How Do You Hang Outdoor Canopy Lights? (Explained)

Outdoor canopy lighting is a great way to add ambiance to your outdoor space. Even if you don’t want to set up a full-blown party under the stars, you can use these lights to add elegance and beauty to your garden, patio or deck.

How to hang string lights for your patio
Outdoor canopy lights add a charming ambiance to your outdoor space.
Proper installation of outdoor canopy lights ensures safety and longevity.
Choose the right type of lights, such as string lights or LED strips, for your canopy.
Consider the power source and weather resistance of the lights for outdoor use.
Follow step-by-step instructions to hang outdoor canopy lights securely.
Explore creative ideas to create different lighting effects with your canopy lights.
Maintenance and occasional inspections are essential to keep your lights in good condition.
Enjoy the cozy and inviting atmosphere created by outdoor canopy lights.

1. Use a Step Ladder

When you’re hanging your lights, use a step ladder to ensure that they are high enough and stable enough to be safely placed in the ceiling. 

Make sure the ladder is sturdy, but not too heavy for you. You might need someone else in your group to hold it if you can’t handle its weight on your own (or if it’s just too tall).

If you don’t already have one, purchase or borrow a clamp that will allow you to hang your strings of lights securely in place while they’re being strung up. 

The clamp should be able to support any weight from one end of each strand until all strands are balanced on both ends before being attached below the roofline with hooks and anchors provided by manufacturer instructions.

When it comes to lighting up your patio without using string lights, there are various creative options to explore. Check out our guide on lighting a patio without string lights for innovative ideas and inspiration.

2. Look for Sturdy Trees

Next, locate the right trees. You want to find sturdy trees that have branches strong enough to hold your lights. 

Make sure the branches are not too thin or fragile and won’t snap under the added weight of a hanging light fixture. 

Also make sure there is plenty of sunlight for your canopy lights so they can absorb energy from the sun and stay lit throughout the night.

You also need to make sure there’s enough room for you to hang your lights where they’ll be visible from whatever area you’re trying to illuminate. If possible, look for open areas like parks where there aren’t many obstructions blocking off light sources in any direction (such as buildings).

Tree TypeSturdiness Rating (out of 5)

3. Hang From a Pergola or Gazebo

To hang lights from a pergola or gazebo, you’ll need to first decide where you want to place your lights. 

You can install them at different heights, so consider what effect this will have on your space. 

Then, drill holes in the structure’s wood and secure the hooks with screws. If the wood is thick, be sure to use longer screws than usual so they can penetrate through all layers of wood without any trouble. Once installed, hang up your lights and enjoy!

Looking to install a patio door on concrete? We’ve got you covered with our easy-to-follow guide on installing a patio door on concrete. Learn the step-by-step process and make your outdoor space more accessible.

4. Use String Light Clips and Hooks

If you’re hanging lights from the ceiling, it’s important to use clips that are designed for this purpose. 

These clips will attach directly to your light strings and then clamp onto the ceiling. They are usually made of plastic or metal with some sort of rubber grip on them. 

If you’re using a wall or fence as a support for your lights, use hooks that can be screwed into wood or plastic surfaces respectively. 

Most outdoor canopy light sets come with these accessories in order to make installation as simple as possible for you and your family members!

5. Hang Lights on a Deck Rail

If you have a deck railing, hanging lights on it is super easy.

First, measure the distance between two support beams and cut a piece of rope or cable to the same length. 

Then tie that piece of rope or cable around your hanger so that it will hang in an arch over your deck railing. If your hanger doesn’t come with one of those little clips at its base, attach one to keep it from swinging back too far (this will also help protect people’s heads!). 

To do this, wrap some twine around the top of your rail and then loop another piece through where you want the clip to be located — use wire cutters or pliers to twist off any excess. Next up: attaching that lovely new hook! 

First find where there’s room for a hole in between support beams (which helps prevent saggy rails). 

You can either drill through from above with an electric drill fitted with appropriate bits or screws; alternatively try hammering straight down into whatever material makes up your rail — whichever method works for you!

