I have to give all the credit to Dan as he creatively and strategically came up with this string light plan. I pretty much left him in charge of it and with a few hours work he had it completed and looking magical!
We first had to decide on a location for the lights and came to the conclusion that they would be best over our little sitting area. Read on for all the details on how we strung them!
Here's a list of the materials we used, most found at Home Depot:
2in x 2in select pine posts, 8 ft tall
100ft string lights
vinyl-coated steel cable, 3/16in
3in decking screws
cable clamps 3/16in
outdoor, all-weather extension cord
Our little helper :) Dan picked up these pine posts from Home Depot and stained them the same color as our deck so it blends in and looks like part of the structure.
Once dry, he then screwed the posts to the deck railing. We did 2 posts, one on each side of the sitting area.
He drilled a hole in the top of the posts about an inch from the top so that we could thread this cable through, back around and clamp it to itself. It's important to get a vinyl-coated steel cable, otherwise uncoated with begin to rust (we learned that the hard way!).
He then attached the extension cord to the lights and brought it up the side of the house, securing it with nail clamps along the way.
Dan screwed 3 hooks above the awning of our french doors so we could bring the lights back and forth.
Here's the pattern he did:
He did the perimeter first, beginning with the hooks above the doors along the house.
He then brought the lights down to the first post and zip-tied it to the post.
From there he brought the lights along the vinyl-coated cable, securing it with zip ties in a few spots along the way.
Once he got to the second post and zip-tied it to that one, he brought it back to the first hook on the house, making sure to keep equal slackness as the other side. He brought it back to the cable about 2 feet in and zip-tied it.
He brought it back along the cable and zip-tied it in the middle and brought them up to the house to the middle hook.
From there he brought it along the house to the third hook and back down and in about 2 feet to the cable and zip-tied it again.
I hope this makes sense to you! The main takeaway here is that there is usually a creative solution for stringing lights (or any home decorating) problem. The posts were a huge part of the solution!