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A Guide to Decorating With Outdoor Lights

Lighting Types and How-To Help for the Holidays

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Whether you are planning an outdoor holiday lighting display, are considering replacing your old incandescents with LEDs, or are in the dark about the various types of light strands available, we've got it all mapped out to make it easier for you. Learn about the energy-saving benefits of LED lights, the differences between net and rope lights and how to wrap a tree trunk with festive lighting for Christmas or any occasion.

How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

measuring for hanging xmas lights
Photo &copy Lisa Hallett Taylor

Perhaps you're a new homeowner, or have never bothered to learn the correct way to install strands of outdoor lights for the holidays. Wait -- there's a correct way?

Learn the do's and don'ts of hanging lights from your home's eaves, rain gutters or anywhere, along with the tools of the trade.

How to Wrap Trees with Outdoor Lights

wrapping tree with lights
Photo &copy Lisa Hallett Taylor
Outdoor and holiday designers and decorators have seen the light and they aren't returning to the dark side anytime soon. One is simply not enough--soon every trunk, branch and limb that resembles a tree gets wrapped and lighted for the annual outdoor holiday display. Naked, leafless deciduous trees get dressed up with lights, creating interesting forms against dark December skies.

Find out the right way to wrap a tree with holiday lights, along with the necessary tools and supplies to get the job done.

The Best LED Christmas Lights

Photo &copy Lisa Hallett Taylor
Whether you're a first-time holiday decorator or a seasoned Santa, it's time to use LED Christmas lights. And to help you decide, here are some of our top picks for LED Christmas lights. Get glowing!

The Best Places to Hang Your Lights

little rock holiday lights
Photo &copy Amanda Galiano
A traditional strand of holiday lights along the roofline of a house look fine, but there are other parts of your house or yard you might also want to illuminate. Follow our suggestions for a dazzling light display.

 

How to Decorate Cactus With Lights

Lisa Hallett Taylor
The idea of wrapping prickly cacti in light strands may seem challenging, but it isn't really all that difficult. Learn from the landscape designer at Ethel M Chocolate's Cactus Gardens, which is just outside Las Vegas and presents a spectacular light display in its cactus and succulent garden every holiday season.

 

What are Rope Lights?

picture of red led rope light
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
They look like thin tubes of neon, outlining windows, doorways or wrapped around porch columns. Rope lights are easy to use -- but what are there best applications?

What are Net Lights?

picture of philips led xmas net lights
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
During the holidays, net lights can be a tree or shrub's best friend. Before LEDs came along, the old-fashioned incandescent were known to keep a shrub or two warm during those long, cold winter evenings. They can be a great asset for those of us who are time- and skill- deprived, too.

What are Icicle Lights?

picture of led icicle lights box
Photo &copy Lisa Hallett Taylor
Those lights that look like frozen icicles dripping off a roof are appropriately known as icicle lights. Learn about their history and where to use them.

 

10 Reasons to Switch to LEDs

picture of led icicle lights
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
Do you really need convincing that now is the time to switch to greener, more energy-efficient LED holiday lights? How about 10 strong reasons?

 

How to Recycle Lights

america recycles day logo
Photo courtesy of Keep America Beautiful

LED light strands are clearly the smart way to go, but what do you do with those old Christmas lights? Don't throw them in the trash!

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