DIY Projects

Easy DIY String Light Poles Tutorial

Install easy outdoor string light poles over your patio or backyard fire pit to create beautiful ambiance! They’re quick, inexpensive, and very simple!

Watch the NEW Video Tutorial!

Easy DIY String Light Poles! Close-up of the top of an easy string light pole, and image of patio with patio light poles over it

I asked for a patio makeover for my birthday a few years back, and one of the top things on my wishlist was string lights. The problem? Nothing to hang them from.

Here’s a tutorial for the quick and easy (unless you have really hard dirt) removable string light poles we put in. We put three poles in, and the whole project took about an hour.

Do you have a different setup, like a deck or a covered patio? Check out this post for more methods for hanging patio lights. It covers hanging them from trees, walls, ceilings, deck railings, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Or if you want to make the DIY conduit poles in this tutorial, but don’t want to dig holes for whatever reason, check out this similar project where I used heavy patio umbrella stands instead of PVC as bases.

How to install outdoor string light poles

Now back to our backyard light poles…

Supplies:

  • String lights– I got these sturdier industrial ones. These are 48’ long, with 26 lights per strand.
  • 2 ¾” galvanized electrical conduit pipes (each 10’ long)
  • 2 pieces of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe (each 2’ long)
    PVC Pipe
  • post hole digger
  • hooks
  • Hooks
  • 3/4″ squeeze connectors (one for the top of each pole) Look for these in the electrical section of your hardware store.
  • Easy DIY String Light Poles @jessicawellinginteriors.com
  • Extension cord (We needed one to reach our outlet. You may or may not).

We wanted our poles to be at least 8’ tall to allow for the lights to swag and hang down without hitting our taller friends in the head. They’re going 2’ into the ground, thus 10’ long poles.

1. Dig the holes For the Posts.

We dug (and when I say “we” I mean Peter) each of the holes 24” deep. We placed them at the two outside corners of our patio. Update: We’ve since decided to add a 3rd pole.

close-up of someone using a post hole digger to dig a hole for an in-ground string light pole to hang patio lights, how to string lights across backyard
close-up of hole dug for a string light pole with PVC pipe

2. Put the PVC pipe in the hole.

We placed one of the cut pieces of PVC pipe upright in the hole, and loosely packed the dirt back in around it. You could also use cement here if you prefer.

Need to light a deck, patio, or fire pit? Install easy and inexpensive removable string light poles. I'll show you how.

3. Set the metal pipe in place.

We put the conduit pole into the slightly wider PVC pipe, and I held it in place with a vertical level while Peter packed the dirt in around the PVC pipe.

close-up of string light pole in the ground to hang cafe lights over a patio
DIY string light pole being installed in the ground, hands packing soil in around the base of the PVC pipe in the ground
close-up of hand holding a vertical level next to a string light pole to be sure it's straight up and down next to the patio to hang cafe lights

4. Cap the poles.

Once the poles were in the ground, we capped them with these 3/4″ squeeze connectors. This is just something to hold the light cord in place at the top of each pole.

close-up of the tops of a string light pole, with black cafe lights hanging over a patio

We screwed three of these hooks into the siding to attach the string lights on the house side.

close-up of metal hook installed on the exterior wall of a house to hang string lights over a patio

5. Hang the String Lights.

And these heavy-duty string lights come with the bulbs in a separate box- which is great because then you can string them without breaking anything. I strongly encourage you to wait to screw the bulbs in until after they’re hung!

close-up of emply string light socket hanging over a patio, ready for a light bulb to be inserted
box of outdoor string light bulbs, ready to be hung over a deck or patio
close-up of hand screwing light bulb into socket after outdoor string lights are hung over a deck

Finally, we screwed the bulbs into the sockets.

patio with outdoor dining set and string lights hung from diy string light poles
easy DIY outdoor string light pole hung with patio lights

And ta-dah!

outdoor dining area on a patio with easy diy string light poles and instructions on how to hang string lights across the backyard

You can see the rest of our One-Weekend Patio Makeover here. Interested in more outdoor lighting tips and inspiration? Check out my Outdoor Lighting 101 guide too!

How Are The Outdoor String Light Poles Holding Up After 3 Years?

We installed the first two poles 3 summers ago, and we decided to add a third pole 2 years ago. And I have to say, this is one of the easiest things to set up when we bust out the outdoor furniture and accessories every spring!

We set the posts into the PVC, attach the string light cords, and that’s it. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

Boho patio with glowing string lights hung from DIY string light poles
Easy DIY String Light Poles @jessicawellinginteriors.com
Yield: 1 pole

Easy DIY String Light Poles

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Did you enjoy this post? Please share the love and pin it!

