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5 Easy Tips for Hanging Outdoor String Lights from a Pergola

Check out these easy tips for hanging outdoor string lights from your pergola for a beautiful ambiance in your backyard all year long.

Do you love the look of outdoor string lights?

Yes?? Me too!

I’d love to hang lights everywhere…

on my patio…

by the pool…

on my deck…

in the trees…


But I think my backyard would soon resemble a carnival if I started stringing them everywhere, don’t ya think so?

Plus, I can’t imagine how much our electrical bill would be with all that lighting.

So, since I can’t possibly hang them everywhere, I keep it simple and string them from the pergola on our patio.

That’s the perfect spot in our backyard to add a bit of glowing ambiance.

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Pergola with Old String Lights

outdoor pergola on patio with old string lights and sofa sectional under structure surrounded by trees

We’ve had our patio pergola decorated with inexpensive string lights that I bought a few years ago from Michaels.

And they were fine…really they were just fine.

They gave a nice subtle glow to the patio area at night.

But when AQLighting reached out to us and offered to send me brand new lighting for my pergola I jumped at the opportunity.

Not that the old lights weren’t ok but just wait until you see the after photo with the new lights.

How to Prepare Area for Hanging Backyard Lights

metal pergola before outdoor string lights are hung on patio with trees behind fence

The first thing I did was take down the old string lights.

We bought this metal pergola several years ago from Lowe’s Home Improvement and there is another similar option here.

It’s been a great addition to our patio.

And it provides some shade from the hot North Carolina summer sun.

If you need even more sun protection see how Anne added shades to her wood gazebo here.

hand holding scrub brush cleaning metal pergola

After the old lights were down I gave the pergola a good cleaning with a scrub brush and soapy water.

The structure has held up great for years but if I’m being honest I’ve never cleaned it before and it needed to be cleaned.

I think I’m actually going to need to paint it in another year or two.

But not today!

Today we’re hanging outdoor lights!

box of new patio lights sitting on short ladder on patio outside

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I didn’t need many supplies for this simple DIY project, so I just grabbed a small step ladder and the lights and went to work.

Be sure to measure the space where you will be installing your outdoor lighting.

Our metal pergola is 10’x10′ so we installed 2 strands of giant globe and 4 strands of small globe string lights.

You don’t have to do this many strands but if you can the results will be amazing!

Just wait until you see them lit up.

Tips for Hanging Outdoor Lights

close up of power box plug in for outdoor string lights

The light sets from AQ Lighting came with this adapter so that I could plug in two strands to our electric source.

Then, I used Velcro to secure it to the metal support beam (you can see it behind in the above photo).

Unfortunately, we don’t have a power source out on our patio but that’s okay we can fix that!

My husband laid an outdoor extension cord from the outlet under our deck and along the outside of our patio.

Then he threads it through the fence at the far corner of the patio.

close up of extension cord connected to string lights hanging on metal pergola outside

I plugged the extension cord into that power pack at the top of the back corner post of the pergola.

If you scroll up to the photo of me cleaning you’ll see that ugly orange extension cord hanging loosely from the pergola post.

Don’t worry we found a trick to hide that too!

close up view of metal pergola post with extension cord zip tied to post on patio

A zip tie!

How easy is that?

Instead of just letting it hang down loose and blowing in the wind…if there’s wind strong enough to blow an extension cord. LOL

I secured the cord to the post with a cable tie.

It looks so much better since you can’t see the extension cord at all unless you go behind the outdoor sofa sectional.

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?!?

How to String Lights on Pergola

close up on large globe shaped light bulb on string lights hung from pergola view of pool beyond patio

Our old string lights were hung on the top beams of the pergola by weaving them in between each beam since they were lightweight.

I installed the new small string lights the same way going above and under each cross-support beam.

But, when I tried to hang the larger lights they were much heavier and hung a bit too low.

Plus, I wanted to stagger the giant globes but since the spacing between the bulbs was fairly long they were lining up one behind the other as I was hanging them.

I knew that wouldn’t work so, I stepped back to figure out a way to hang the larger bulb string lights and still look great!

overhead view of top of pergola with outdoor string lights hanging on pergola on patio

I decided I needed to wind the giant globe light strands around the beams to tighten the slack in the cord and get the big light bulb to line up correctly.

Also, hanging the wire for heavier bulbs over rather than under the cross beam when I was able to lift the lights higher.

close up of hanging backyard lighting on metal pergola

Once I decided to wrap the strand around the beam it was super quick to finish hanging all the lights and install the bulbs.

When two light strands connected and plugged into each other I just wrapped the cord around and tucked the plugs at the top so they would be less visible.

view of pergola on patio with outdoor hanging string lights with globe shaped light bulbs in different sizes

Hanging the smaller lights first helped me stagger the giant bulbs over the pergola area and get the spacing right.

The combination of two different-sized bulbs on the new string lights looks so good together, doesn’t it?

I like that it’s so unique!

Now are you ready to see the lights turned on?

New Outdoor String Lighting

view from behind top of metal pergola with hanging string lights in different sizes outdoor furniture on patio area fenced in


Don’t they look awesome?

I’m so happy with how the new lights upgraded our patio pergola.

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patio with outdoor furniture in early evening trees surrounding patio pergola with string lights

The new outdoor string lighting provides so much more light than the old ones did and the quality is much better too.

As it gets darker in the evenings you can really see how much brighter the AQLighting strands are in comparison.

The LED Edison light bulbs give a vintage look without sacrificing brightness.

And if you find they are too bright just use the remote dimmer to adjust them…so easy!

nighttime view of metal pergola with string lights lit up on patio above seating area

These hanging outdoor lights took our backyard patio to a whole new level and we just love the results.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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