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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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.

Hang Outdoor String 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.

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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

Hang Outdoor String Lights

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

Next Up

How to Paint a Rattan Peacock Chair

Add a pop of color to a woven rattan chair with a fun ombre paint treatment and a vibrant ribbon trim.

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.

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.

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.

How to Replace an Outdoor Water Spigot

If your outdoor hose spigot is leaking from the spout, it’s time to replace it. Here’s how to knock out this project in no time at all using a few simple tools.

What You Need to Know About Hanging a TV Outside

Get tips for installing an outdoor TV on your porch, by the patio or near your swimming pool.

How to Make Beach-Inspired Striped Cornhole Boards

Whether you're a cornhole pro or you're just thankful to get one bag on the board, anyone can build these DIY cornhole boards with a beach-inspired paint job. Learn how below and tune in for all-new episodes of Battle on the Beach Monday nights at 9|8c.Sponsored by RYOBI

25 Swoon-Worthy Outdoor Chandeliers for Every Design Style

Looking to light up your outdoor living or dining space? Check out these stunning outdoor light fixtures for every design style, many of which you can DIY for little money.

Ree Drummond Just Launched The Pioneer Woman Outdoor Collection at Walmart — Here's What We're Buying

The new The Pioneer Woman collection encompasses patio furniture, outdoor rugs, gardening tools and more.

The Best Camera Bird Feeder for Backyard Birdwatching

For best image quality, battery life and tech features, Birdfy is worth the splurge and makes the perfect gift for amateur birders and ornithologists alike. However, don't expect these futuristic feeders to do one very simple task that's traditionally expected from bird feeders.

More from:

Outside, In Reach

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

6am | 5c
7am | 6c
8am | 7c
9am | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Zillow Gone Wild

8pm | 7c

Zillow Gone Wild

8:31pm | 7:31c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

10:31pm | 9:31c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

House Hunters

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

Zillow Gone Wild

2:59am | 1:59c

Zillow Gone Wild

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

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