Tips for Hanging Holiday Outdoor Lights

The holidays are just around the corner. Cookies, eggnog, and outdoor decorative lights are all part of year-end festivities. This coming holiday, dazzle your neighborhood with an incredible display of lights and colors. Here are a few tips for hanging holiday outdoor lights.


Before you head to the store to purchase outdoor lights, do a visual inspection of your yard and make a plan. Where do you intend to hang outdoor lights? Estimate how many light strings and bulbs you will need. Look for strands with bulbs that are spaced 6 to 8 inches apart – longer distances create shadows and a warmer glow across a wider area. For trees and bushes, a good estimate would be 100 lights for every 1.5 feet of greenery.

Do you want your house to be the star attraction of your street? Go all out with two sets of string lights with bulbs that are spaced closer together. Lights that are packed tightly shine brighter than those that are placed apart.

We recommend using LED lights because they are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. They are also less prone to overheating.


Not all white lights are equal. There are three kinds of white LEDs.

  • Pure white
  • Warm white (mimics the classic glow of an incandescent bulb)
  • Polar white (emits an icy-blue glow)

Warm white strands are ideal for gutters and eaves while polar white lights complement your landscape. Pure white bulbs are too bright and formal for décor so try to avoid them.

While an all-white theme is still the most popular, colors are now trendy, particularly the reds, blues and greens.

Multicolored strands look beautiful along the gutter, with clustered string icicle lights hanging from the eaves. Colored C9 bulbs are best for outlining the roof edge while smaller C7s highlight the perimeter of windows. Wrap mini lights around your mailbox or garden accents. Lay a blanket of net lights over shrubs and bushes.


Pick a focal point – perhaps a column or entryway at the center – and work your way out to the sides. Without a focal point, your outdoor lights will look like they are all over the place.

Measure all straight lines to estimate how many light strings you’ll need and how far the strand will run from an electrical power source. Check the construction of your gutters and shingles to determine the best lights to hang along the roofline.

Outdoor holiday lights are perfect for decorating the following areas:

  • Gutters, fascia and eaves
  • Columns, chimneys, gables, arches and deck railings
  • Driveways and pathways
  • Door frames, window perimeter and other architectural features
  • Trees, planters, flower beds, hedges, bushes, sculptures, fountains and other landscape accents

Tips for Hanging Holiday Outdoor Lights

Once you have decided on the number of lights, color type, and decor layout, it is time to hang those outdoor holiday lights.

  • Check all wires.

Whether you are using outdoor lights from last year or straight from the store, you should inspect all wiring. Check for frayed or damaged cables, exposed copper, and broken sockets. If the wires are brittle, throw them away. Only use extension cords that are designed for outdoor use and carry the UL safety logo.

Faulty wiring will not only ruin your lighting design but could burn down your house.

  • Be safe.

Do not connect more than five or six light strands together to avoid overloading the circuit. Do not stretch the strands to reach an electrical outlet. Lawn lights should be placed away from ground water.

Most outlets are able to support 15 amps. Try to maintain a load that is half of that even if you are using LED lights.

Moisture seeping into the connectors can blow a fuse. Seal your connections with electrical tape to keep them dry.

When installing lights on the roof, make sure your ladder is on a flat and solid surface. If the roof is too high or too steep, hire a professional instead.

  • Set a timer and test your work.

There is no need to wake up in the middle of the night to turn off your holiday lights. You can now connect your entire lighting system to a timer so it turns on and off automatically. Some timers are built with sensors to detect light – they automatically turn on when it goes dark outside.

Finally, test your work and see if everything lights up according to plan.

If you have any questions about how to beautify the outside of your home, call us today. The professionals at Aastro Roofing are happy to answer your questions.