People everywhere are starting to get into the holiday spirit. One of the most common ways is by decorating with Christmas lights. An exterior display of Christmas lights can range from a simple strand of white lights framing the garage door to an elaborate display of multi-color lights outlining the entire detached garage and surrounding landscaping. No matter how you plan to decorate the outside of your new garage with holiday lights, these tips will help you hang them with less hassle.
1. You will need a ladder, holiday lights, extension cords, measuring tapes, light clips or hooks, and a hammer. An assistant will come in handy, too.
2. Start by sketching the outside of your garage and determine what you want to decorate – the gables and eaves, the garage and entry doors, windows, landscaping, etc. Indicate locations of available outlets on your sketch. Measure the width and depth of the garage. Have your assistant record the measurements. Measure the height of bushes and trees you plan to decorate.
3. Determine how many lights you will need for the project. Most lights come in lengths of 25-200 lights. Decide on a color scheme for your lights and whether you prefer, blinking, chasing lights or solid lights.
4. Purchase and test lights. Most department stores and home centers carry holiday lights. Buy those rated for outdoor use. They are more weather resistant and usually larger and bolder making them stand out against your garage and landscaping. Test each strand of holiday lights before you hang them. You don’t want to hang all of them only to find some don’t work when you flip the switch.
5. Hang the lights according to your plan. Securely position light clips or hooks at regular intervals under the eaves of your garage so the lights do not sag. Hang them one strand at a time making sure the strands are tightly connected to one another. You may want to wrap/seal them with electrical tape to help keep rain and snow out. This step will require help from your assistant – holding the ladder, holding strings of lights, etc.
6. Light the landscaping. Wrap tree trunks and branches with lights. Wind or zigzag lights through each bush. Wrap lights around hardscape features such as gates, trellises and arbors.
7. Tape down any extension cords so residents and guest do not trip over them.
Other Safety Tips
1. Hang lights on a dry day when it is light outside. It reduces the chance of electrical shock and slipping on the ladder.
2. Make sure your lights rated for exterior use. Interior lights are night designed to withstand the elements such as snow and rain.
3. Check wires for damage to insulation. Throw away any that are damaged. It is not worth risking a house fire just because you tried to save a couple bucks on cheaply manufactured lights.
4. Use plastic light clips or hooks. They are safer for the wires than a staple gun or nails, and they are easier to remove.
5. Use multiple outlets to reduce the load on a single outlet.
1. Considering buying LED lights. They consume 80-90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights and some can last up to 20,000 hours. Also, LEDs are cool to the touch.
2. Use a timer for your holiday lights. This way you won’t forget to turn them off before bed, and you will save energy by not keeping them lit all night.
With these helpful tips, you are on your way to decorating your garage with Christmas lights safely, spreading holiday cheer and doing your part for the environment.