You will need
- Outdoor lights
- Gutter clips
- Extension lead
- Tape measure
- Wall plugs
- Screw hooks
- Rubber mallet
- Masonry drill/drill bit
- Glue gun
Prepare your outdoors
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. All the Christmas lights at Homebase are suitable for both interior and exterior settings.
However, before buying any Christmas lights, it’s best to consider where you want to use them and check if they are designed for indoor or outdoor use. Whilst many of our lights are suitable for both interior and exterior settings, check the packaging to avoid using them incorrectly and running the risk of blowing a fuse!
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Before hanging any Christmas lights outside, it’s best to consider where you want to use them and check if they are designed for indoor or outdoor use. Whilst all of our lights are suitable for both interior and exterior settings, check the packaging to avoid using them incorrectly and running the risk of blowing a fuse!
- Always use a steady ladder to hang lights somewhere that’s taller than you are
- Always get another adult to help hold the ladder
- Hang lights out of reach from pets and small children to keep them safe
- Be careful not to burn yourself if you are using a hot glue gun
We hope this guide has provided all the information you need to hang your Christmas lights outside. 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.