Exterior Christmas lights can boost your holiday spirit and make your home the envy of the neighborhood. Read on to learn how to safely hang your lights this holiday season.

Safety First

Be sure to use UL-approved extension cords specifically made for outdoor use. You also want to choose Christmas lights that are rated for indoor/outdoor use. Carefully inspect your lights to look for damage. Frayed cords are a major no-no; even one faulty strand can be a safety hazard that can also ruin your entire design.

Choosing Lights

Many people are surprised to learn that white lights can be different colors. LED lights usually have a bluish tint, while incandescent bulbs have a slightly orange glow. If you hang them next to each other, they will look oddly mismatched. Light colors can even vary based on their age and manufacturer. With this in mind, it’s generally best to make it easy on yourself by buying all new lights instead of trying to match old bulbs with new ones.


Choose the right day. Ideally, you should select a mild winter day and hang your lights in the mid-morning hours while there is significant daylight left to burn.

1. Test your lights: Even if your outdoor Christmas lights are brand new, they still need to be tested before you get started. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of time and effort hanging your lights only to find out that they don’t work when you turn them on. Lay out all of your lights in the garage or another dry spacious area and untangle as necessary. Check each light to make sure there are no shorts or burned-out bulbs.

2. Attach your clips. Carefully inspect your ladder to make sure it’s in working condition. Ideally, you should work with a wood or fiberglass ladder since metal ladders are capable of conducting electricity, which introduces the risk of electrocution.

man hanging christmas lights3. Attach your clips. Once you have verified that all of your lights work as expected, go ahead and affix your light clips. To securely affix exterior Christmas lights to your gutters, use a quality all-purpose light clip. These work with virtually any kind of light. You can hang the lights pointing down or up; just make sure they are all facing the same direction. If your house doesn’t have gutters, you can use your clips to affix lights to your roofing shingles instead. In most cases, all you’ll need to do is flip the clip around.

4. Measure and hang. Measure your home to determine how many light strands you will need. Double-check to make sure you have enough strings of lights to reach your exterior outlet. Once you’re ready, begin at the highest point and work side to side and then downward. Finish with bushes, shrubs and railings.

If you plan to hang lights in a tree, consider using a quality light-hanging pole. These convenient tools are especially appealing to people who prefer to stay off ladders.

Extra Tips

Always be sure to secure your lights tightly while being careful not to damage the wires. Avoid using nails and staples to secure your Christmas lights since this increases the likelihood of damaging the wires.

If you’re concerned about having cords running across your yard, consider purchasing power stakes. Choose stakes with timers and remote controls, so you can easily manage your lighting. Some timers even come with light sensors that automatically activate at dusk

While you’re on your ladder, take the opportunity to inspect your roof. Look for loose shingles and inspect the flashing. When left unnoticed, even a tiny leak can lead to significant damage. Over time, you could end up with structural rot and mold infestation, as moisture enters the interior of your home. This can be a major issue, especially if the leak exists for some time.

Many people are surprised to learn that mold damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair. With this in mind, it’s best to take every opportunity to evaluate your shingles. You should also have your roof inspected every year by a reputable local roofer who can identify potential issues and repair them before they evolve into costly problems.

At RMPS Landscaping in Castle Rock, we offer a wide range of landscaping services, from stonework to plants, hardscaping, sod, trees and whole-scale landscape renovations. Contact our experts to learn how we can help turn your boldest vision into reality.

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