How to Hang Outdoor Patio Lights without Nails?

Outdoor living is a great way to unwind after a long day or relax during summer nights. Patio lights bring your outdoor space to life. They illuminate your patio in a stylish decorative way and create a calm mood.

However, you might be worried about ruining your walls, railings, columns, and other surfaces with nails. But did you know you can hang your string lights without nails?

So, how to hang outdoor patio lights without nails?

Don’t worry! This article is here to let you know of 12 different ways to install your patio lights with zero nails.

how to hang outdoor patio lights without nails

How to Hang Outdoor Patio Lights Without Nails?

Below are useful hacks for installing patio lights:

1. Use Adhesive Hooks

If you’re looking for a simple and mess-free way to hang your patio lights, you can use adhesive hooks. The hooks come with glue ready, so you do not need to apply any glue.

Once you’ve purchased the hooks, all you have to do is peel off the non-stick paper covering the part that has adhesive and stick the hook on a wall in your patio.

The advantage of adhesive hooks is that they are quite strong and pretty – they don’t mess up your decor. Plus, you can remove them whenever you want to without any repairs.

On the flip side, it leaves no room for errors. Once attached to the wall, you can’t move the hooks to a different place. The adhesive will lose its holding ability.

2. Hang the Lights with a Tape

Using tape is a convenient and low-cost method to hang your string lights. You can hardly miss a tape at home.

If you mind about the visible tape, you can use clear tape because it’s less noticeable and rarely leaves residues on the surface. However, a clear tape is not long-lasting.

It loses its adhesive quickly, causing your lights to sag quickly. It’s best when used together with another method as a reinforcement.

On the other hand, duct tape has a stronger holding ability. However, it may leave some residue when you remove it and look unattractive.

3. Make use of a Glue Gun

Hot glue is convenient because you can hang your lights across the patio on different surfaces. It also results in a neat finish and is not conspicuous.

However, you’ll need some patience because you have to hold the light string on the surface where you’re installing it till it dries.

4. Use Gutter Hooks

Gutter hooks are designed in an S shape. One end attaches to the gutter while the other end holds the light string.

You can move the hooks to different positions because they do not fix permanently on the gutters.

However, you can’t rely on this method alone; else, your lights will be centered on one side only.

5. Staple the Light Strings

You can staple the lights if you have a wooden wall, posts, or trees around your patio. Staples are strong; hence they can hold your lights in place for long.

The downside of using staples is that you can’t use them on any surface, and they might ruin the wall because they are not easy to remove.

6. Hang the Lights on Trees

Trees are great for overhead lights because of their height. You can wrap the light strings around a branch so that it stays put or, better still, drill holes and fix hooks into the tree in different positions, then attach your string lights on the hooks.

The disadvantage is that you can’t rely on it alone. You need other methods to keep the string in place and to ensure you have light across your patio.

7. Use the Railing

Railings are a great place to hang lights on your patio. You can wrap the string light around a rail rod or use tapes, adhesive hooks, or staples to pin your string lights on the railing.

You can fix it on a hidden part of the railing so that it’s not conspicuous.

Since railings are not as high as trees or the gutters, they help create a nice contrast for the lights in terms of height resulting in a wonderful ambiance in your patio.

8. Hang the Lights on Bushes

Bushes are a perfect way to hang lights on your patio without using nails. You can use the bushes growing around your patio or buy potted ones, which you can place in different corners of your deck.

To hang the light, wrap the string lights on several bush branches, and there you go, with a beautiful light glowing on your deck or patio.

9. Use Poles

If you have poles on your patio, why not try them to hang your lights? You can DIY poles by supporting them with concrete in a bucket.

The advantage is, you can move it to different positions on your patio.

With a temporary post, you don’t have to worry about ruining surfaces on your patio. You can decorate the bucket with flowers to enhance your patio decor.

10. Attach on the Fence

Another great way to light your patio is to hang lights along the fence.

You don’t need nails because you can wrap the strings on the fence poles or staple them to secure the lights on the wall.

11. Use Roof Beams

If your patio is enclosed, you can hang the lights on the roof. Wooden beams are excellent because you can wrap the lights around the beams, fix hooks, or use staples.

You can use tapes to attach your lights or twist them around the metal bars for a metallic roof.

12. Potted Plants

Plants in buckets around the patio are an option you can consider when hanging your patio lights without using nails.

However, you have to be extremely careful not to damage the plants.

Hanging buckets with plants are excellent for hanging string lights, especially if the flower pots hang at different heights.

How Many String Lights to Hang on Outdoor Patio

String lights are measured in terms of feet or meters. Most string lights are 48 feet (14 meters) long.

To estimate the number of strings you need for your patio, first, you need to picture the pattern you want to make with the lights- straight lines, shape, or zigzag.

Secondly, take measurements of all areas you want the light to cover in your patio or patio umbrella.

Divide the measurements by the length of one strand to get the number of strings you need to buy. It’s important to add an extra string to cater to measurement errors.

How High Should Patio String Lights be?

Apart from lighting a space, patio lights have become a decor display too. Hence, you may hang them at different heights but ensure safety.

Overhead string lights should be around 10 feet above the ground level to allow enough walking clearance.

If hanging on a patio railing or along the fence, it can go lower because there’s no walking below it, and it’s unlikely to trip over.


You can hang your string lights on your patio without using nails and still have beautiful and firmly secured lights.

Whether you want to hang the light on your patio roof, along the fence, or tree to tree, you can combine several of the above methods to ensure your string lights will stay in place without sagging.