String Light Solution: Hang Patio Lights Using Planters and Wood Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Materials Needed

  • 6 tall planters
  • spray paint in desired color
  • drop cloth
  • (6) 2” x 2” x 8’ posts
  • coordinating paint color, if desired
  • painter's tape
  • 6 cup hooks
  • (4) 50 lb. bags of quick concrete mix
  • water
  • stir stick
  • level
  • gravel or other drainage material
  • potting soil
  • plants
  • 100 feet of patio string lights

Paint Planters and Posts

Wipe planters clean with a damp cloth. Place planters upside down on a drop cloth and cover completely with spray paint. Apply additional coats as necessary for full coverage. Turn planters over and paint the rim and inside the rim.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Paint Planters

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Paint Planters

Wipe planters clean with a damp cloth. Place planters upside down on a drop cloth and cover completely with spray paint. Apply additional coats as necessary for full coverage. Turn planters over and paint the rim and inside the rim.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

If desired, paint one end of the 2” x 2” x 8’ posts with the same paint by masking off the last 5-6” with painter’s tape. Allow to dry completely before masking again at the end of the painted portion and 1” below that, leaving a 1” band to be painted.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

If desired, paint one end of the 2” x 2” x 8’ posts with the same paint by masking off the last 5-6” with painter’s tape. Allow to dry completely before masking again at the end of the painted portion and 1” below that, leaving a 1” band to be painted. Paint the band with a coordinating color and allow to dry completely before removing tape.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Paint the band with a coordinating color and allow to dry completely before removing tape. On one side of each post, add a cup hook in the center where the two paint colors meet.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Cup Hook

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Cup Hook

On one side of each post, add a cup hook in the center where the two paint colors meet.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Fill Planter With Concrete

Place the unpainted end of a 2” x 2” x 8’ post in each of the planters. Divide the dry concrete mix evenly over the planters. Add water to the concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions and stir with a stick until well combined.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Fill Planter With Concrete

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Fill Planter With Concrete

Place the unpainted end of a 2” x 2” x 8’ post in each of the planters. Divide the dry concrete mix evenly over the planters. Add water to the concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions and stir with a stick until well combined.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Place the planter on level ground and use a level on one side to make the post plumb. Add painter's tape across the planter on all four sides of the post to hold it in position. Allow the concrete to harden according to the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Secure Post With Tape

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Secure Post With Tape

Place the planter on level ground and use a level on one side to make the post plumb. Add painter's tape across the planter on all four sides of the post to hold it in position. Allow the concrete to harden according to the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Add Plants to Planter

When the concrete has cured, add about 3” of gravel or other drainage material. Add potting soil to fill the planter, lightly packing it down.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Potting Soil

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Potting Soil

When the concrete has cured, add about 3” of gravel or other drainage material. Add potting soil to fill the planter, lightly packing it down. Finally, add plants to fill the planter and water as needed.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Finally, add plants to fill the planter and water as needed.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Plants

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Plants

When the concrete has cured, add about 3” of gravel or other drainage material. Add potting soil to fill the planter, lightly packing it down. Finally, add plants to fill the planter and water as needed.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

String the Lights

Arrange the planters in a rectangle no more than 10' apart.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Secure one end of the string lights to one of the cup hooks with the hook attached to the light, or with cable ties or twist ties if no hook exists. Continue stringing the lights, making an outline of the planters.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Lights

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts: Add Lights

Arrange the planters in a rectangle no more than 10’ apart. Secure one end of the string lights to one of the cup hooks with the hook attached to the light, or with cable ties or twist ties if no hook exists. Continue stringing the lights, making an outline of the planters. When you have reached the first planter and have formed a rectangular outline of lights, begin zigzagging the lights from one side of the outline to the other, spacing the passes of string far enough apart so that they will be evenly distributed to the end. Secure the end to a cup hook as you did the beginning of the string. Attach an outdoor-safe extension cord and plug into an outlet.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

When you have reached the first planter and have formed a rectangular outline of lights, begin zigzagging the lights from one side of the outline to the other, spacing the passes of string far enough apart so that they will be evenly distributed to the end. Secure the end to a cup hook as you did the beginning of the string. Attach an outdoor-safe extension cord and plug into an outlet.

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Keep Reading

Next Up

8 Budget-Friendly DIYs for Your Deck or Patio

Tackle these projects and spend more time outside this season.

Give a Tired Outdoor Wood Chair a Tropical Update

This wooden chaise longue was a little worse for wear after a year exposed to the elements. See how we gave it a fresh new look by sanding it, staining it and adding a tropical-inspired design.

Warm Up Your Patio With a DIY Tabletop Fire Pit

The warmth of a fire pit will instantly cozy up any outdoor room. If space is an issue, make this tabletop version. It's easily customizable to fit any table, yet just as beautiful as a full-size one.

What's Your Patio Personality?

Are you a garden guru or an outdoor entertainer extraordinaire? Take our quiz to find your patio personality, then learn how to design a space that’s right for you.

Sealers, Paints and Stains 101 for Concrete Patios

Choose the right sealant to keep your patio in tiptop shape.

16 Deck and Patio Ailments (and How to Fix Them)

When something goes wrong with your deck or patio, should you attempt a DIY fix or call a pro? We’ll help you diagnose your deck and patio disorders and determine the best remedy.

Sealers, Paints and Stains 101 for Wood Decks

Protect your deck with the right sealant for the job.

How to Make an Easy DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Transform your backyard into an open-air movie theater with this easy DIY screen made from PVC pipes and a white sheet.

Upcycle a Hutch Into an Outdoor Bar and Buffet

Have an old hutch or cabinet at home that’s just collecting dust? Turn it into a beverage and food station for your outdoor entertaining area. Add a mini fridge and wine glass racks, and you’ll have yourself a multifunctional piece of furniture for serving and storage in no time.

How to Add a Colorful, Geometric Pattern to a Basic Outdoor Rug

Give a drab gray rug the color treatment with paint samples and tape. With a few colors or a lot of colors, this pattern offers infinite ways to add a punch to your patio.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.