Bright Ideas For Outdoor Light Displays

There’s something magical about holiday lights. But hanging your own outdoor display can be a tricky and costly endeavor. Here are some easy tips and helpful ideas for making your own light decorations cost effective, safe and beautiful.
Safety First

As you start to unravel last year’s holiday decorations and formulate your outdoor light display, first carefully inspect your light strands. Just because your lights worked last season doesn’t mean they will work flawlessly this year.  Check for frayed wires, damaged sockets, cracked or missing insulation and broken bulbs. Always discard any defected strands.

Before you hang your lights, test each light strand. Replace burned-out or missing bulbs, and only decorate the outside of the house with lights approved for outdoor use.

Other important safety considerations include:
  • Hang outside lights during the day, and only install electrical items during dry weather
  • Survey your area for overhead power lines before hanging lights
  • Enlist an assistant to help you with the task of hanging lights. The job will go faster and be safer with someone to hand you tools, hold the ladder and keep cords tangle-free.
  • Avoid running lights on the ground or pavement to eliminate a tripping hazard.
  • Avoid hanging lights with staples or nails, which can damage the lighting strands. Instead use clips to firmly hold the lights in place.
  • Follow the manufacturer's limits for number of light strings that can safely be connected together.
  • Always turn off decorative lights when leaving the house and before going to bed 

Cut Costs

Along with safety, energy-efficiency should also be considered when hanging your holiday lights.  Save power and money by using LED (light-emitting diode) lights. These lights are 70% -90% more efficient than traditional, incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Only turn on your lights during peak evening hours, and unplug the lights before going to bed.
Create a Dazzling Light Display

With such a variety of holiday lights and decorating techniques to choose from, there are many ways to create your own winter wonderland right in your own yard! Accent the trees or bushes on your lawn by stringing lights around the outside of the branches. Those same lights can also be used to illuminate the edges of your roof and windows.  For fun, you can substitute traditional lights for twinkling, fading or chasing lights to create the illusion of movement.

Consider lining your sidewalk with lights, or add excitement to your porch, mailbox, fence and other landscape features by garnishing them with strands of light. Light displays can even be synchronized to your favorite holiday music.

With careful preparation, attention to energy efficiency and a little imagination, you can produce a festive light display that warms your home and creates a memorable holiday for the entire family. 

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