Lighting OptionBrandPower Source
String LightsBrightechPlug-in
LED Deck Rail LightsHampton BaySolar
Rope LightsWest IvoryPlug-in
SpotlightsParadiseLow Voltage

6. Wrap Lights Around Outdoor Furniture

Now that you’ve got your lights up, it’s time to turn them on. To do this, simply run the wire along your outdoor furniture or use clips to attach it to anything else around your patio or deck. 

It doesn’t really matter how you do it just make sure each strand hangs evenly and doesn’t overlap too much with other strands. The point is for the light to be festive and fun!

If you’re planning on hanging more than three of these strands around a single piece of furniture (like a table), use clips so that they don’t get tangled in one another as much as possible. 

If there are three or four strands hanging from something like an umbrella stand, clip each one onto its own piece of wood instead of trying to connect them all together at once that’ll help keep things tidy!

If there are multiple pieces of furniture where people will be sitting down near each other over time (chairs around a table), consider using some power strips with surge suppressors attached so that everyone has access where needed without having any problems with tripping hazards while moving chairs around throughout dinner time.”

Achieving a stunning patio floor with tiles is easier than you think. Our guide on laying patio floor tiles provides valuable insights and tips to help you transform your outdoor area into an elegant retreat.

7. Using Special Hangers, Hang Lights on Your House’s Exterior

Rope light hangers: These are the best way to hang rope lights. They can be used for both indoor and outdoor use, and they’re very easy to install.

Hook and eyelet hangers: This type of hook-and-loop system is ideal if you want to hang your lights close together but don’t want them touching each other or the wall (you may also want to consider a hook-and-eyelet system if you have an unusually large piece of canvas that won’t fit in a ladder).

Wire hangers: Wire has been used for hanging lights since electricity was first invented. It’s inexpensive and easy to work with, making wire one of the most common materials used when hanging outdoor canopy lights.

Ladder: A ladder is another simple way to hang outdoor canopy lights; however, because ladders aren’t always tall enough or sturdy enough for long distances between supports (like from the ground level up through a window), it’s recommended only as an emergency measure when all other options fail completely!

8. Suspend from Your Fence or Existing Poles

Another option is to hang your lights from your fence or existing poles. Hanging outdoors is always a little trickier than in the house, but you can do it!

Here are some tips:

Use a heavy-duty hook. You’ll want one that can hold the weight of your lights, so make sure it’s strong enough for that purpose. Try to find something with a wide surface area if possible, as this will help prevent slipping down the pole when you put tension on it.

Use a strong rope (or chain) for hanging purposes. The same principle applies here: make sure whatever you use can hold up the weight of your outdoor lighting fixtures! 

You don’t want them falling down because they aren’t secured properly…and potentially damaging yourself or other people who might be nearby at the time of such an incident occurring too…so don’t skimp out on quality here either; go for strength instead!

Check how much weight each fixture has before installation begins if any part feels flimsy then let’s not take any chances here; remove immediately and look elsewhere until we find something better suited for our needs (which should be easy enough since there’s no shortage available options).

Toads can sometimes invade your patio, but fear not! Our comprehensive guide on keeping toads off your patio offers effective methods and practical solutions to maintain a toad-free outdoor space.

9. Hang From a Sheer Canopy

The canopy is the part of the whole structure that holds everything up and keeps it from falling apart. 

A sheer canopy can be made of fabric or plastic, but it should be sturdy enough to support the lights you hang from it. 

Hang your lights from this piece in different heights for some added visual interest, or try hanging them in a pattern along only one side of the canopy (like an umbrella). 

If you want something more random, just let the cords dangle down randomly all over the place!

10. Use Light Rope to Create Festive Patterns in the Air

You can use a light rope to create a festive pattern in the air. It’s easy to set up and even easier to take down.

To get started, cut your light rope into lengths of about two feet long. Tie one end of each length around a tree branch or stake and then attach the other end of that length to another part of your canopy using more hooks.

