How to Hang Festoon Lights DIY

Hanging festoon lights can be a little tricky, but with a little preparation, it can be easy and fun! Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting the tools and materials for this project:
  • Every location is different, so you may need to get creative when planning your installation. Depending on the space you’re working with, you may find hooks, stands, or even ropes and wires useful.
  • This is an easy DIY project which gives an impressive professional finish. Follow our simple installation steps below, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your outdoor space in no time.

1. Plan your lighting layout and fixing points

Before you begin, it is important to map out where you will install your festoon lights by laying them on the ground. This will give you a better idea of the finished project and how much festoon lighting you need.

Tip: Avoid draping the lights over furniture or other obstacles, as this will interfere with your measurements.

Now is also a good time to decide on the pattern you want to use for your festoon lighting. The most popular patterns are X, V, zig-zag, parallel, or pinwheel, depending on the shape of the area. When choosing a pattern, keep in mind the location of the power source.

At the same time, look at potential fixing points in your backyard to see how well those support the pattern you want. Trees, tall fence posts and the sides of houses are all outstanding choices as fixing points.

Most people have trouble with fixing points farther away from the house, and that’s where installing posts or poles come into play. Done correctly, you can set up a sturdy pole with minimal effort. This lets you maximise your options and get the light pattern you want.

Fixing points should be less than 8m apart if you’re not using support wires.

This is an excellent time to test the LED globes and make sure all of them work. You don’t want to hang them up and only find out there’s a problem later.

2. Install lights, with support wire if necessary

Once you have your pattern down, it’s time to install the lights to your fixing points. What types of fixing points you need depends on factors like the design you’re using. If installing in a marquee, you can use the existing structure as your support points.

You should install support wires if the span is greater than 7m. Support wire should be rustproof, generally stainless steel wire will do the job here.

3. Check the LED light bulbs

Make sure the light bulbs are screwed all the way to create a tight waterproof seal. When using shatterproof LED bulbs, you can screw the bulb into the socket without worrying the bulb will shatter.

4. Connect to power and turn on the system

After all the LED bulbs are snug in their sockets, it’s time to flick on the power and test your system to be sure the whole thing works. The beautiful warm white glow emitted from the light bulbs will sparkle long into the evening, setting the scene for many memorable nights ahead.

How to setup festoon lights on a fence

If you have an existing fence and you want to hang festoon lights up, attach 3m wooden posts with cup hooks to your fence and side-nail them into place. For added security, you can use drills and screw your new posts into place instead.

Most fences are already well-grounded with concrete grips on their posts, so they’re also sturdy enough to hold your new posts and keep your festoon lights in place. You can use shorter poles if needed, but try to avoid making them longer. If you need to set up posts more than 3m high, install them independently instead of connecting them to your fence.

If you’re installing multiple posts along your fence, space them about 2.5m apart for a zig-zag pattern, or wider if you’re planning something like an X or a V shape type installation.

How to hang festoon lighting under a pergola or covered patio

Hanging your festoon lights under a pergola or a covered patio is arguably the easiest and safest outdoor installation. You can attach cup hooks approximately every meter under your structure and create almost any type of design. Many people follow the existing lines on roofs or porch beams for aesthetic reasons, but you can also make other patterns with your string lights for these structures.

How to hang festoon lights on a patio, deck or hard surface area

This is a little more complicated than hanging festoon lights on fences or under pergolas. If you’re working on a hard surface area and can’t break it up, get some of those buckets filled with concrete and space them out to match your design.

Festoon lights strung over more extensive patios will exert a lot of pull on the posts, so make sure you use enough posts and have enough weight at the bottom to keep them steady. Otherwise, a little too much wind could tip them over and bring the entire setup crashing down. If in doubt, err on the side of having more weight instead of less.

Make sure you use sturdy clamps, too. Metal tubing is a good choice for these setups, especially if you use tube clamps instead of basic hooks.

The good part about arranging festoon lighting this way is that you have almost total freedom for your poles’ placement, which means you can create some truly intricate designs.


Planning is key for a successful and safe installation of outdoor festoon lights. The actual lights themselves are relatively lightweight, and most hooks stay in place. The trick is to make sure the components don’t pull too hard on each other. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can hang festoon lights practically anywhere.