The Do’s and Don’ts of Patio Lighting

There is nothing better than spending a warm summer evening outside. Fresh air, maybe a little bonfire, but that’s not all that your lazy evenings need. Patio lighting can make or break your patio vibe.

Related: 6 Summer Cleaning Tips Everyone Must Know

While the thought of just putting up some lights seems like an easy task, it can quickly turn a project from beautiful to bad. The wrong lighting can not just dull the mood but can also make for bad pictures. And that’s not even counting the struggle of hanging them up.

Shine Window Cleaning is here to save your backyard with this handy little guide that covers the Dos and Don’ts of patio lighting.

Shine team member with ladder.

What Bulbs Should I Use for Patio Lighting?

There are many different types of bulbs that you can use for your patio lighting setup. Because there are many sizes, colors, and styles, this task can easily become overwhelming. First, let’s start with the two main types of bulbs used in patio lighting.

LED Bulbs

If your main concern is wattage, then LED bulbs will be the best choice for you. They are extremely energy efficient because they use about one-tenth of the power of traditional bulbs. Consequently, the low power allows you to connect multiple strands without the risk of maxing out the power limits. This style of bulb is perfect for long-distance projects such as running lights from your house across the yard.

Incandescent Bulbs

These bulbs are traditional light bulbs that many people grew up with having. They offer a soft light with a tranquil glow. This leads to your outdoor space being perfectly cozy and warm. The filament is visible in these bulbs, even in some of the tinted ones. These bulbs use a lot more power and work best in shorter lengths.

Patio Bulb Do: Do feel free to swap out Incandescent bulbs with LED if you don’t feel like swapping all of them out at once. You can easily reuse the same strings with the LED bulbs. Just make sure they are the same size.

Patio Bulb Don’t: Don’t mix the types of bulbs. LEDs are brighter bulbs that offer vivid hues are a dramatic contrast to softer incandescent bulbs. While both have their place in lighting your patio, mixing them in the same areas just doesn’t look good.

What Size Bulbs Should I Use on My Patio?

While it’s easiest to buy your bulbs and string at the same time, sometimes you either want to switch them out or replace the bulbs. Because it can be even more annoying to buy the wrong size, here are some of the differences in the sizes of the most common patio bulbs.

E17 bulbs have a base that fits within sockets that are 17mm wide and are smaller. In comparison, E26 bulbs are the standard household size and will fit sockets that are 26mm wide.

Pro Tip: If you aren’t sure, you can easily measure your socket or base with a standard ruler with millimeters.

Are you looking for someone to help set up the perfect patio lighting? Shine Window Cleaning service also can help you hang the ideal lighting and help you choose the equipment you need. Now serving the Dallas and Austin area of Texas.

Colored Patio Lights

When it comes to colored bulbs, there are three common finishes that they come in, and each can help inspire different feelings. Choosing a display that fits the event’s atmosphere can be an essential part of choosing your lights.

Satin Finish

Because these bulbs offer an elegant glow, they are trendy. They can be painted or custom colored to pair perfectly with your event. Satin finish patio bulbs are perfect for:

  • Lights to create a romantic yet sophisticated ambiance
  • Draped across a garden party mixed with soft pastels and vintage designs
  • Suspended across a small pergola

Frosted or Opaque

Because these frosted globes produce a clean, fresh light, it allows design themes to shine. Try frosted bulbs to:

  • Hang white opaque lights alone to highlight patterned fabrics or elaborate designs without the worry of colors clashing
  • Multicolor opaque lights can add a fun lighting element to a party
  • Mix opaque bulbs to create a themed holiday lighting to host your friends and family

Related: Hanging Halloween Lights and Decor: Be the Best On the Block


Because transparent bulbs allow light to shine bright, these bulbs are perfect for parties. Some great ways to use transparent patio lights are:

  • Mix perfectly with almost all styles from boho to modern
  • Multicolor transparent bulbs are essential for party light
  • Sophisticated events require chic lighting
Shine truck outside of house.

Whether you plan on remodeling your patio with new lighting or have a special eventShine of Westlake and Shine of Dallas is here to help you take the stress away. Let our professionals help you out !

How To Hang Outdoor Lighting

Depending on where you plan on placing these lights, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Related: Best Time to Take Down Christmas Lights and How to do it Safely

Hanging Patio Lights On Trees

  • First, measure the distance from the tree to where you want to hang the lights. Tightly hung lights give more structure, while looser ones feel more casual.
  • Pre-drill holes on the trees where you plan to hang the lights.
  • Install a hook at the marked spot.
  • Thread the string lights onto the hooks.

Deck Rails

  • Measure your string lights and run the entire length of the deck railing.
  • Staple the lights under your railing. Don’t puncture the strings.

Pro Tips:

  • Even if you don’t have trees, you can still attach lights to your home as long as you are placing the wall anchors onto things made from stucco or wood. You can also mix hooks and staples as you hang lights.
  • Keep your socket spacing in mind when you plan your design. Because this small amount of planning can help ensure that your accounting for brighter or dimmer lighting.
  • Have some extra extension cords around to ensure that you always have a plug handy.

Final Thoughts About Patio Lighting

Now you have everything you need to know to get started lighting your patio for any event. With these simple lighting dos and don’ts, you will have the best lit party.

Would you rather focus on more fun things like catering or shopping for centerpieces? Shine Window Cleaning doesn’t just clean your windows. They can help you set up and install the perfect lighting for your patio. Now serving the Dallas and Austin areas of Texas.



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