How to Hang String Lights in Backyard without Trees

Let me show you the cutest way to string lights in the backyard without trees.

Recently we took a trip to Florida to visit our son and his family. You know how it goes when mom and dad show up. There is usually a project or two to accomplish.

We aimed to hang string lights over their new outdoor space on this trip and build a fire pit.

Our son, Dillon and his father in law had prepared the area by removing brush and a tree, leveling the area and adding gravel. He also installed a round stock tank pool and deck in the far corner.

They wanted to hang market lights, but there were no trees to hang the lights from.

The before image of the backyard before we transformed it with a stock tank pool, lights and fire pit.
Stocktank pool wit wood deck

Mom and dad to the rescue!

How to String Lights In Backyard Without Trees

Why string lights in your backyard?

There’s something magical about the soft glow of string lights that can instantly transform your backyard into a cozy and inviting space.

Whether hosting a summer barbecue, having a romantic evening under the stars, or simply enjoying some quiet time alone, string lights add a touch of ambiance and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

How to add string lights without trees -Adding ambiance to the backyard with string lights

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Here are a few reasons why you should consider stringing lights in your backyard:

  • Enhance the aesthetics: String lights can effortlessly elevate the overall look of your backyard. They provide a charming and whimsical appeal, making your outdoor space feel like a cozy retreat. Whether you have a sprawling garden or a small patio, string lights can add a touch of elegance and create a cozy, intimate setting.
  • Extend outdoor living hours: With the proper lighting, you can extend your outdoor living hours well into the evening. String lights provide just the right amount of illumination, allowing you to enjoy your backyard even after the sun goes down. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply unwinding after a long day, the soft glow of string lights creates a cozy ambiance that encourages relaxation and conversation.
  • Versatile and adaptable: String lights come in a wide range of styles and designs, allowing you to choose the ones that best suit your personal taste and the overall aesthetic of your backyard. From classic Edison bulbs to colorful lanterns, there’s a string light option for every preference. Moreover, they can be easily hung and adjusted to fit any outdoor space, whether you have trees or not.

What are the different ways to string lights without trees?

Market lights on a tree
  • Hanging lights from a wooden fence: This is a simple and effective way to string lights if you have a solid fence that can support the weight of the lights.
  • Hanging lights from a pergola: A pergola is a great way to add shade and privacy to your backyard, and you can also hang string lights.
market lights hanging from a wood pergola
  • Hanging lights from your patio or deck railing: This is another easy way to string lights, and it’s a great way to add some ambiance to your outdoor living space.
  • Hanging lights from shrubbery: If you have shrubbery in your backyard, you can use it to hang string lights.
  • Hanging lights from posts: If you don’t have any other options, you can create posts like we did.

What kind of string lights can you use?

When it comes to choosing the right string lights for your backyard, there are several options available. Here are a few popular choices to consider:

outdoor string lights in the backyard
  • Edison bulb string lights: Edison bulbs have a vintage charm that adds a nostalgic and timeless feel to any outdoor setting. These bulbs emit a warm, soft glow that creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Edison bulb string lights are available in various lengths and can be hung across your backyard to create a stunning visual effect.
  • LED string lights: LED lights are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and come in a wide array of colors and styles. They are a popular choice for outdoor lighting due to their durability and versatility. LED Christmas lights are available in different lengths and can create a vibrant and festive ambiance in your backyard as well.
  • Solar string lights: If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, solar lights are a great choice. These lights harness energy from the sun during the day and automatically illuminate your backyard at night. They are easy to install, cost-effective, and require minimal maintenance.
  • Globe string lights: Globe string lights are a trendy and versatile option that can suit various backyard styles. These lights feature round bulbs emitting soft and diffused light, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Globe string lights are available in different sizes and can be hung in straight lines or draped across your outdoor space for a whimsical effect.
market lights at nights
colored market lights
Globe style clear market lights

​Tips for choosing the right string lights

​Look over the options of lights so you can make the best choice for your outdoor area.

