One of the most fantastic elements of the holidays is all the glimmering, shimmering, brilliant lights, and you can create your own Christmas light show in your very own yard. These tips from Christmas Night Inc. outline how.
Sketch an Overview of Your Yard
Creating a rough yet accurate sketch of your yard gives you a bird’s eye view of how much room you have to work with. It also provides a working draft of all the different areas you want to cover. Once you have an overview of how much space you want to fill and elements you want to light, you can more easily assess how many larger light displays and what type of backdrop lighting will produce the most dramatic effects.
Choose Your Main Lighting Displays
Outdoor Christmas light displays come in a huge variety of options, so it’s important to have a central theme in mind so your Christmas light show has a unified look. Some of the most striking choices include wire-framed displays with lit outlines depicting:
- Santa Claus
- Wreaths and Poinsettias
- Holiday Greetings, such as Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
Large light displays often come in animated versions, which is a fun option to consider for even more pizzazz.
You can find lighted displays that measure anywhere from 6 feet to 68 feet wide, with the size you choose depending on the size and layout of your outdoor space. A smaller yard may do fine with a single, 6-foot Santa Claus LED light display, for instance, while a larger yard could use that same Santa as part of a larger display that also includes a 6-foot lighted snowman and a 12-foot lighted Christmas tree display.
Choose Your Backdrop Lighting
While your larger outdoor Christmas light displays will be the most prominent stars of your outdoor light show, you still want to provide backdrop lighting for the greatest impact. This involves strategic placement of outdoor Christmas light strands, light globes, rope lights and other smaller light fixtures.
Outdoor light strands always look keen outlining doorways, windows and outdoor wreaths. Rope lights look particularly gorgeous wound around the trunks of bare trees, while strands can be draped throughout bushes and evergreens.
Globe lights can be placed in darker areas that could use a brilliant boost, while laser projector lights can add a splash of vibrancy and color throughout large areas of the yard. Lighted icicles dangling from the eaves or tree branches can add another intriguing element. Landscape mesh lighting features small LED bulbs on a piece of mesh that can be laid over shrubs like a blanket. Whatever lighting you choose for your yard, make sure it’s rated for outdoor use.
Add Your Lighting Elements to Your Sketch
Go back to the initial sketch you made of your yard and indicate where each light display and different lighting element will be placed. This lets you ensure you space out the displays and lights in a uniform way to create a robust light show.
It also lets you determine what other supplies you may need before you head outside for the installation. Pay particular attention to the length and amount of extension cords you may need to ensure every lighting element has a power source. Use only outdoor-rated extension cords, and connect no more than three strings of lights to a single outdoor extension cord.
Use Safe Installation Techniques
Once you have your sketch and supplies ready, it’s time for the big installation. Before you begin to haul everything outside, plug in all your different light strands, displays and other elements to ensure all of them are in working order.
Several additional do’s and don’ts for installing outdoor Christmas light shows include:
- Don’t use tacks, nails or metal staples to secure any outdoor Christmas lights.
- Do use insulated hooks for light strands, and string lights tightly enough to avoid being blown off by the wind.
- Don’t hang decorations on light strands. Give them their own hooks secured to a stable surface.
- Don’t tap into your house’s feeder line to power your outdoor lights. Choose
- Do make sure all larger light displays are firmly secured to avoid wind damage. Either insert them directly into the ground or use a floor stand to display them on a solid, flat surface.
Another big must is to ensure your main source of power comes from a GFCI outlet. GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter, and it shuts down the circuit if there’s an overcurrent. If you don’t currently have a GFCI outlet, you can have one installed by an electrician for future displays. In the meantime, you can purchase a portable GFCI plug that fits into your regular plug to provide protection.
Make it Easy to Manage
One final step after installation is to make your amazing light show as easy to manage as possible. Rather than having to manually turn the outdoor light show on and off each day, consider using an outdoor timer. Since you want to shut off the lights each night when you go to bed, you can set the timer to align with your bedtime to automatically shut off your display.
While creating your own Christmas light show does take some planning and work, the results are always worth it. With hundreds of lights and eye-catching displays shimmering throughout your yard, your display is sure to instill instant holiday spirit in everyone who passes by. Check out the light displays at Christmas Night Inc. for inspiration any time.