3 Easy Steps To Spectacular Outdoor Holiday Lights
One of the most magical parts of the holiday season is seeing homes light up with spectacular displays. Holiday lights spread the cheer and can be fun to put up – if you're prepared. Before you run to the store and start buying up all the lights you can get your hands on, keep reading and take some time to take into consideration what you need.
Step 1: Planning
Planning out how you want to set up your display will help you stay safe and save money. While planning, there are a few things to take into consideration:
- Power: It’s easy to overload a circuit, which will cause the circuit to break. Check your breaker before you plug anything in and check the maximum amount of watts in can handle. Multiply your amps by 120, and you should have your answer. LED lights are a great way to conserve energy and prevent the lights from getting too hot.
- Heat: Lights can quickly get too hot for some surfaces to handle. If you plan on stringing lights around bushes of plants, make sure that you use lights that use LEDs or are a bit smaller than other lights, or else you could have a fire on your hands. Same thing for indoor lighting – make sure that you do not place lights near any type of flammable substances.
- Placement: Know where you will place your lights ahead of time, which will save you future headaches because you will know how long your lights need to be and what extension cords you will need. Also, if you plan to hang lights up high, make sure you have a proper ladder and someone to spot you.
- Keep It Simple: Sometimes, less is more. Stringing holiday lights can be stressful and physical taxing, so try to keep it simple. Pick one focal point in your yard, such as a big tree or your garage door and make that the core of your display. No matter what you decide to do, draw it out and have your plans. Write down the exact measurements of what you will need; this will make your shopping trip much simpler.
Step 2: Shopping
Now that you know exactly what you want and where you want it, you get to actually buy all of the lights you want to display. When you are out shopping, pay close attention to detail before you throw things in your cart. Make note of the watts, length and type.
- Indoor Vs. Outdoor: Purchasing the correct lights for the right places is very important. Outdoor holiday lights are built to last through tough weather and tend to burn brighter and hotter than indoor holiday lights that are much lower wattage and are safe to use indoors. Some types are safe both indoors and outdoors, which makes a great economical buy because you can change up your display next year and use them indoors instead.
- Save Energy: If you are energy conscious, you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled for the LED holiday lights. These run on much less energy, but they still shine bright and look great. LED lights are growing in popularity, so you should be able to find them just about anywhere that sells lights.
- Timer: One of the most vital things you can buy to go with your display is an automatic timer. This Intermatic Indoor Timer and this Sylvania Outdoor Timer will ensure that your displays go on and off when you want them to. This way, no more wasted power or lights forgotten to be turned off.
Step 3: Installing
Now comes the best part – actually installing all the lights. If you’ve taken the time to plan and shop carefully, these should be a breeze. All you need is a good set of tools to make sure that you will be able to complete the job.
- Stay Safe: As mentioned before, safety first! Always make sure any ladders are properly secured and string lights unplugged so that you do not burn or shock yourself. Avoid working alone if you can.
- Check Your Lights: While you should work with the lights unplugged, do take them out and plug them in to test them. It would be a tragedy to hang up your entire display only to find out that you have a dud.
- Buy Light Clips: Whether you are hanging lights indoors or outdoors, you will need something to hand them on. Light clips like these Mini Adhesive Clips or these All Purpose Clips will make sure that you can actually install your lights wherever you want them to go.
- Gather Basic Tools: Depending on your setup, you might not need many tools at all. But, there are a few things you should have at the ready. A hammer, some nails, pliers and a screwdriver are all good things to have around just in case.
- Don’t Forget Extension Cords: Of course, also have a handful of extension cords around in case the lights you bought are just a bit too small. Make sure again to specify indoors or outdoors when purchasing extension cords.
Once your display is finally complete, step back and admire your work! When the holidays are over, make sure you have some well labeled storage bins to put all the lights away in to make next year’s set up just as easy. Now you can get started on your very own display and help light up your neighborhood with holiday cheer!