Carport + Patio

INSTALLING OUTDOOR HAPPY LIGHTS

How to Install String Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

I’ve always had a thing for patio lights. I love them. The soft, warm light they cast off makes everything look better and they’re just… happy.

Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

I mean, come on. Who doesn’t love a few strands of patio lights? Let’s just call them “happy lights”. Okay, that’s really annoying. I promise this will be the only post in which I call them that.

Last Fall, we bought 4 boxes of these globe string lights for the carport. We ended up hanging them around the perimeter of the ceiling. We never blogged about it because the ceiling was just plain ugly, and we wanted to do something about the dangling cord in the corner before we called it “done”. Despite the ugly ceiling and dangling cord, we loved the look of them at night and definitely wanted to incorporate them in our new carport-turned-covered patio project. So now that the ceiling has been planked and the main light fixture has been installed, it’s finally time to put these babies back where they belong – but this time they’ll be hanging with style.

How to Install String Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

During the ceiling makeover process, Greg installed a receptacle for the string lights in the ceiling so we wouldn’t have any wires hanging down. We wanted the receptacle to be out of sight as much as possible, so we tucked it into the corner close to the fireplace.

How to Install String Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

To make it even less noticeable, we installed a dark brown plate and receptacle.

How to Hang Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

We searched high and low for black or oil rubbed bronze hooks. After searching three stores, all we found were white and gold. We grabbed two packages of white hooks (about 48 hooks total) and a can of black Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface spray paint. I started laying out the hooks on a used mailing box to get them ready for their spray paint makeover and then I got smart… poke them in the box to make them easier to spray paint. Duh.

How to Install String Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

Greg made a pilot hole into the planks using the drill then screwed in each hook. To prevent the string lights from sagging and looking “droopy”, he put a hook in the ceiling about every foot so they’d be nice and tight. In the interest of making the lights nice and tight, he also took up the tiny bit of slack that was left and used a wire tie to bundle it up.

How to Install String Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

Once all of the hooks were up, time for the lights! This part is pretty self explanatory – Greg just hung the wires from the hooks one by one until he made his way all around the carport and back to the receptacle. A few hours later, once the sun had set…

How to Install String Patio Lights / 7th House on the Left

Really, it looks so much better in person, but I’m hoping to get some better photos of them at night as we make more progress with the whole project. Also, excuse the look of the floor and the painting supplies on the steps. The floor has primer on it, and we’re waiting for it to dry before we can go ahead with the paint. More on that later this week.

Once we dress up our up-cycled roadside table find over on the adjoining uncovered patio with some chairs (and maybe an umbrella), we’re going to add more patio lights, stringing them from the house to the carport to give the area more of a look like the first picture in this post. It will make grilling and entertaining outside that much more fun. Yay for progress!

First patio light image from here.

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    July 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

    GORGEOUS. These look so beautiful. Your covered patio is really coming along!
    Sarah

  • Reply
    susan
    July 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

    This is turning into a beautiful space. You will definitely need to do a before and after shot when you’re all finished so we can see just how amazing the transformation is.

  • Reply
    Abby
    July 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

    LOVE it!! Excited to see the floor!

  • Reply
    Meghan B
    July 29, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I love patio string lights too. In the right places. I never would of thought to put them in a carport like that but it looks great. They’ll especially look good when you add more over the patio.

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    July 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Wow, you two are just getting everything done, aren’t you? Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  • Reply
    Meredith
    July 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    It looks gorgeous! Great job. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    July 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    How sweet! I think of them as happy lights, too. I just hung a string on our patio only to realize you can’t even see them from inside—doh! I need to re-hang em!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Oh my gosh, it does make a huge difference! Congrats on the look! I love these little “happy lights” ha. I used these for my wedding last year and it created the perfect look – which is also perfect for summer nights on the porch.

  • Reply
    caroline [the diy nurse]
    July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    ah it looks so good! be careful– you may find random strangers partying on your patio- I know I would!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Hahaha!

  • Reply
    Kim S.
    July 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, it looks so cool. I thought you needed a different outlet for outdoors. Our outdoor outlets all have those breakers in the middle and a cover. Maybe different parts of the country have different codes?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you! We were told by an electrician that this one was fine – especially since its in a covered area away from the rain/snow/etc. All of our other outdoor outlets are like the one you described.

  • Reply
    jen
    July 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Coming along, glad you’re happy with it! I will say, I think an umbrella with the table *under a covered patio* will look sort of weirdo.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Oh no, it won’t be under the covered patio area, haha. We have an adjoining UNcovered patio where the table and umbrella are going to go. This area is going to be a comfy sitting/”outdoor living” area. The uncovered patio is to the left of the carport if you’re facing the same direction as the last photo. I just edited the post so it makes more sense : )

  • Reply
    Kristin @ Everyday Organizing
    July 29, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I am so in love with your lights! I have been really inspired by your carport makeover. My hubby and I are now planning to do a planked wood ceiling over our exterior entryway. Love it!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks! Would love to see photos!

  • Reply
    Sandra Blaine
    July 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Patio lights can really make the house looks so alive and cheerful. I also installed these lights. My children love it! Anyway, I love your tutorial. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    Megan
    July 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Love the lights. I’ve been trying to figure out a wy to incorporate lights in my back yard but I don’t have a ceiling. BTW, I found ORBed hooks at Target last week.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      No way!! With as many times as we go there, you would think we would have found them, haha. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    July 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    My mom and dad did this on their carport with rope lights on the ledge that goes around their carport. You can’t see the lights, but it makes SO much difference… At night, it goes from catchall carport status to starry, illuminated wonderful patio!! 🙂 Looks great!!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Sounds pretty!

  • Reply
    Julie
    July 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    “Happy Lights!” I love it! They are happy! Enjoy your space!

  • Reply
    Shawna @DakotaCreekChic
    August 1, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I love following this project, love your transformation so far!! That ceiling is FAB!!
    Shawna

  • Reply
    Meredith
    August 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    We almost bought those lights at Target today! Any comments/complaints?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      No complaints at all! We’ve seen comments on other blogs about how delicate and breakable they are, but we haven’t had any break on our sets. We love them!

  • Reply
    Lori
    August 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Hey Ashley, can you either send me a pic or post a pic of how Greg wrapped up the slack with a wire bundle? I cannot picture it, and need to know how to hide the extra wire for our screened-in porch lights.
    Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Greg
      August 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Actually, when we first installed them, I cut off the excess lights (with the help and advice of my electrician father-in-law). For these particular lights, I was able to simply cut off the excess and tape the end of the cable with electrical tape to prevent a short. The “wire bundle” mentioned here is a small area where I doubled an inch or two of wire back on itself, then tied it up with zip ties to take out the slack. If that doesn’t make sense, let me know, and I’ll post a picture when I get a free moment.

  • Reply
    Scott B
    September 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Spray painting the hooks was a great idea. They really do blend in and you can hardly see them. I think most back porches could probably use these lights.

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