All the best tips

How to choose the best lights


  • Consider the size of your space. How much area do you want to light up? You won’t need a heavy-duty string of lights if you have a small patio. But you’ll need something more substantial if you have a large yard.
  • Choose weatherproof lights. Outdoor string lights should be able to withstand the elements, so look for ones that are rated for outdoor use.
  • Decide on the power source. Do you have an outdoor outlet that you can plug the lights into? If not, you must choose a set of solar-powered or battery-operated lights.
  • Think about the bulb type. Three main types of light bulbs are available: incandescent, LED, and solar. Incandescent bulbs are the most affordable, but they’re also the least energy-efficient. LED bulbs are more expensive but last longer and use less energy. Solar-powered bulbs are a good option if you don’t have an outdoor outlet.
  • Consider the color of the lights. Do you want white lights, colored lights, or a combination of both? White lights are the most versatile, but colored lights can add a touch of fun to your outdoor space.
  • Read the reviews. Before buying a set of outdoor string lights, please read the reviews to see what other people say about them. This will help you to choose a set of lights that is well-made and durable.

Where to buy string lights 

  • Amazon: Amazon has a wide selection of string lights at various prices. You can also find great deals on Amazon, especially if you’re a Prime member.
  • Wayfair: This website has a great selection of string lights, including indoor and outdoor options. They also have a good return policy, so you can be sure to find the perfect set of lights for your needs. 
  • Home Depot: Home Depot has a wide selection of string lights at various prices. You can also find string lights specifically designed for outdoor use at Home Depot. 
  • Lowe’s: Lowe’s is another excellent option for buying string lights. They have a wide selection of indoor and outdoor string lights and competitive prices.

How to string lights in the backyard by hanging them from posts

Here is how we created our wine barrel posts to string outdoor lights in the backyard.

1. Plan out the pattern of your backyard string lights 

The first step is to plan out on paper where your anchor points (the wine barrels with posts) need to be to hold the patio lights.

This is my hubby’s handy work.

Figure out the pattern you want to run your lights. We chose a zigzag pattern. Determine how many feet of lights you will need.

Source the lights in the correct lengths to work with your pattern. Be sure that you plan to end where your power source will be.

How to String Lights In Backyard Without Trees - Plan out the pattern of your backyard string lights

Supply List

  1. Six half-wine barrels
  2. Six wooden posts (4×4)
  3. Cup hooks 
  4. Outdoor extension cord
  5. Commercial-grade string lights
  6. Tape Measure 
  7. 12 bags of Quikrete
  8. Six large bags of gravel
  9. Six bags of potting soil
  10. Plants of your choice
  11. Flex seal
  12. Stain for the fence posts
  13. Four “L” brackets per barrel (24)
  14. Drill/screwdriver
  15. Power source
  16. Cable ties or Zip ties
  17. A level

2. The easiest way to make your own supports for outdoor string lighting

The next step is to make the support for the posts.

  • Gather all of your materials.
  • Drill drainage holes in the bottom of the wine barrels.
  • Using the flex seal, seal the inside of the wine barrel and let this dry overnight.
A stack of half wine barrels
Flex seal- the perfect water proof barrier to paint the wine barrel with on the inside.
half wine barrel coated with flex seal on the inside
Securing the post inside of the wine barrel with L brackets
  • Paint or spray flex seal on the bottom 12″ of the fencepost that will be inserted into the wine barrel and let this dry overnight.
  • Line up a fence post in the middle of the barrel. Use a level to make sure it is perfectly straight.
  • Attach the wooden pole to the barrel using four “L” brackets for each barrel.
  • Repeat this process for all six barrels or however many you are making.

3. Secure the posts in place 

  • You will want to place the barrels where they will stay so you can add the cement and rock to secure the post and give it weight.
Backyard with a gravel area that contains a stock pool and deck. Wine barrels have been placed where they will stay and are ready for cement.
  • Pour two bags of dry Quikrete into the barrel around the bottom of the fence post.
  • Add the correct amount of water according to the directions on the bag and mix well. 
  • Allow to dry. 
  • Repeat this process on all of your barrels.
Adding concrete to the wine barrels to give them weight and stability.

4. Place the rock in your barrels

  1. Once the cement is dry, drill a few holes in the side of the barrel above the concrete for drainage.
  2. Pour one bag of rock into the barrel on top of the cement. 
  3. Stain or paint the posts.
wine barrel with cement and rocks.
painting posts black

5. Simple steps for attaching the light strands

  1. You must screw one of the screw hooks into the top of the light poles.
  2. Start running the lights from the first post to the next, putting the cord through the screw hooks. You can add a second hook to the top of the post if needed. 
  3. When you reach the end of one strand, you will tie it to the next strand using a square knot to relieve the tension in the cord, then plug the two ends together.
  4. Continue stringing your set of string lights until you have finished.
Cup hooks on top of posts to hold the market lights

5. Planting your wine barrels

I must admit, this is my favorite part! I love nothing more than digging in the dirt.