11. Drape Lights Over a Hammock or Seated Area to Make an Intimate Space

You can create the most intimate, romantic space ever by hanging lights underneath a hammock or canopy that you hang in your yard. 

Hang the lights underneath so that they drape down over the sides, creating different zones of light and shadow. Drape bunches of lights on top as well you could even hang an umbrella over them for extra drama!

Lighting OptionBrandPower Source
Fairy LightsTwinkle StarBattery
Globe String LightsBrightownPlug-in
Outdoor LanternsColemanPropane/Gas
Solar-Powered LightsLITOMSolar
LED Rope LightsLEHOUBattery

12. Put lights in Jars for Ambient Lighting

Here’s another idea for using jars to add ambiance: fill them with sand or stones, then insert small lights into the sand. 

You can place these anywhere you want to add a little shimmer and shine. As a bonus, they’ll keep critters away from your plants!

Just remember that if you’re going to use jars for ambient lighting purposes whether for safety or just because you want the effect make sure they have lids on them so that no light escapes from inside.

Moss can be a nuisance on your patio umbrella, but worry not! Learn how to effectively remove moss and keep your umbrella looking fresh with our guide on getting rid of moss on your patio umbrella. Say goodbye to moss and enjoy a clean outdoor experience.

13. Consider Icicle Lights for Certain Areas and Uses

Icicle lights are a great choice for areas where you want to create a festive atmosphere. For example, if your yard has some trees with branches that are too far apart for hanging traditional lights, icicle lights could be the solution for you. 

You can also use them in place of other types of outdoor electrical lighting if you want to give your yard an overall luminous quality. Icicle lights are great for decorating trees, shrubs and bushes as well as hanging from your home’s exterior.

14. Try Using Traditional Lanterns Instead of Canopy Lights

Another alternative to canopy lights is the use of traditional lanterns. These can be hung from trees, or used as a centerpiece on your outdoor patio or in the garden. 

If you don’t have an outdoor area that’s conducive to hanging a canopy light, traditional lanterns are an option for you. 

The look and feel of these lanterns is similar to that of canopy lights; however, they don’t require any electricity or power source and therefore won’t cost you anything extra in electricity bills!


We hope that this article has given you some great ideas on how to hang your lights. We know how stressful it can be when you’re trying to figure out how to hang something, so we wanted to make sure that our tips were as comprehensive and easy-to-follow as possible. 

Hopefully, at least one of these methods will help you achieve your goal! Happy decorating.

Further Reading

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights – The New York Times Wirecutter: Discover expert tips and step-by-step instructions on how to hang outdoor string lights to create a magical ambiance in your outdoor space.

Transform Your Outdoor Space with Patio Lights – Do it Best: Learn about the different types of patio lights available and get inspired to transform your outdoor space into a cozy and inviting retreat.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights – Jessica Welling Interiors: Explore creative ideas and practical techniques for hanging outdoor string lights, adding a touch of charm and warmth to your outdoor gatherings.

Here’s the FAQs section in Markdown language:


How do I choose the right outdoor string lights?

Choosing the right outdoor string lights depends on factors like your desired ambiance, available power source, and weather resistance. Consider LED or incandescent lights, bulb style, and overall length for the perfect fit.

Can I leave outdoor string lights up year-round?

While some outdoor string lights are designed for year-round use, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Extreme weather conditions might require temporary removal or protection of the lights.

How do I hang outdoor string lights without trees?

If you don’t have trees to hang the lights from, alternative options include using poles, posts, or pergolas. Securely attaching the string lights to these structures can create a similar effect.

What is the best way to secure outdoor string lights?

To secure outdoor string lights, use clips, hooks, or cable ties appropriate for outdoor use. Ensure they are securely fastened to avoid sagging or damage during windy conditions.

How do I troubleshoot if my outdoor string lights aren’t working?

If your outdoor string lights aren’t working, check the power source, inspect the bulbs for any damage or loose connections, and verify that the extension cords and outlets are functioning properly.