September 27, 2023

Improve Our Home

The way to Make Sturdy DIY Patio Mild Planters | Thrifty Decor Chick

8 min read

The way to set up STURDY cafe patio string lights with out timber! 

Putting in these outside string lights was on my listing for years after we moved into our home! The issue was, we had a brand new yard with no mature timber to connect the lights to. 

I had to determine a approach to dangle these patio lights in a secure means so they might maintain as much as rain, wind and snow. 

Hanging string lights under pergola
How to hang string lights from trees

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We love these outside string lights specifically. They’re sturdy, commercial-grade strands that maintain as much as every little thing. We saved them up in rain, wind and snow and so they nonetheless look/work nice immediately. 

It helped that we had timber sufficiently big to carry the load of those — they’re heavier than your common outside lights, however once more…they final without end.

Understanding we had been going to hold them over the brand new patio, I grabbed a pair containers of the lights final 12 months. I used to be actually hoping to get them up final fall, however it did not occur: 
Long backyard patio with fire pit

As a result of we do not have timber across the patio but (and it might be years earlier than they’d be sturdy sufficient to carry the sunshine strands), we had to determine a special possibility. 

I have been researching this for a 12 months as a result of it was so necessary for this to a.) be practical, b.) look good and c.) not break the bank. I gathered information from a bunch of tutorials I discovered after which we needed to make some extra adjustments on the finish I am going to share with you. (Trace: the tutorials we discovered did not work for the heavier lights!) 

Let’s get began! I am going to listing ALL of the gadgets you will want on the finish of the put up, however listed below are the step-by-step directions. 

Step 1: Collect the planters you want to make use of. 

A few of the tutorials I discovered used wooden wine barrel planters — however the ones I discovered both had massive holes already drilled into the underside or they weren’t tremendous sturdy. I used to be fearful the concrete would ooze out between the slats of wooden. 

I purchased three plastic planters for this undertaking awhile again, however I made a decision they had been too tall and never extensive — you need one thing that has a large base.  We returned these and received these plastic barrel planters as a substitute: 

They nonetheless have that wine barrel look however ought to maintain up a lot better!

I initially had three planters, however we ended up utilizing two once we found out what number of toes of lights we had. 

Step 2: Safe the poles within the planters.

Subsequent, we grabbed eight foot 4×4’s for every planter. The short set cement set actually quick — however this subsequent step was useful. I put in “L” brackets onto the underside of every 4×4 after which screwed them into the underside of the planters earlier than including the cement: 

Using 4x4s for outdoor lights

This is not going to maintain them tremendous safe (at the least with plastic planters), so you possibly can’t let go simply but — however they do assist! 

I’ve by no means use cement however it was surprisingly simple! We used two 50 pound luggage of Quikrete for every planter:

quick setting concrete for planters

We added and combined one bag at a time — you add the cement after which spray water. You do not want a ton of water — simply combine in addition to attainable so there is not any dry cement left: 

How to make poles for outdoor lights

For the primary planter it took three of us as a result of I used to be fearful the 4×4 would not maintain at first. However the cement units up so quick, it simply took two of us for the second. 

Use a stage to examine the 4×4 throughout this course of. It does not must be completely straight — keep in mind you possibly can regulate the mulch or filth below the planters to assist make the poles straight. 

Inside 15-20 minutes it wasn’t budging: 

Cement planters for outdoor string lights

You’ll be able to stain or paint the 4×4’s earlier than setting them within the cement, however I am too impatient for that. I wished to get them up! It was simple to get them stained after the actual fact: 

Jacobean stain on outdoor poles

Step three: Safe the planters into the bottom (if wanted).

Soooo this half went rather well and was means simpler than we thought it might be. That’s, till we began pulling on the 4x4s a bit…and we realized there was no means these would not tip over from the load of the lights. (Even with 100 kilos of cement!)

The lights aren’t CRAZY heavy…however we had been draping them throughout the patio, so the gap provides some rigidity. We had our handyman come out to have a look (he was serving to me dangle the lights anyway) and he got here up with an excellent resolution. 

He discovered lengthy steel metal flats on the ironmongery shop that he pounded into the bottom after which secured into the cement portion of the pots: 

Securing cement planters into ground

You may want a stone/cement drill bit to get into the set cement. It’s also possible to do that whereas the cement is drying with an everyday drill bit. 

