Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Having patio lights will help you enjoy your outdoor space. It will also make your home look better and improve your house’s curb appeal. However, since fasteners can damage your house, you may be inclined to hang them up without using nails.
One of the ways to hang outdoor patio lights without nails is by using adhesive-backed hooks or gutter hooks. Alternatively, you can tape or staple them to your wall. You can also hang them on trees, bushes, posts, potted plants, and your fence. Another great way to brighten up your outdoor area is by using lanterns.
In this article, I will discuss the benefits of installing patio lights and review the different ways to install them without the use of nails.
Why Install Patio Lights Without Nails
However, before we get into it, I’ll explain the benefits of installing outdoor lights and why installing them is better without using nails.
Nails Can Damage Your House
Whether you can use nails to install your patio lights depends on what kind of siding your house has. For example, if you have stucco siding, you can’t use nails to hang your patio lights. You may also want to be able to move your patio lights from one place to another easily, and using nails to install them won’t let you do that.
Improves Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Another reason to install patio lights outside your home is to improve curb appeal. Having a well-lit patio will allow you to charge more for your home if you are listing it online, as you can take beautiful pictures of your home and your patio at night.
If anyone drives by your home and you have a for-sale sign on your front lawn, having a well-lit patio will make your home more attractive. More people will notice the great ambient lighting. They will be more interested in buying and willing to pay more.
Improves Your Quality of Life
Hanging patio lights in your patio will improve your quality of life. You can spend time with your family on the patio at night, provided the weather is warm. You can also hang out, read, work, or watch Netflix outside at night. It will simply enable you to enjoy your patio much more.
Below, I will explain how to hang lights on your patio without using nails. We are talking about outdoor string lights, usually discussed when referring to patio lights.
Glue on Hooks
One of the easiest ways to install patio string lights without using any nails is to glue on hooks. You do not have to use any glue to do this. Instead, your best option is to buy adhesive hooks.
When you want to hang up your patio lights, simply peel off the paper covering the adhesive and attach the hook to the wall.
The benefit of using this kind of hook is that they are pretty strong, and you can remove them at any time without dealing with holes in your wall, which you would have if you had used screws. However, there are some downsides, as well.
For example, you can’t move the hooks from one place to another whenever you want. The adhesive part will usually lose its strength if you peel it off the wall, and it may not stick on another part of the wall.
Also, depending on which product you get, you may observe some residual adhesive sticking to your wall after you remove your lights (if you try to remove them). This residual adhesive may ruin the look of your home.
If you have an indoor patio and have wallpaper on the wall, be aware that you should only use adhesive hooks if you plan to leave them on permanently (or at least until you decide to get new wallpaper). You can not remove adhesive hooks from the wallpaper without ruining the wallpaper.
For other adhesive hooks, you can easily remove any extra adhesive from the wall. Use a hairdryer to soften any remaining adhesive that does not come off when you peel off the hooks. Then, use a piece of dental floss to scrape off the rest of the adhesive.
If you can’t find adhesive hooks or are afraid that the adhesive will be too strong, you can always use tape instead. For best results, try to use clear tape, as that will be less noticeable. A clear tape will also leave less residue adhesive when peeled off.
On the other hand, if you use duct tape, which is usually stronger, it may look unsightly on your wall. You may also find that grey material or residue remains when you peel it off.
Consider using a hairdryer to apply heat to the tape if you need to get some duct tape residue off. You can also scrape it off with a knife while being gentle to make sure that you are not damaging the wall. Alternatively, create a solution made of soap and water and use it gently on the tape residue.
An alternative to using tape is to use staples. The benefit of staples is that they are generally more secure than tape. The tape can get loose, especially when it rains, causing your patio lights to fall. On the other hand, staples can also ruin your house.
Of course, staples are only good for specific kinds of siding, particularly wood. If you have stucco siding, you can’t use staples.
Hang Them on Gutter Hooks
An alternative to using adhesive hooks is using gutter hooks. Gutter hooks look like an S and, as the name might suggest, hang on your gutter. You can thread your patio lights on the other end of the hook.
This method’s benefit is that you can move the hooks from place to place whenever you want, as they are not attached to anything. The downside of this method is that if you want to hang your lights across your entire patio, you can only use gutter hooks for one side. On the other side, you will have to use one of the other methods in this article, such as hanging your hooks from trees or on your fence.
Otherwise, you will only be able to install your patio lights on one side of your patio, which may not be enough to illuminate your entire patio for your needs fully.
Hang Them on Trees
If you have any trees near your patio, use them to hang your patio lights. Some people wrap their string lights around tree branches, but there are better ways to use trees for hanging patio lights. Drill a small hole into the tree. Then, install a hook in the hole. Once you have all your hooks set up, thread your string lights around the hooks.
This method is perfect if you have trees, and it also helps you avoid damaging your walls. Adhesive hooks will damage some wall materials. On the other hand, if you don’t have trees, you will not be able to use this method.
You can use trees in conjunction with another method. For example, you can install some hooks on trees and use your railing if you do not have enough trees.
When drilling holes in your trees, make sure to calculate the distance between each hole and ensure there is enough space for your patio lights. If you make the holes farther apart, the string will be more taught. On the other hand, if you drill the holes closer together, the string will be looser.
