Outdoor Rope Lighting Ideas

Last Updated on May 30, 2021 by The Tutor

Outdoor Rope Lighting Ideas

Outdoor Rope Lighting

For many homeowners, lighting may not be your top priority when decorating or renovating your home. However, we believe you should really focus on it. Proper lighting will make your home more inviting and more appealing than ever. Lighting may increase the value of your home too, and that’s something we all want.

Outdoor rope lighting will help you to highlight the important aspects of your home’s exterior and give attention to strategic areas. Rope lighting also serves a functional purpose as it also can provide lighting in areas where illumination is needed for safety purposes.

Rope and string lights are among the most popular choices at the moment, so start with them first. If you’re looking for new backyard rope lighting ideas at the moment as well, here are a few options you should take into consideration.

In this article, we will take you through the various uses of outdoor rope lighting, how to shop for rope lighting, and also some installation tips.

Rope Lighting for Your Deck rope lighting for a deck

If you’re lucky enough to live in a house that has a deck, you need to do whatever you can to make this space functional. This is where you can spend time with your family and friends, throwing parties and hanging out. That’s why your deck deserves your attention, especially if you want to be able to use it at night as well.

One of the things you could do is add outdoor rope lights to your deck railing. This sounds like a hard project, but it’s actually easier than you can imagine. All you need is enough rope lights and some basic mounting hardware.

Depending on the size of your deck and the length of your railing, you can install these in a matter of minutes and enjoy your deck’s new look straight away. What’s even better is opting for colorful rope lights that will make your outdoor area nicer and more appealing than ever, inspiring you to spend your free time there every day of the week.

LED Rope Lighting Can Illuminate Your Walkway walkway rope lighting

If your backyard features a walkway that takes you from point A to point B, you need to make sure it’s properly illuminated. You can use string lights for that, as well as solar lamps or other options that are inexpensive and work just fine. But, if you want to make your backyard classier and more appealing than it’s ever been, you just have to use LED rope lights.

Adding rope lighting to your walkway is just as easy as installing them on your deck railing. You’ll just need lots of lights, as well as some U stakes that will help you attach these to the ground. Keeping your rope light in place is vital for maintaining the perfect look of your backyard, so try to keep these as stable as possible.

Illuminate Your Patio Umbrellas with LED Rope Lighting

Every outdoor space needs an umbrella for sunlight protection, and yours is no different. This is particularly true for people living in hot regions with lots of sunny days, as well as people who love spending several hours a day outside. That’s why umbrellas, pergolas, canopies, shades, and other forms of protection are a must. But, besides protecting you against too much sunshine, these could also make your outdoor area more beautiful.

Attaching your rope lights to a patio umbrella sounds hard at first, but it actually isn’t. Just make sure you have enough rope light and that it’s attached tightly. You could even opt for those amazing protective shade sails that cover a massive area above your patio or deck and install rope lights on them. This way, your outdoor space won’t just look wonderful, but it will also be safer and more protected.

Rope Lighting for Your Trees Outdoor Rope Lighting for Trees

If your backyard is full of trees, you could illuminate them using rope lighting as well, and turn your outdoor area into the best party scene in the world. From trunks to branches, your trees could look rather amazing, especially if you work on the color setup too.

When you illuminate your trees and branches, it gives a holiday feeling to your yard. You will see some homes use this technique solely during the holidays, but there are ways to use rope lighting on your trees all year to bring an added light dimension to the exterior of your home.

Outdoor Rope Lighting For Your Stairs rope lighting for stairs

If you have a deck or a patio in your backyard, you probably also have a few stairs leading to these areas. Deck stairs are great for illuminating too and will add even more style to your exterior space. You can use lots of different options – solar lights, candles, and lots of other things – but keep in mind that rope lighting might be one of the more practical ideas.

How to Choose Outdoor Rope Lighting

Before you purchase rope lighting, carefully consider how you plan to use it and what your installation process will be. Your choice in outdoor rope lighting will partially be about the ease of installation.

Type of Rope Lighting outdoor rope lighting

You will have a choice between LED rope lighting and incandescent rope lighting. This should not even be a choice in our opinion. You choose LED rope lighting period. It will last longer, it will use less energy, and it will be much cooler. Read our article on the pros and cons of LED lighting.

Length or Rope Lighting

The last thing that you want to do is purchase rope lighting that is too short. This is why you really need to carefully plan out your outdoor rope lighting project before making a purchase. Buy enough to more than cover the area. Strategically purchase lengths that can cover each section without having to cut or waste any of the lighting.

If you have a lot of lighting to do outside, then you can buy rope lighting in a large roll that can be cut at marked spots. You will then need to purchase the various end caps and power connectors for the installation. It sounds like a bit of a process but it is not hard and in the end will be a more cost effective method.

Ability to cut and splice

The rope lighting that you purchase should have the ability to be connected to another string or can be cut to size. This will provide you with the opportunity to make the rope light fit perfectly. Not all rope lighting has the ability to be connected to another set or can be cut. Shop carefully for this feature.

Rope Lighting Diameter

Outdoor rope lighting typically comes in two sizes (diameters), 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch. If you are going to illuminate the base of a rock wall with few turns for example, then you may want to use 1/2 inch. This could also work with a walkway.

However, if your application requires some tight turns and twists or if you prefer the rope light to be less conspicuous, then you would go with the 3/8 size.  The 3/8 rope light is also going to be lighter and easier to install. This will be your size choice for most outdoor rope lighting applications.

Rope Light Bulb Direction or Orientation

The light bulb orientation refers to the direction in which the light is shining. It will either be directional (with the light pointing outside of the rope light tube) or omni-directional (with the light pointing to the next LED light). The directional will provide more outward light. It is good to understand this difference and look for this when making your purchase.

Outdoor Rope Lighting Accessories

Your outdoor rope lighting project will need either U stakes to hold the rope to the ground, or clips which will hold the rope light to wood deck rails for example.

One overlooked and rarely mentioned accessory that is needed for many outdoor rope lighting applications is zip ties. They come in many colors and sizes and they are an effective and inexpensive way to attach the rope lighting to tree branches or even your patio umbrella.

You will likely need to purchase a series of extension cords at some point. Shop carefully for this too because you want to make sure you are purchasing a cord that is meant for outdoor wet weather and also one that is not so easily noticed.


Once again, it’s all about getting properly organized and making sure you have enough rope lights at your disposal. You’ll also need some U stakes that will keep these lights in position. In the end, don’t be afraid to play with different colors and shades, because that will only make your backyard even more interesting and inviting.

Using rope lights in different areas of your outdoor space sounds rather difficult at first. However, the fact is that this is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to add a ton of charm to this space. Be bold and be creative, and be sure to experiment with different ideas and combinations that are cool and exciting.

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