How To Hang Christmas Lights Outside

We all want our homes to look and feel festive when Christmas comes around. So, what better way to do it than with some beautiful lights? Whether you’re hanging Christmas lights from your gutters or putting them on trees, knowing how to get them up safely and properly is the most important thing. Which is why we’ve created this handy guide to walk you through everything you need to know.

What you’ll need: 


  • Always use a steady ladder to hang lights somewhere that’s taller than you are.
  • Always get another adult to help hold the ladder
  • Be careful not to burn yourself when using a hot glue gun

Prepare your outdoors

prepare outdoor christmas lights

Getting your home perfectly prepared for Christmas lights comes down to three top tips…

Pick the right lights

It might sound obvious, but the most important place to start is choosing Christmas lights suitable for outdoor use, as indoor lights are likely to get damaged or broken. Once you know they’re outdoor-safe, you’re free to pick whatever style, type or colour you like.

Measure your space

Before you start hanging your lights, it’s important you grab a tape measure and map out your lighting area to make sure you have enough. If your lights are mains powered, you’re going to want to measure the distance between your outdoor plug and where the lights are supposed to go. If your cable’s too short, an extension lead can make all the difference.

Test before you start

It’s always the same, you take your Christmas lights down from the attic and some of the bulbs have blown since last year. Well, that can happen to outdoor lights too. It’s much harder to fix bulbs once you’ve hung them up, so be sure to plug them in first and check. And if you’ve had them a few years and more and more bulbs are going each time – it might be time to invest in some new ones instead.

How to put Christmas lights on outdoor trees

outdoor lights on christmas trees

Decorating your outdoor shrubs and trees with rope or string lights is one of the easiest and quickest ways to add some Christmas cheer to your home. All it takes is five simple steps.

  1. Make sure your lights are suitable for outdoor use, then unroll them completely until you have the single, non-plug end. This will be your tree’s top light.
  2. Put this light as far up the tree as you can, then work your way back down – spacing them out as evenly as you can. It’s usually easier to walk round the tree as you go, or zig-zag down the front if the back of the tree won’t be seen.
  3. Reached the bottom of the tree? If you’re out of lights, twist the cable round a bottom branch once for safety, then run it to your nearest plug socket and plug it in.
  4. Take a step back and assess your work. If your lights are spaced out properly, with no wires sticking out, you’re good to go.
  5. The big moment! Flip the switch and enjoy the lights.

How to hang your Christmas lights outdoors

Of course, it’s not only trees and bushes that we put lights on when it comes to outdoor decorations. It’s easy to install Christmas lights all around the outside of your house too, and we’re here to show you how.


Lining your roof with some dazzling decorations is a breeze, especially with a helping hand from a few gutter clips. You’ll need enough to support your lights all the way along, but it can vary depending on how heavy they are.

Don’t worry, there’s a simple rule of thumb to work out how many clips you’ll need:

Lightweight bulbs: Cable length divided by 50cm (a clip every 50cm)

Heavy bulbs: Cable length divided by 30cm (a clip every 30cm)

With gutters often so high up, safety is more important than ever. You’ll need a sturdy ladder, and someone else to hold it for extra support.

Once your hooks are up, plug your lights in at one end and work your way along the gutter, clipping them so they’re taut but not pulling on the plug. When you’re happy with them, turn the plug on and take a good look.


Brick walls

To install hooks for your Christmas lights that you can use year after year, you’ll need to screw hooks into your walls using a masonry drill bit and wall plugs.

Top tip: Drilling holes directly into the bricks will cause them to crack, so you want to make sure you’re drilling your holes in the mortar instead.

Once you’ve marked your guide points, drill your hole and gently tap in a wall plug with your rubber mallet. Then screw in your hook and repeat all the way along your wall, about 50cm apart. Then it’s simply a case of plugging your lights in, threading them along the hooks and turning them on.


Brick walls – with no holes

Of course, you don’t have to drill holes in your house to hang lights up – glue can work just as well.

Using the hot glue gun, place a small blob of glue where you want it on your wall and hold a section of string lights in place against it for at least 10 seconds – before repeating all the way along. Once January comes, it’s easy to peel the glue off your wall and light – ready to repeat in a year’s time.


And that’s our guide on how to hang your outdoor Christmas lights! If you want to make sure your home looks the best on the street this Christmas, why not browse of our big range of outdoor Christmas lights. We have everything that will bring the Christmas cheer to your home this winter.




Writer and expert