When I was young it seemed like we hung everything with nails. I don't know if there weren't many other options, but its what we used. I'm sure there must have been something that wouldn't have required us to hammer a nail into our patio to hang lights.
Today there are many things available to use for hanging patio lights that don't require you to damage your patio like you would with nails. In this article I'll give you the best options you can use to hang your patio lights without nails. None of the options presented require you to make holes in your patio's structure.
Here is a list of some of the things you can use:
- Command Outdoor Light Clips
- Scotch mounting tape
- Gorilla mounting tape
- Gutter hooks
- DecoVinyl siding hooks
- DecoBrick hangers
- Screw in hook
- Notch wood
- Duct Tape
- Suction cup hooks
- Small or large clamps
- Grid wall panel
- Tie Wraps
- Bungee cords
Command Outdoor Light Clips
I'm fairly sure this product didn't exist when I was a kid. Outdoor Command Light Clips are made by 3M. They are advertised as sticking to any smooth outdoor surface. They also say the clips should hold up in inclement weather conditions. When you read about people's experiences, there are mixed reviews.
Some people say these clips are the best thing in the world. Others say they fall down within a day or two.
I have not tried the outdoor clips. I have tried the indoor Command Strips and Clips. They hold up well inside. My biggest complaint is not whether they will hold lights up, but the damage they do when you take them down. Indoors, they rip paint off the wall when you remove them.
I don't think you will have the same problem with paint coming off when you remove them outside, unless your paint is beginning to separate from you patio already. The bigger issue I think you will have is rain, snow, and extreme cold and hot temperatures.
Velcro has been around for a long time. The nice thing about Velcro is you can use it over and over again. Velcro used to make an outdoor light clip, but it doesn't seem to be available anymore.
Velcro does make Extreme Outdoor Strips. These coupled with regular pieces of Velcro will work perfect for hanging lights on your patio. To make this work, stick a piece of Velcro Extreme Outdoor Strips ever 12” to 18” on the area of your patio where you want to place your lights. Then get a roll of Velcro One Wrap tape. Cut 2” to 3” pieces and wrap them around your lights every 12” to 18”. Finally, attach the pieces of Velcro wrapped around the lights to the pieces of Velcro mounted on your patio.
During Christmas time you will see many lights hung on houses. Most of these lights are hung on the gutter or the roof using clips. These clips are usually called gutter clips because most of them have a configuration for hanging lights from a gutter.
Many of these clips also work to hang lights from the edge of a roof by sliding under the shingles. If you have a gutter on your patio you can attach these clips to your gutter and then attach the lights to the clips. If you don't have a gutter on your patio, but do have a shingle style roof, you can slide the clips under your shingles.
These clips can also work if you have a lip on your soffit or fascia. In addition, some aluminum patio overhangs have places where these clips can slide onto.
DecoVinyl siding hangers
DecoVinyl hangers are a great product made by a company called Under The Roof. These hangers work by sliding a metal hook on the back of the hanger between two pieces of vinyl siding. They go on easy and can be removed just as easily.
They won't damage your siding. You can slide them back and forth once they are attached between two pieces of siding. This means you don't have to be so deliberate with where you first install them.
These hangers are also made by Under The Roof. DecoBrick hangers hook right onto your bricks. Your bricks height needs to be between 2 1/8” and 2 5/8” and the mortar needs to be recessed at least 1/4”. They are made of plastic and won't damage your bricks or mortar. They can hold up to 15 pounds. These will work great if you have brick under your patio.
Screw in hooks
Now I know you are reading this article because you probably don't want to nail or screw something into your patio cover. Screw hooks can be a great way to hang patio lights if front or underside of your patio cover has small hole in its design. Screw hooks can be screwed into these pre-existing holes. Get a screw hook that has threads a little wider then the holes and screw them in.
If your patio cover is made of wood, you can put notches in it to work as hooks for your lights. Use a small circular saw. Angle the saw at a 45 degree angle to the wood and cut a notch into the wood that will allow your string lights to rest in it. Once you put your lights in the notch, you can secure it with tape or glue.
I know at the beginning of this article I said none of the options listed would require you to put holes in your patio structure. Notching is a permanent change to your patio structure, but it is not making holes in it. Anyway, I felt I needed to include this one because it is a good idea for hanging patio lights.