Hang Them on Your Railing
You can also hang the lights on your railing, which is a good option if you do not have any trees outside your patio. You can always drill holes into your railing and hang hooks on it, but that will ruin your railing. You can also use adhesive hooks and attach them to your railing.
Railings are often cheaper to replace or fix than your entire house’s siding, making it a great place to put adhesive hooks. However, instead of adhesive hooks, you can also staple the patio lights to your railing or even tape them on.
Another benefit of using your railing is that you can staple or tape your lights to the underside of your railing. This way, people won’t notice the staples or tape, and if you decide to move your lights, the tape residue won’t be as visible.
Hang Them on Bushes
If you don’t have any trees but are willing to buy bushes to put around your porch, consider hanging your lights on the bushes. Simply thread the string around the branches. The bushes can be on or off your porch, but if they are off your porch, make sure they are high enough so that the light shines on your porch.
Hang Them on a Metal Pole
You can always install new posts or poles for hanging your light. You don’t have to install them in the ground; the easiest solution is to buy buckets and fill them with concrete. Put the posts in the middle of the bucket before you fill them up with concrete so they are stable. You can then install hooks on the light poles.
If you decide to use this method, you can use nails because you won’t be damaging anything. You can move the posts around or install new posts at any time. That is the benefit of this method—the flexibility that it gives you. On the other hand, if you don’t want to use nails for whatever reason, you can always buy adhesive hooks and use them on your posts.
You can also staple the string lights to the posts or use duct tape. These are a great option if you do not want to use hooks.
Use Potted Plants
An alternative to using posts in buckets or barrels filled with concrete is to install the posts in potted plants. Using potted plants will make your patio a lot prettier.
However, you have to make sure that the potted plants are heavy enough not to tip over. All you need is one pot to tip over to create a ripple effect that causes all the other potted plants with string lights attached to them to tip over as well.
Hang Them on Your Roof
If your patio has a roof, your best bet is to attach your string lights to the roof. You may want to install horizontal wooden posts on your roof’s underside if you only have a metal roof. If you have a metal roof and do not want to install any wood, you can consider using tape to attach your string lights. If you have a wooden roof, you can use staples as well.
Hang Them on Your Fence
If you have an outdoor patio on the ground, consider installing a wooden fence for privacy. You can then drape and hang your patio lights on this fence. Alternatively, you can tape or staple the strings to your fence or install adhesive hooks and thread the string on them.
Doing this will serve a dual purpose – you will get some privacy from the neighbors, and you will get light. The lights will also help block the neighbors’ view.
Hang Them on Your Pool Fence
If you have an outdoor pool, why not hang the patio lights above your pool? You can attach them to the pool fence on both sides of your pool. Swimming on summer nights will become much more exciting and enjoyable, and if you are renting out your pool, the lights will make it more attractive.
Here is a great YouTube video on the best way to hang your patio lights:
Things to Do When Hanging Patio Lights
This section will cover what you need to do when hanging your patio lights without nails.
Choose the Best Spot to Hang Your Lights
Where you hang your lights depends on several factors. For example, do you have a power source nearby to plug in your lights? If not, you will need an outdoor extension cord. If you are hanging your lights on trees, you will usually need an extension cord of some length to get power to your lights.
Use a tape measure to figure out how long your string needs to be.
Buy the Things You Need
In addition to the actual lights, you will need basic tools, such as a tape measure (for measuring your string lights). If you decide to tape your patio lights, you will need to buy tape. If you want to staple them, you will need to buy a staple gun and staples that will work with wood. Using a stapler designed for paper won’t usually cut it for wooden surfaces.
You can buy adhesive hooks or S-shaped gutter hooks if you decide to use one of the methods that involve them.
You might also want to buy an extension cord if you hang your lights away from an electrical outlet.
If you are hanging your lights on your roof gutter, on trees, or high up on the wall, make sure you have a safe ladder for outdoor use. You do not need a ladder if you hang it on the deck railing or lower on the wall.
Other Ways to Brighten Up Your Patio
There are many ways to brighten up your patio’s space in addition to having the lights. For example, you can put lanterns on the table or around the patio, adding light and creating a cozy feel. If you want to brighten up your patio, add a fire pit in the center and create a fire.
Having the whole family sit around a fire and barbecue marshmallows with pretty patio lights overhead will create memories you will never forget. During Christmas time, install a Christmas tree if you celebrate Christmas (or if you celebrate Hanukkah, buy a large electric Hanukkah menorah to decorate your patio).
There are many simple ways to hang patio lights without using nails. Whether you decide to use adhesive hooks, install hooks on your trees, buy potted plants and install posts in them, or tape the lights to your fence, you will make your patio more beautiful and spruce up your outdoor living spaces in a creative way.
- Country Living: 32 Backyard Lighting Ideas – How to Hang Outdoor String Lights
- Houzz: How to Hang String Lights Outdoors
- Christmas Lights Etc: How to Plan and Hang Patio Lights
- Home Depot: How to Hang Outdoor String Lights
- Captain Patio: Easily Hang Outdoor Patio Lights Without Nails
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