He hooked up 4 to every planter and it labored like a appeal!! Good. They do not budge. I am stunned the planters within the tutorials I discovered keep upright — however as I discussed, in case you are inserting them nearer collectively or utilizing light-weight gentle strands, they may in all probability work. (Our lights are strung 20+ toes over the patio.)

As a result of I used to be filling the remaining a part of every planter with soil and vegetation, I drilled a number of holes into the perimeters of the planters so water does not pool up inside: 

Drainage holes for planters

I discovered a flat of those succulents at Lowe’s — it was SO simple to plant! You’ll be able to both simply lay them down over the filth or tear them into items like I did: 

DIY poles in planters for lights

Hopefully they do properly on the market! One flat was $21 and I had lots for the 2 planters. Within the spring I am going to add petunias that can spill over the perimeters. 

Step 4: Cling the lights with {hardware}.

Subsequent it was time to get the lights hung! I purchased this light hanging kit final 12 months and it had every little thing we wanted:
Outdoor light hanging kit

We had loads of {hardware} and wire leftover. In case you are draping the lights lower than seven toes, you possibly can simply dangle them by themselves. The model recommends that you simply use wire for distances longer than that. 

The equipment comes with 150 toes of wire, which was far more than we wanted. The outside lights we use are from Feit and are 48 toes every. So you will simply must map out the design you need primarily based in your house and the way lengthy your lights are. I knew the place we wished to start out (the nook of the patio so we may entry a plug), and I positioned the planters (earlier than we added cement) the place we wished them to drape:

How to hang outdoor string lights
How to hang outdoor lights without trees

It is arduous to find out precisely how a lot you will use, so we knew the position of the final attachment to the again of the home would depend upon how a lot of the lights had been left, if that is sensible. We thought it might attain to the nook of the home, however as a substitute we needed to transfer it in a bit. This made it so we did not have any extra lights/wire hanging down. 

It’s SO stunning and even higher than I imagined!:

DIY string light cement planters tutorial

We hung the wire after which used small zip ties to connect the lights. You’ll be able to string the wire by means of the holes within the lights beforehand, however the zip ties after was simpler. This fashion you possibly can safe the wire first after which add the lights after the actual fact.

I all the time lean to an easier look so I did not need this to get too busy. We may have added extra planters and lights and had them commute many occasions…however I want this! If you would like extra, go for it!: 

Patio with DIY outdoor lights in planters
I shared all about these superior industrial cafe lights right here — within the few years since that put up, they now make them in LED as a substitute. It will save on electrical energy — every bulb is just one watt. 

The outdated units got here with a ton of additional bulbs as a result of they had been glass. These are plastic in order that they solely present a number of additional (additionally as a result of they will final MUCH longer than the incandescent model). The LED model can also be lighter (weight smart) than those we used years in the past. 

I do not all the time love LED lights, particularly exterior. I want a hotter gentle, however as you possibly can see, these aren’t stark in any respect. Very heat and welcoming: 

How to hang heavy outdoor string lights
covered porch and patio with lighting

DIY planters for heavy string lights

Be sure to tighten the bulbs properly — if they don’t seem to be working that is often the issue.

We had been going to have a change run down the porch column so we may simply flip these on and off, however our handyman jogged my memory {that a} distant change would work simply as properly. We saved SO a lot cash utilizing that as a substitute of getting electrical work carried out.

That is the remote we used — simply plug it into the outlet, then plug the lights into the machine. You’ll be able to flip the lights on and off from inside or exterior simply. This is a take a look at the lights when it is fully darkish:

DIY cafe lights over patio

Do you’ve gotten fairly lights hung exterior? They make every little thing really feel a bit extra magical. 🙂 

Listed here are the hyperlinks and merchandise that might be useful should you try this undertaking!:
String gentle tutorial in case you have timber
Business grade string lights
Plastic barrel planters (or a smaller version here)
Three foot steel flats for securing the planters
Light hanging hardware kit
Quikrete fast setting cement
Remote control outdoor plug/switch

You should utilize this picture to pin this undertaking for later:

DIY cafe lights in cement planters

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