My Small Patio: Outdoor String Lights

Hello! I normally reserve Monday for my Small Home Style design series, celebrating living small with intention and showcasing how to maximize a small home. I thought I would switch things up on my blog just a bit. As a quick reminder I'm working on decorating my small backyard patio, to transform this never used space into the perfect morning and evening chill spot for my husband and I myself to enjoy. Since my patio design falls under the category of Small Home Style, I thought every other Monday I would sharing how my design plan is coming along. You can read more about my design plan for the space here

Over the weekend, we hung string lights outside our patio from our house to our large tree we have in our backyard. Below I'm sharing how we hung the outdoor string lights, plus a round-up of pretty outdoor string lights to add ambiance to your outdoor spaces. 

Originally, I planned on using Cafe Lights I bought on Amazon, they arrived but it wasn't meant to be. The lights I originally bought while lovely needed huge amount of watts - I even checked our breaker and everything looked like a go, but once we plugged them in it tripped our breaker. We tired a few ties but it wasn't a go, I sent them back. Thankfully, Amazon makes it super easy to return! 

This ended up being a happy accident! I came across these pretty Smith & Hawken Canopy Strings Lights while at Target. I LOVE the look of these string lights so much better, the pretty metal canopy over the light bulbs, adds a cool modern vibe under the my tree. Plus thanks to the metal canopy addition, the lights don't get lost under all the branches, it just adds to the ambiance. I'm also thrilled that they look so much more expensive than they actually are!! Win Win. For this project we used to sets of string lights, each light string has 10 lights. 

Psst, place the order online and pickup in them pup in the store and save 10% 

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights from a House to a Tree 

  • We hung a black outdoor extension cord from the plug, running up the side of the house ( Most likely I'll paint the extension cord in the upcoming week so it blends in and secure it in place) 
  • We used 5 Steel Hooks. The first two hooks guided the the extension cord up and under the eve of our house. 
  • The third hook is attached to the upper trunk area of the tree, then placed the string light into the hook going back to our house. The string light goes into the next hook and then back to the upper tree trunk area, the string light ends at the tree. 

Tips on Hanging Outdoor String Lights

  • Determine the pattern your lights will hanging before getting started. We created a Zig-Zag pattern since the tree is behind our patio and house, this pattern looked best. 
  • The string lights are placed a a few feet higher on the tree and a under the eves. They are hung high enough enough that you can't 'reach-out' and touch them. 
  • We hung them nice and taught, but gave them a little breathing room so that can move a little in the wind. If your placing string lights a great distance, I would consider adding wire that can be attached above the string lights. 
  • We plan on keeping out string lights up April though the end of October since the 'winters' and I use that word very loose are mild in Northern California. 

Last night, I got to see them in action and I'm in love!! I shared a quick video on Instagram Stories sharing how they look at night, user name @ChicLittleHouse click here to watch the video before its gone!! FYI: You may have have to be logged in on on your phone to watch.

The lights add such a pretty layered element to our patio during the day and look evening better at light. So much ambiance! I was in heaven last night, since our tree is so full and pretty right now, I love seeing all the lights under the green canopy. No joke it felt magical. 

Here's a few quick details about my patio so far (see picture below) I choose the Standish Love Seat for the patio and went with the Standish Coffee Table, both Target. The love seat is fantastic, modern and comfortable!! The cushions are a dark grey and currently in the garage, I'm still waiting for the outdoor cover to arrive before the cushion go on. I'm obsessed with the Iris Chevron planter, so obsessed I also have one in my larger patio I planted a Japanese Aralia inside, they love the shade and this spot in my backyard gets a crazy good amount of shade. Again the string lights are Smith & Hawken Metal Covered String Lights. Looking for modern planter ideas for your outdoor spaces, check out this post

What's Next? You ask. 

Next up, we're planning on building two trellises that will be placed on either side our patio, we planted two Happy Wanderer vines last month that will flourish once we get attached to the trellises. I also plan cleaning our gutters, ugh they look a little dingy to me. I found a homemade solution on on the internet, that I'm going to try out. It's going to be a messy job, but I'll be so much happier. 

Then, I want to address that awful red worn off painted fence. Who in the heck paints a fence red?!? It's a don't like a HUGE don't. We inherited the ugly red fence with our home, so maybe I'll spend some time sanding that junk off? + Clear out all the junk behind the patio.

Regardless I do see either a large Rose of Sharon bush growing in front of the fence or butterfly bushes!! Both flower, are evergreen and get crazy big once established. Having a large green flowering bush behind the outdoor sofa would look amazing! We also plan on freshening up the mulch in the entire front & backyard. We like to freshen our mulch once a year, I'll share deets on Instagram once we do. 

Once all the work mentioned above is completed, I plan on adding more plants on the patio, because honestly the more the merrier. I love how much more lush a patio feels layered in plants, they make happy and make the whole look I'm going for much better. Looking for modern string light indoors to brighten up your outdoors for the Spring and Summer? I got you covered! Below is a round-up of pretty String Lights. 

Modern Outdoor String Lights 

I'm so excited to start our next project to get our patio ready for Spring and Summer! It's already looking so much better and I know in a few weeks its going to feel transformed! Any questions on how we hung the outdoor string lights? What outdoor projects are you working?