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How we did it

    How we did it: Hanging dangly lights over the deck

    October 22, 2017

    When we first moved into the house back in June, we made a “home wishlist” on Amazon filled with items we wanted to someday buy for the house. It had little odds and ends: door knobs, light switches, security cameras and dangly lights to hang over our back deck.

    In August, we received a surprise package from Amazon containing those very dangly lights. Martin’s mom had sent them for my birthday. And with that we had a new project and decided to come up with a plan to hang them.

    Martin first started by taking measurements of our somewhat oddly shaped deck and mocked up several “plans” in powerpoint. We wanted to install them permanently so they’d remain strong four seasons and we’d never have to take them down. We’d also have to install posts for them to hang on. The lights we received were 48 feet long, so Martin du mmied out a few layouts to help us to decided where to install posts and hooks on our house.

    We also considered buying another strong so they could cross the deck more times.

    In the end, we went with a simple “Z” pattern, involving two posts and two hooks on the house.

    We waited for a cooler fall weekend to begin the project and headed to Lowes to gather our supplies. After a dicey ride home with two 10-foot posts hanging out of my Honda Fit, we were ready to begin with the following items:

    1. Our 48-foot string of commercial grade lights
    2. Two 10-foot 4×4 pressure treated posts
    3. Six bags of Sakrete 50-lb fast setting concrete mix
    4. One bag of all-purpose gravel
    5. Four stainless steel eye hooks
    6. A bag of black zip ties
    7. One string light hanging kit, purchased from Amazon
    8. A post hole digger, borrowed from friends

    Martin started by digging two holes about 30″ deep, 10″ x 10″ wide.

    We then added a base layer of gravel in each hole, about 6″ deep, per instructions.

    We plopped each post in their respective holes and trimmed a few branches to accommodate them.

    We then continued with following the directions from Sakrete. Using the hose, we put a bit of water in each hole.

    We then filled each hole with several bags of the concrete mix.

    *queue special effects music*

    And we topped both off with more water.

    After about 30 minutes, the concrete had set and we moved to phase two.

    We installed an eye hook on each post and two on the house. Steel wire from the light hanging kit was then strung across the deck and secured. Using the steel wire removes unnecessary stress on the lights and helps prevent them from sagging over time.

    And from there we simply attached the lights with zip ties, starting lose and tightening them up once we had fitted them along the wire.

    Once they were all attached, we attached the bulbs and trimmed the zip ties. We added an extension cord to the end in order to reach the closest outdoor outlet. We also purchased a smart outdoor outlet so that we can control the lights with our Wink smart home hub. I can’t describe how much I enjoy saying “Alexa, turn on the dangly lights.” So fun.

    And voila, the perfect space to entertain friends!

    We have a lot of goals for our backyard and a long way to go, but I gotta say — it feels so good to have this charming new addition.