How to Make String Light Poles: DIY string light post at night

More Outdoor Living Ideas…

70 Outdoor Rugs Under $150!

collage of colorful outdoor rugs

Boho Porch Swings Reveal!

2 macrame swings on a porch with string lights

How to Hang String Lights: 10 Different Ways

close-up of a string light bulb hanging with a hand twisting it into place

Similar Posts

28 Comments

  1. I’m so glad I found ur post this was just what I was looking for a simple n cheap project. No cement mixing, no big barrels, just a hole in the ground. LOVE IT. Going to do this tomorrow. Thanks

  2. On the top of the conduit before the squeeze connector you have a sleeve of some sort? What is that?

  3. I thought this was great, thanks. I couldn’t get these squeeze connectors onto the conduit, however. Maybe because I didn’t have the sleeve that yours did? I’m trying to attach it a different way. Also the weight of the lights seems to be bending my pole? I bought some heavy duty lights as well. I’ll keep trying

    1. Hi Dan,
      Thanks I didn’t realize that the conduit doesn’t always come with the sleeve. I’ll make a note of that in the post! Is the pole bending, or just leaning a little? Maybe try swagging the lights a little lower to see if that takes some of the pressure off the pole? Good Luck!

  4. I love this!
    My husband I have been trying to figure out how to do this.
    Thank you for the advice.

  5. Hi, Jess: Wondering. On your patio light installation, how are the posts holding up? Was 24 inches deep enough to maintain vertical integrity on those supporting poles over time? Am doing this now. thx.

    1. Hi Dennis,
      The poles do lean a little bit- though they haven’t changed over the 3 years we’ve had them installed. My dad is doing this project at the moment and setting the PVC in cement. That will likely make the poles stand up straighter. Good luck!

  6. Did you have to do anything special with the hook in the siding on the house? Has it cracked or anything?

    1. Hi Jamie,
      We just screwed the hooks in and that was it… we have Hardy Plank siding, and they have been in there for 3 years now with no problems. But I’m not sure if there might be issues in a different climate?

  7. I am going to do this project, but I have a question. Is there an issue with the poles acting as lightning rods?

    1. Hi! You’re actually not the first person to ask this question. It’s something I’ve never really thought about because we don’t get a ton of lightning here in Seattle. Plus we have 150-foot trees all around. So sorry that’s not very helpful- but I don’t really know. Good luck with your project!

  8. Are the diameters on the poles correct? It seems like the conduit is wider than the PVC – but the pic has the conduit fitting inside the PVC?

  9. Hi! Love this post. Wondering how they’ve been holding up over the years?

    Do you find that the poles are leaning in toward the house? Or have they remained level?

    1. Thank you! They’re holding up just fine- and I think it’s been 3 years now. But they’ve always leaned a bit. If you’re concerned about that, you could try setting them in concrete. My parents just did this, and I’m going to add pictures soon!

  10. I searched for different DIY pole ideas for a while and found this one to be the most helpful! I just completed placing the poles and I did it with concrete! The best part is that I can remove the poles for the winter which is nice.

    Thank you for this!

  11. Hi there. Just wondering what the purpose of the pvc is? Why don’t you just put the pole straight into the ground without it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      It just helps hold the pole in place. I think if it was just in the ground (without concrete) it would work it’s way to a more tilted position. At least it would in my damp climate. You could put it in concrete if you didn’t want to use PVC and didn’t want the poles to be removable though. I hope that helps!

  12. I am seeing comments about a sleeve for the pole. Can you please explain this more? What is the purpose and how can I get it if it doesn’t come with the pole? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lucy, Thanks for bringing this up! I just took pictures of the sleeve today, and I asked my electrician uncle about them. It’s called a rigid coupling. If I remember correctly, the conduit I bought at Home Depot came with this piece already attached. I’m adding a close-up photo of it to the post for you, but I’m going to have to do some more looking to figure out where you can get them. I think you need the coupler to attach the squeeze connector (aka threaded clamp) to the conduit. I hope this helps!

  13. Hi Rhonda,
    I am wondering if you have any pictures of your parents project with the use of concrete to set the PVC pipes. Since I too live in Seattle I wonder if they capped their PVC pipes in winter so they do not fill up with rainwater. If so, what did they use for a cap?

    Thank you for the post!

    1. Hi Birgit! I don’t have photos of their project yet, but we usually bring the poles in and store them in the garage for the Winter months. They just sit in the PVC pipe, so it’s really easy to take them out. Hope that helps! I

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *