Backyard Lighting + DIY Light Posts

Well, it's been over a month since my last post and I wish I could say its because I have been busy working on projects. Unfortunately I just haven't had the time to DIY and blog while working 6 days a week and trying to maintain some sort of a life before summer is over

Earlier this summer, I posted about my patio plans + improvements. I promised myself that I would add lighting to our backyard by Labour Day and I finally was able to do this!

I have been keeping my eye on summer clearance sales to purchase string lights ('cause I am not paying $20-$30 a strand, thanks!). Finally, I found some at Lowe's for $10/strand which I was super excited about. Even at $10/strand I knew I wasn't going to be able to do the entire perimeter of my yard given how many lights this would take. Instead I decided to hang the lights around our patio table area.

With nothing to hang the lights from, I decided to make my own light posts. I bought four 2x2x8s from Home Depot for $2.50 a piece. Rather than digging holes for the posts, I used buckets + cement to hold them. I found steel buckets at the Dollar store (which were $4 a piece-- definitely not a DOLLAR store anymore) and some Quikrete Fence 'N' Post from Home Depot.

This cement is amazing because is doesn't require mixing in a separate bucket and it is quick setting. I simply poured the dry mix around the post in the bucket approx 1/3 full and slowly added water to achieve the right consistency.  Because it is quick setting, you don't need tobalance your post while it hardens. I did use my level to ensure my posts were straight before things got too firm. The directions indicate that the cement sets in 20 minutes but I waited close to two hours to continue.

I painted the poles the same colour as our front porch and back railing and added eye hooks to the tops of each pole, opening them slightly using pliers. Then I started stringing my lights. I would have loved to hang the lights criss-crossed above the patio table but this wasn't possible because of our umbrella. Instead, I simply hung them around the perimeter of the patio stones.

I added bricks to my bucket for weight while I was stringing my lights. 4th bucket not pictured.

I added bricks to my bucket for weight while I was stringing my lights. 4th bucket not pictured.

As I was hanging my lights I noticed the buckets were moving when the posts were pulled by the lights. The buckets did not end up weighing as much as I thought they would so I probably could have used more cement. On the plus side, they will be a lot easier to move around as needed. I was already planning to add potting soil to plant flowers in the buckets so I decided to do this right away to add weight and ensure they would stay in place. I planted some simple fall flowers and drilled holes into the sides of the bucket above the cement for drainage.

Poppy had to get in on the action :)

Poppy had to get in on the action :)

Here is a break down of the supplies and cost;

  • Lights $10/strand x 4 = $40
  • cement = $7
  • poles-4 pieces of 2x2x8  = 10
  • buckets - $16

Grand total = $73

I am very happy with this considering these lights were originally $20/strand so it would have cost more for the lights alone than it did for the entire finished project! Gotta love a good deal :) I also hung an extra strand of lights near the back door and bought a strand of battery operated Edison lights to hang in the tree.

My goal was to have this project completed by Labour Day and I finished it just in time! I am so excited to enjoy my backyard while celebrating the last long weekend of summer! Fingers crossed that our remaining summer nights are nice enough to hang outside after dark :)

Wishing you a safe and sunny Labour Day--CHEERS!!

Jess xx