My Pro-grade agenda was solved. Why? Because the professional-grade lights I purchased are the ones that you see as you are walking on little city side streets, cafes, restaurants, streets, areas, and on ships.
Consider the benefits of professional-grade outdoor patio lighting, before you begin your DIY. From shatterproof glass to bulbs that don’t require continual replacement use after use, these are the choice you want to make.
Look for outdoor patio lighting marked Commercial grade. These will be constructed with durable waterproof materials. The lights won’t offer typical wear and tear, they will just wear well, year-round.
Placing patio area lighting in our case in on the patio, provided nice lighting around the patio itself but the lighting also extended well into the yard.
Further, as anticipated the lighting is perfect for rounds of cornhole on the side of the yard or swinging on the set in the back. At one point we even Badminton set up and you could see the net with ease.
Pros For Cafe Lights
These Cafe Lights are impact resistant as they are acrylic bulbs so the won’t break if they drop (while you are setting them up, or if you don’t stabilize them right and the line falls).
The cafe lights offer a flexible mounting option which is a fancy way to say this: Mount it on brick (with the right hardware), into soffit and fascia, onto poles, lights, trees, anywhere you can configure it, it will go.
My DIY was a bit different. I love doing the unexpected. First a short trip to the local hardware store to purchase wood poles/stakes. I did not treat them with primer or paint, I just put them in the groud. Now, I want to say this, I should have applied a water sealant to them, we have replaced a few already.
Using a mallet I pounded the stake into the ground. The ground was not super dry, but I did use a steel pole ahead to at least get the hole started.
Then, I went ahead and mounted ‘s’ hooks in the trees (*alternatively you can use zip ties in the trees if you prefer.) through all the branches and utilized the soffit and fascia hooks as well. Fast. Easy. Fabulous.
What To Love About The Lights and the DIY Patio Area Lighting
I love, love, love that you can connect multiple strings, and we connected both a 36 foot and 24-foot combination to get our patio completely surrounded and Lit!
The color of the lights are warm, white light and they are energy-friendly, in fact, I could use them year-round for a grand whopping total of just about $88! My lights are commercial grade and have a lifetime LED Guarantee. No more crappy holiday lights, just straight-up quality.
The Diy Project
Let’s hook you up with my project so you can light your area up and love on it as much as I love mine! Here is what I needed to create my patio lighting.
I purchased 7, 8Ft Poles, untreated, and a package of Zip Ties(3″ in diameter, and 11 ” long), we also used our RYOBI Drill, two sets of Cafe Lights (36 Feet and 24 Feet), and a TouchSmart Timer.
We used 8 Feet poles because if you think of light, it should come from above you, not at eye level, so we drove the poles into the ground at about the depth of 1′.
We had already strategically placed where the poles would go before we started that process and we had lined the lights up as well just to make sure it was all going to work.
The Zip Ties
We used the zip ties to secure the lights to the poles and this was easy. Zip ties won’t rot in weather, so they are weatherproof as well as the lighting. The wood rots before those ties will die. Also, If you take the time to treat the wood (stain and seal) the wood poles will last longer.
I do want to tell you that year after year, we do have to reposition the poles as they seem to ‘give’ a bit and I want them to stand straight up. That’s not a big deal but just an update since we initially put them in.
The Soffit & Fascia
So my one snafu was planning on running the lights along the bottom of the door, rather than on top. Michael quickly changed my plan and grabbed our power drill and simply placed a screw into the soffit & fascia and 2 seconds later, it was perfection.
As I mentioned we used several different hanging methods and the lights are so versatile you can. We wove the Cafe String Lights through the trees. Additionally, some branches took well to the ‘s’ hook but others were impossible, so we just used the zip ties to ensure that they would not slide away once the leaves drop.
The Overall Look
I am all about the party atmosphere, the shabby chic and a well lit outdoor patio, and we achieved this in under an hour. The bright lights illuminate both our backyard, side yard, and patio and we never have to put the spotlights on to gain more light.
Looking at this by night reminds me of some of the nicest patios we have visited via resorts. It’s both peaceful and tranquil.
The easiness of the project, the thought that we NEVER have to replace a bulb and the low cost to illuminate has us lighting up every night.
Light Up Every Night
We don’t just light up when we have a party, in fact, we let every night be a party night because the TouchSmart Timer makes it easy to light up with doing nothing. Life is generally so complex throughout the week, that without this key element, I would not remember to light the patio!
We programmed this timer in under a minute and each night our lights turn on and off themselves. It is just a little more patio mystique that happens.
Your Turn To Get Lit
Get ready to lavishly live life out loud, outdoors, lit up year round and try out my DIY patio area lighting project at your home.
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