9/29/2013: Patio lighting for under $100

Every fall I try to add more lighting in and around the house. Maybe it’s because the days get shorter. Maybe it’s because the Pottery Barn catalog tells me to. But mostly it’s because Management and I can’t be stuck in the house all winter with 2 & 5 year olds. We can’t sit around listening to the kids say HEY MOM! HEY DAD! GUESS WHAT! 500 times everyday.

So this year’s project was to add patio lighting without dropping a ton of USDs. Here’s how it turned out:

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This project is quick & easy you guys. Here’s what you do:

Cruise to Home Depot
Pick up 4 electrical conduit pipes (10′ feet each, 3/4″ diameter)
1 piece of PVC pipe (4-5′ long, 1″ diameter)
4 conduit hangers with bolts (1-2″ long)
4 stainless steel S hooks (1.5-2″ long)
3 cans of Rustoleum spray paint

You’ll need to order string lights from Target, Amazon or Smith & Hawken — if you’re big time. (Can’t find them in stores anymore because they’re out of season.) 2 strings of 20′ or 25′ should be enough.

Start by cutting the PVC into four 12″ pieces. PVC is easily cut with a hand saw. Cut the top of each piece straight so you have a level surface to hammer. The bottom should be cut at angle so it can be pushed into the ground more easily.

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Decide where you’d like each pole to be along the perimeter of the patio. Using a rubber hammer, pound each piece of PVC into the ground – leaving the top few inches exposed. Make sure the PVC is straight into the ground – otherwise pole will lean. (Doing this during the summer or fall is a lot easier because the ground is soft.)

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Attach the conduit hangers to the top of each piece of electrical conduit and put the S hooks (not pictured) through the hole in hanger.

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Spray paint conduits, hangers & S hooks with Rustoleum. Watch your background!

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Drop conduits into PVC. They’re like camo once you spray paint them!

conduits in ground

Attach string lights to S hooks and light it up!

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