  • Add a bag of planting soil on top of the rocks.
  • Choose the plants that work best for where you live.
  • We chose succulents and tropical plants for Florida.
  • Plant your plants.
woman planting flowers in wine barrels
wine barrel planted with flowers sitting on a gravel section of a yard

Sit back and relax

Once all of the hard work is complete, it is time to sit back, relax and take in some sunshine.

little boy sitting by the pool enjoying the view
relaxing by the fire pit  in the newly decorated yard with market lights and a fire pit

What are the challenges of stringing lights without trees?

While stringing lights in a backyard without trees may require more creativity, several options are still available.

As with every project, challenges can arise when there are no trees to hang the lights.

  • Limited anchor points: Finding suitable anchor points for your string lights can be challenging without trees. The absence of natural structures may require you to explore alternative options. 
  • Extension cord management: Without trees to guide your string lights, managing the extension cords can become challenging. To overcome this challenge, you can try concealing the cords with cord covers or hide them behind plants or bushes. Also, use waterproof connectors to help prevent electrical hazards.
  • Wind and weather considerations: When stringing lights without trees, consider the impact of wind and weather on the lights’ stability and durability. Make sure you choose string lights designed for outdoor use and use zip ties, light clips, or metal hooks to secure them firmly in place. In extreme weather, you may want to remove the lights to protect them from the elements for the winter season.
Coupe sitting in their new backyard with market lights and fire pit.

How to care for your string lights

  • Unplug the lights before cleaning. This will prevent you from getting shocked.
  • Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the lights. Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.
  • Rinse the lights thoroughly with water.
  • Allow the lights to dry completely before storing them.
  • Store the lights in a cool, dry place.
  • Inspect the lights regularly for damage. If any bulbs are burned out, replace them immediately.
  • If the lights are not used for an extended period, store them in a plastic bag to protect them from dust and moisture.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your outdoor string lights looking their best for years to come.

Stringing lights in your backyard without trees may initially seem like a challenge. Still, you can easily create a magical and inviting outdoor space with creativity and resourcefulness. I hope this DIY post has inspired you to add backyard lights to your home. Whether you have trees, a fence, deck posts or choose to make your own posts like me to support your outdoor lighting, I know you can find a creative way to make your backyard a warm and welcoming place.

Looking for more project ideas? Check out All About DIY and Crafts.

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  1. I have been wanting to do something similar in our backyard Wendy. Can’t wait to show my husband how easy it will be since he wasn’t crazy about taking on another project. teehee… I bet your son is happy with the results, their backyard looks great!

    1. This project is rather easy and the perfect solution to hanging lights without trees.

  2. This is great! I love the barrel idea, I had been considering the same idea, but just in cement planters instead. This looks great! I might have to reconsider.

    1. Thank you Lyndsey, I am glad you enjoyed the post.

    1. Thank you, sweet friend, for sharing my post. I apologize for being so late with my comments. I was traveling to Haven last week and it put me behind.
      I hope you are doing well, we need to catch up soon.

  3. Great post, Wendy! I love outdoor string lights, and love this great idea for stringing lights in a treeless space. (I also love the adorable pic of your grandbaby!) Thanks so much for sharing! I’m including your post in my Saturday roundup this weekend!

    1. Thank you so much, Kim. I appreciate the shares so much. I will be sharing one of your posts this Saturday. Hae a great day.

  4. This is an amazing project and such a great blog post! It is truly possible for anyone to have outdoor lights in their outdoor space! Well done!

  5. Wendy!
    I LOVE what you’ve done with Dillon’s backyard! Fabulous! You have designed a warm inviting space where the baby can cool 😎 off and the adults can gather!
    Linda W
    Now I need to light the Cancer Victory Garden pronto!

    1. Yes, a few of these in your garden would be great. Maybe I need a few in my garden too!

  6. I love this idea so much. I’m saving this for someday when finally overhaul our back yard!

    1. Thank you Jen! They are fun and easy to make. You just need a little man power which I know you have.

  7. Great ideas and it looks beautiful. Great ambiance.

    1. Thank you Lisa, it was so fun to help them and they loved the end results.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, it is not too complicated. You just need a little bit of man power to help you.

  8. This is just the post I needed! I’m planning on hanging more lights in our backyard. Your tips will be so helpful! Pinned 🙂

    1. Thank you Cindy. It was such a fun project and very easy. YOu know where to find me if you need any help.

  9. This came out great Wendy. What a great solution to use the barrels. I love how you planted around them to make them look like small garden planters. Looks like they will enjoy this for years to come.

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