Tips on how to Make Sturdy DIY Patio Gentle Planters | Thrifty Decor Chick

Tips on how to set up STURDY cafe patio string lights with out bushes! 

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

I had to determine a strategy to cling these patio lights in a secure method so they’d 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 thing. We stored them up in rain, wind and snow and so they nonetheless look/work nice right this moment. 

It helped that we had bushes large enough to carry the burden of those — they’re heavier than your common outside lights, however once more…they final eternally.

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

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

I have been researching this for a yr as a result of it was so essential 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 modifications on the finish I will share with you. (Trace: the tutorials we discovered did not work for the heavier lights!) 

Let’s get began! I will record ALL of the gadgets you may want on the finish of the put up, however listed here are the step-by-step directions. 

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

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

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

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

I initially had three planters, however we ended up utilizing two once we discovered what number of ft 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 won’t maintain them tremendous safe (a minimum of with plastic planters), so you’ll be able to’t let go simply but — however they do assist! 

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

quick setting concrete for planters

We added and blended 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 doable so there is no 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 anxious 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 degree to examine the 4×4 throughout this course of. It does not need to be completely straight — keep in mind you’ll be able to alter 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 needed to get them up! It was straightforward 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 method simpler than we thought it might be. That’s, till we began pulling on the 4x4s a bit…and we realized there was no method these would not tip over from the burden 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 pressure. We had our handyman come out to have a look (he was serving to me cling the lights anyway) and he got here up with an excellent resolution. 

He discovered lengthy metallic 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. You too can do that whereas the cement is drying with a daily drill bit. 

He hooked up 4 to every planter and it labored like a attraction!! Good. They do not budge. I am shocked the planters within the tutorials I discovered keep upright — however as I discussed, if you’re inserting them nearer collectively or utilizing light-weight mild strands, they are going to in all probability work. (Our lights are strung 20+ ft 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 couple 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 straightforward 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 effectively on the market! One flat was $21 and I had lots for the 2 planters. Within the spring I will add petunias that can spill over the perimeters. 

Step 4: Dangle the lights with {hardware}.

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

We had loads of {hardware} and wire leftover. If you’re draping the lights lower than seven ft, you’ll be able to simply cling them by themselves. The model recommends that you simply use wire for distances longer than that. 

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

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

It is onerous to find out precisely how a lot you may use, so we knew the location of the final attachment to the again of the home would rely on 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/twine hanging down. 

It’s SO lovely 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 the holes within the lights beforehand, however the zip ties after was simpler. This manner you’ll be able to safe the wire first after which add the lights after the actual fact.

I at all times 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 shuttle many instances…however I desire this! If you’d 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 previous 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 couple 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 at all times love LED lights, particularly exterior. I desire a hotter mild, however as you’ll be able to 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 you tighten the bulbs effectively — if they don’t seem to be working that is normally 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 effectively. We saved SO a lot cash utilizing that as a substitute of getting electrical work achieved.

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

DIY cafe lights over patio

Do you might have fairly lights hung exterior? They make every thing really feel slightly extra magical. 🙂 

Listed below are the hyperlinks and merchandise that shall be useful if you happen to try this challenge!:
String mild tutorial when you’ve got bushes
Industrial 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 use this picture to pin this challenge for later:

DIY cafe lights in cement planters