How to Hang Outdoor String Lights

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Whether you wish to string lights from gutters to show your holiday spirit or illuminate the outdoors for an evening get-together, it’s a job with high potential for frustration. The good news is that you can reduce stress and achieve an eye-catching look with a solid plan for hanging lights on your home.

Preparation for Hanging Outdoor String Lights

Step 1: Take measurements. Measure the perimeter of your house, making allowances for the extra inches needed to hang lights from the gutters — five inches from the walls will suffice in most cases. This way, you know the total length of lights that you need to decorate all sides of your home.
Add the length from the ground to the gutter to your total measurements to ensure your lights will reach a power source, or plan to use an extension cord to bridge the gap.
Step 2: Identify and test outlets. Locate the most accessible outdoor electrical outlet for plugging in your lights. Make sure the outlet is operational by plugging in a small appliance or lamp.
Step 3: Purchase materials. Decide what size and color you want for your lights and go shopping. Be sure to purchase enough lights to cover the total length in your measurements.
It is better to have excess length than a shortage. Also, add up the total number of lights you will have and buy the same number of gutter clips — one for each light.
Step 4: Test your lights. The last thing you want is to string lights from the gutters, plug them in, and see nothing happen. Test your lights by plugging them into an active electrical outlet before hanging them to ensure they are operational.

Hanging Your Outdoor String Lights

Step 1: Attach gutter clips. Pop a clip onto each individual light, making sure the clips all face in the same direction. Work with two to three feet at a time.
Step 2: Position your ladder. Beginning at the portion of the gutter closest to the electrical outlet you plan to use, place your ladder. Make sure it is firmly grounded before you climb it, and use either an extension cord or the lights themselves to reach from the outlet to the gutter.
Step 3: Place the clips. Attach the first clip closest to the extension cord or at the first point where the lights reach the edge of the gutter. These pop on with a bit of firm pressure. Continue clipping the lights as you move away from your starting point. Stop when you do not feel comfortable reaching out to continue.
Step 4: Re-position and continue. Come down your ladder, move it further down the line, and repeat Steps 1 through 3 as needed.
  • Tip: You can run excess light length down the side of the house, if needed, and secure the end with electrical tape or a light cap.
You may want to clean your gutters before attaching lights to reduce the risk of fire.
Once you have completed the job of hanging string lights from gutters, all that is left is to turn them on and admire the bright fruits of your labor. When it comes time to remove the lights, simply work through the process in reverse and carefully store your materials until you need them again.

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