Adding outdoor, garden lighting to your pergola not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also extends the usability of your outdoor space well into the night. In this blog post, we’ll explore decorating my pergola with lights and explore ideas for you to do the same in your outdoor space.
If you have been around This Dear Casa for a while, you might have seen when we first built this pergola then stained it to match our fencing. It took a few seasons to train the roses up on to the pergola, and now my vision is finally coming to fruition!
Make sure to check out some great garden lighting DIY projects toward the end of the post. Kippi at Home organized a group of us bloggers to share all of our outdoor lighting ideas and I know you will enjoy them all!
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Instructions for hanging outdoor string lights on a pergola
This pergola area isn’t part of a patio like some typically are. It is in the side yard that leads to our backyard and serves as a trellis. It is also visible as you approach the house from the sidewalk so it is important that it looks welcoming. To build on the romantic, magical feel of all the roses, lighting is the next step. Let’s see how it all comes together!
Since planning the pergola trellis build, I knew I wanted to hang lights. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Plan and Measure
Before you start hanging string lights, take some time to plan and measure your pergola trellis. Consider the desired pattern, spacing, and length of the lights. Measure the length of your trellis and the distance between the support beams to determine how many lights you will need and where they should be placed.
We bought the 48″ String lights which turned out to be longer than the length of the pergola trellis for the zig zag pattern. With the excess we decorated the back gate, creating a nice segue to the lights already hanging in our backyard.
Step 2: Gather the Necessary Tools & Materials
- We have these Edison bulb String lights. Here is a shorter option: 25 ft string lights. Make sure lights are safe for outdoor use.
- Extension cords (if needed)
- Outdoor hooks or clips (I used wire to secure lights to the posts)
- Zip ties or wire
- Ladder or step stool
- Measuring tape
- Scissors or wire cutters
- Outdoor-rated electrical tape (optional)
Step 3: Hang the String Lights
Start by plugging in your string lights and ensuring they are working correctly.
If you are using hooks or clips, attach them according to the pattern you determine.
Begin at the first hook or clip and carefully drape the lights along the trellis, securing them in place using zip ties or wire.
The lights we use have a handy hook hook eye at the top of each bulb that we used to secure to the pergola with wire.
Be mindful of any excess slack in the lights and adjust accordingly to maintain a taut and pleasing appearance. Continue this process until you have reached the last of the lights.
Step 4: Conceal and Secure the Cords
To give your string lights a clean and professional look, consider concealing the cords. You can wrap the excess cord length around the support beams or use outdoor-rated electrical tape to secure them along the trellis. This will help prevent tripping hazards and create a neater appearance.
I plan to paint the wire to match our house, since it runs along the siding to an outlet on the house. I also painted the wire in the same stain color as our pergola and fence. You can sort of see how the metal wire is brown close to the wire.
Stylish Fixtures to Complement Your Style
Next, step back and observe your lights. Make any adjustments necessary.
Outdoor garden lighting fixtures can be both functional and stylish, adding an element of design to your pergola. Choose fixtures that complement your pergola’s style, whether it’s rustic, modern, or traditional. From elegant string lights and lanterns to contemporary LED wall sconces, there are endless options to suit your taste and create a cohesive look.
I chose a string light with Edison bulbs to compliment the vintage look of our 1929 Tudor Revival house. We strung the lights in a zig zag pattern reminiscent of old world cafes and plazas.
Strategic Placement for Ambiance
After hanging the lights on the pergola trellis, I wanted more lighting lower toward the ground.
Strategically placing outdoor lighting fixtures can create a magical ambiance in your pergola. Highlight the architectural features, such as the posts, beams, and lattice work, by installing soft uplights or downlights. Illuminate garden pathways and seating areas with discreet ground lights to guide guests and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
For my walkway I used two 48″ shepherd hooks and placed them on either side of the path. They are super easy to push into the ground and very versatile. I’ve hung different lanterns and hanging flower baskets from them. This season I splurged and bought two new 10.25″ outdoor lanterns; they were on sale plus I had a reward!
Energy-Efficient Lighting Options
Opting for energy-efficient lighting not only helps the environment but also saves you money in the long run. Consider using LED lights, which consume less energy and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Solar-powered lights are another eco-friendly option that harnesses the sun’s energy to illuminate your pergola without the need for wiring.
We use LED string lights and have them set on a timer to save energy and cut down our electricity bill.
Dimmers and Controls for Versatility
To set the perfect ambiance for any occasion, install dimmers and controls for your outdoor lighting. This allows you to adjust the brightness and create various moods, whether you’re hosting a lively outdoor gathering or seeking a romantic, intimate setting. With the ability to control your lighting levels, you can tailor the atmosphere to suit your preferences.
So many lights have remotes these days. There are even candles with remotes!
Highlighting Greenery and Accents
Integrate your pergola’s surrounding greenery and accents into the lighting scheme. Use well-placed spotlights or uplights to showcase your favorite plants, vines, or hanging baskets, adding depth and texture to the overall ambiance.
Eventually we would like to install more permanent lighting for paths and uplights on some trees, but in the meantime lanterns work well.
Remember to consult a professional electrician for any electrical installations and always prioritize safety when working with outdoor lighting.
More inspiration like Decorating My Pergola With Lights
See how to make these gorgeous DIY Mason Jar Lanterns by Kippi at Home.
What outdoor gathering is complete without a pretty centerpiece? Make this DIY Succulent Centerpiece for your next BBQ or gift to a hostess!
Pin Decorating My Pergola With Lights
Shop Decorating My Pergola With Lights
I linked the lights I used as well as other fun options. Simply click on the images to shop!