More Than 10 Tips to Plan Your Outdoor Christmas Lighting

Are you an avid aficionado of Christmas lighting - or just want to be the best in your street? Well read on for my tips on how to have the best outside Christmas lights for this year's yard decoration.

1. Start early. This is the most important step. The most successful displays in your street have been planned for more than a year, probably the planning for next year starts when this year's lights have gone up. Here are a number of advantages to this, you have time to ponder your design, and make the most of any off season purchasing.

2. Plan, think and plan some more! Choose your theme; plan your layout on paper. Think about colors and types of lighting you will use. Do you animated Christmas lighting if so where? Will you need extra power outlets? Are you using bulbs (C7 or C9), LED or solar lighting? They each have advantage. For roof mounted displays, work out what supports are required and how to mount them.

3. Measure everywhere you want to hang outdoor Christmas lights, then add extra to make sure you have enough length of lighting

4. Work out the number of sets you need. This can be affected by the number of lights (and hence the length of the string) in each set. Also take into account that the length of the lights is not the same as the overall length of the set. Do you need any extra power cords, now is the time to work it out.

5. Decide if you need extra power outlets and get a qualified electrician to install them. If power outlets are to be under roof eaves, then consider having a switch installed somewhere convenient. Ensure all outlets outside and extension cables are waterproof.

6. Acquire your light sets; make sure that the light sets for outside use are rated to be used outside. Make sure you have plenty of the right kind of spare bulbs (if using incandescent C7 or C9, LEDs have a very long lifespan).

7. Before installing your lighting test all the sets. Better to find any faults whilst the sets are on the ground.

8. Prior to installing outside Christmas lights check any fixings that you have that may need to be replaced. Make sure you have the fixings you need to attach the lighting, such as screws, nails, clips or a staple machine. Make sure that all cables on the ground are safe( i.e. not laid in water).

9. Plan to put the lighting up early in the season when it is not so cold and busy. This also gives you time to make any adjustments necessary.

10. Ensure you have the right tools to hand, including a helper to hold the ladder.

11. Put your lights up. And enjoy.

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