How to Hang Patio Lights

Transform your patio into an after-dark oasis of ambiance and delight! Nothing sets the mood for evening enjoyment under starry skies like sophisticated yet cozy lighting.

Whether cuddling up with cocktails and conversation, hosting a patio dinner party or simply escaping everyday cares, dramatic lighting enhances the escape and wonder of extended evenings outside. Dimmer lighting supports an intimate glow while festive strings of lights or dazzling pendants ignite enthusiastic cheer.

Let’s dive in this blog to get some ideas for how to hang patio lights!

How to Hang Patio Lights

How to Hang Patio Lights

Choose your patio lights 

Select lanterns, string lights, pendant lights or other styles based on your lighting needs and patio space. Choose lights rated for outdoor use.

Determine mounting locations 

Decide where you want to attach the lights for optimal coverage and ambiance. Look for structural beams, posts, rim joist edges or other places the lights can be securely fastened.

Attach outdoor-rated hooks, eye screws or bolts 

For hanging string lights or pendant lights, attach hooks for hanging cables or eye screws/bolts for direct attachment. Ensure any attachment points can support the total weight.

Attach lights to beam ends or posts 

For beam ends or posts, you can attach the lights directly using weather-resistant zip ties, cord/cable and bolts or screws if attaching metal fixtures. Ensure very secure attachment.

Attach lights to beam ends or posts 

Ensure wiring is properly connected 

For string lights, connect multiple strands together before hanging for longer spans. Seal any connections against weathering and damage.

Test lights before finalizing placement 

Temporarily hang or attach your lights and turn them on to ensure optimal coverage and that there are no blind spots. Make any necessary adjustments to heights or angles before permanent installation.

Apply weather-resistant sealant (optional) 

If attaching lights with screws or bolts, apply a sealant or weather-resistant lubricant to prevent corrosion which could impact the mounting over time.

Apply Outdoor-rated cords/cables (for sliding fixtures) 

For fixtures that slide along beams, attach outdoor extension cords, chains or cables allowing for sliding the fixtures to the desired spot. Ensure cables cannot slide off beams.

Patio Light Ideas

How to Hang Patio Lights

Beam end lanterns: 

Attach weather-resistant lanterns or string lights to the ends of patio beams for a subtle glow. Choose lanterns with frosted or diffused glass for a soft, ambient light. Secure lanterns in place with bolts through mounting holes or eye screws and weather-resistant wire.

Rim joist string lights: 

Line the outside edge of the rim joist supporting the patio roof with outdoor string lights or pendant lights. This provides indirect light throughout the patio space. Attach lights with bolts or screws at varying heights for multidimensional lighting.

Post top accent lights: 

Attach accent spotlights or hanging lanterns to the top of posts at corners and any posts running parallel to the main walkway. Aim spotlights at architectural details, plants or a focal point. Rotate lanterns to wash walls with light from multiple directions.

Beam center pendants: 

Suspend pendant lights from the center of beams crossing the patio ceiling. The angle of the pendant lights will naturally highlight the center of the space below. Choose pendant lights with adjustable cords to aim in different directions. Only attach where beams can support the weight.

Beam center pendants

Under soffit task lighting: 

Attach string lights, lanterns or magnetic pendant lights to the underside of overhanging soffits along walkways. This provides subtle lighting for tasks like finding keys or walking at night without casting shadows over seating areas. Space lights close together for even coverage.

Rope and teak lanterns: 

For a rustic, coastal style, suspend lanterns from ropes threaded between two beams or posts. Teak lanterns with brass details pair beautifully with natural teak patio furniture and surroundings. The angle of the ropes will determine the direction of lighting and patterns of shadows.

Pathway edge lighting: 

Line the edges of a patio walkway with low path lights, cylinder lanterns or string lights mounted at an angle to wash lighting downward. This highlights the path edge without allowing light to spill over onto unintended areas. Choose warm white lights for a flattering glow.

Water feature lighting: 

Cast a subtle glow over a patio water feature including a fountain, pond or koi pond. Use narrow beam spotlights or path lights angled to wash lighting over the feature without excessive spill. A warm white tone flatters the reflections and ambient sounds of the water.


With the right approach and some inspiration, you can bring dramatic beauty and allure to your patio after dark. Whether subtle lighting highlighting cherished moments or festive glow igniting adventure, your patio now shines as a magical space perfect for escaping everyday life.

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