Duct tape has many uses. Hanging up lights is one of those uses. This is only a temporary solution. If you need to hang you patio lights up quick because your party will be starting in a few minutes, you can definitely reach for a roll of duct tape.
Before using duct tape, clean and dry the spots you are going to stick the tape on. The easiest way to attach your lights to your patio with duct tape is to tear a 3” piece of tape off the roll. Then stick one end of the tape on the patio cover or pole. Put the string lights against the patio cover and then stick the other end of the tape down so that the string lights are bracketed between the tape and the patio cover.
Doing it the simple way may leave you with a sticky mess in the end. When you put your lights up with the adhesive side making contact with the wires of your lights, you run the risk of some of the adhesion coming off. This can be easy to clean off of your patio cover, but it can be almost impossible to remove from your lights.
A better solution is to tear a 4” piece of tape and a 2” piece of tape. Before mounting the tape on your patio, place the 2” piece of tape with the adhesion side against the 4” tape's adhesion side. Place it directly in the middle so that there is 1” of sticky tape left on each end of the 4” tape. Then hang your lights exactly like the simple taping method, except cup your lights' wire in the portion of the tape hanger that isn't sticky.
Suction cup hooks
Suctions cup hooks work really well on smooth surfaces. They will stick to smooth metal, wood, vinyl, ceramic tiles, and glass. If you have an aluminum patio cover or vinyl siding, you can use suction cup hooks to hang your lights.
We use suction cups in our kitchen sink and shower. When they are placed correctly, they stay on for a long time. They will definitely hold up well in outdoor weather conditions.
S-hooks are great for hanging patio lights. You should be able to find several spots to put S-hooks on your patio. S-hooks are usually made of stainless steel, so they won't rust if you leave them outside.
Small or large clamps
If you don't have small and large clamps laying around your house, you should get some. Clamps come in very handy. Clamps are especially good for hanging patio lights.
On a budget, no problem. You can get something like 3 or 4 small clamps in a bag from Dollar Tree or other discount stores.
You may already have lattice around your patio for privacy or for growing plants. If not, you can get some lattice and cut it up to mount in the corners of your patio cover. This will give you a great place to mount hooks for hanging your lights.
You can also weave your lights through some of the lattice. Then let some of them hang outside of the lattice. Finally, weave it back into the lattice.
Grid wall panel
Grid wall panels are usually made for display racks. They are good for use in your yard to act as a trellis for climbing plants. Grid wall panels can also be used to hang patios lights.
The lights can be dangled from one panel to another. You can weave it through the panel which will keep the lights in place without needing any kind of straps or clamps. Or you could attach it to the grid wall panels with straps and not weave the lights through.
Tie wraps are a good option for hanging patio lights because you can wrap them around anything and they will hold. Most of the other options require a lip or a hole on your patio cover to attach. Tie wraps will create enough tension when wrapped around something that they will not slide down even if placed on a vertical pole.
Another good thing about tie wraps is you can hook multiple tie wraps together to make a longer wrap. You can also loop them together. Doing this will give you the option to hang other hangers from the tie wraps so you can dangle your patio lights from them.
We often use C-clamps to hold things down when we are doing wood working or working on a car. But they can also be used to hang patio lights. You can use them without have something below where they meet the surface of what they are clamp on like a lip or structural screw, but you have to make them tight. You have to make them tight if you are not going to have something supporting them or they will tend to slide. This is a negative when using C-clamps for hanging patio lights because making them too tight could damage the surface they are clamped on. This is especially true if you attach them to an aluminum patio cover.
If you have a lip or something under where the clamp mounts, then you don't have to make them really tight to hold. This is the preferred method for using C-clamps to hang your patio lights.
The best way to use bungee cords to hang your patio lights is to wrap them around a pole with your lights strapped between the cord and the pole. Most bungee cords come with hooks on the ends. You could hook one end of the bungee cord on to some part of you patio cover or house, wrap the cord around your patio lights' wire, and then hook the other end of the cord into your patio cover.
This, though, is not the most ideal way to use the bungee cords for hanging lights on your patio. The reason is bungee cords are very stretchy and will allow your patio lights to move around a lot.
Go hang your lights
As you can see, there are many options available for you to hang your patio lights without nails. Choose one or combine a few to get the best results. Whichever way you go, there is definitely an option for you to hang your lights on your patio without damaging it with nails.
If you would like to hang lights in your backyard and you don't have trees our article on hanging string lights without trees.