Christmas is just around the corner and those who are looking to get the most out of their holiday season may already be considering putting up their Christmas lights. It’s a dangerous job, but you can get it done like a pro by following a few simple tips.
You could just start stringing up your lights and see how it turns out, but you’ll get better results if you attack this project with a plan in mind. Some design aspects to consider before you climb up on the roof include:
- Where you will hang the lights from: You will need to employ different securing hardware and methods for shingles, gutters, deck railings, trees, bushes, etc.
- The number of lights needed: The number of lights you need for your project depends on how much ground you want to cover and how dense you want the lighting to be. A good rule of thumb is to have 100 lights for every 1 ½ feet. Take measurements, and add more if you’re looking for a brighter display.
- Highlighting a focal point: If you’re looking to illuminate a wreath, Santa display, large pine tree, or any other star attraction as part of your display, you’ll need to plan for extra lighting, varying colors, blinking lights, or other design features for this area.
- Adding variety: The roof line is a classic spot for hanging Christmas lights, but you may be looking to add a little variety to your display. Consider lining doors and windows, bordering driveways and walkways, surrounding posts, pillars and railings, and atop bushes, hedges, and trees.
Hanging Without a Hitch
There is nothing worse than hanging all of your Christmas lights, flipping the switch, and finding that something is not working right. In years past, one faulty bulb could disable a whole display, but this problem is avoided with newer style lights, where each bulb runs on an individual circuit. If you’re still running on general circuit strands, an update would be well worth the money. LED strands are more energy efficient, brighter, and last much longer.
Changing even individual bulbs once your lights are hung is still a real pain, so plug in all your strands and inspect them for any problems before you get started. Another update that is a great investment is to have exterior outlets installed in the spots where you want to plug in your lights. This avoids the extension cord mess that you’d have to use otherwise, and makes for a safer, simpler job.
The Difference Between Amateur and Pro
Besides updating your lighting strands to LED, there are a few other tips that will make your final product a professional looking masterpiece:
- Attach the lighting strands with clips that are suitable for the supporting material. Use more attachment points to keep the lights secure through wind and snow, and to keep them straight.
- Set a timer so the lights come on at dark and turn off at bedtime. Your neighbors will appreciate not having them running all night if you forget to turn them off.
- Use a light hanging pole, especially when hanging lights in trees. This is safer than using a ladder, and gives you more precision and ability to hang the lights further into the trees.