Lights on Timers
For a low-maintenance approach to exterior holiday lighting, consider timer activation. One of the most popular products available is a plug-in on/off module which can handle up to 1500 watts. Although there are many styles available, most options simply plug into an exterior outlet. An average-sized home will require between two and four modules to keep the exterior safely lit and perfectly timed.
Moravian stars are an excellent way to add both graphic shape and illumination throughout your front yard. For the best effect, consider grouping Moravian stars in odd numbers, randomly spacing them throughout the tree to create a gorgeous glow. The graphic shapes of the stars will break up the monotony of twinkle lights along the house and hedges. Get step-by-step instructions.
Since holidays often attract more guests to the home than other times of the year, be sure to keep walkways brightly lit. An easy way to do this is to take advantage of any smaller trees or shrubs along or around the walkway and outfitting them with just a few strands of lights. Although they may be too small to properly read from the street, the subtle glow cast onto pavers, trails or concrete walkways will help guests make their way up to the house safely.
While adding twinkle lights to small and medium-sized trees may seem simple, there's more skill involved than one might think. Since most trees lose their leaves in the winter, it's much more difficult to figure out where to drape the lights for a balanced look. To add symmetry to exterior decor, create a consistent stopping point along each of the trees. Although some may be significantly taller than others, once wrapped at approximately the same height with twinkle lights, trees will appear organically balanced.
Lights are meant mostly for ambiance, but they can also serve double duty as backdrops for showcasing seasonal yard structures. When placing holiday structures in the yard, it's wise to keep them unlit, instead relying on the ambient glow of the house. Get step-by-step instructions.
Wrapping hedges with twinkle lights may seem like a daunting task, especially when figuring out where to stop and start each strand. Eliminate all of the second-guessing by investing in net lights. Although net lights may cost more than standard strands, the amount of time saved on installation is often worth the investment.
When decorating a home's exterior entry, it's important to take into consideration how each of the decorative elements will appear from the street. If wreaths or ornaments are too small, they'll end up looking like clutter. Be sure to keep the scale and proportion of all elements in check with those in the yard. This will result in a cohesive design which will be just as striking from a distance as it is up close.
Year-round exterior lighting such as sensory-activated motion lights, security spotlights and sconces can often interfere with the soft ambiance created by twinkle lights. The key to properly mixing different sources is overpowering year-round fixtures with twinkle lights. Consider changing year-round bulbs to those with lower wattage. This will allow twinkle lights to overpower year-round fixtures, resulting in a beautiful, soft glow along all exterior surfaces of the home.