How To Decorate Outdoor Trees with Decorative Lights?

This blog is on how to decorate outdoor trees with decorative lights. Festivities are all about decorations. When it comes to decorating, the outdoor lights are the best way to go. Using decorative lights on the perimeter of the roof is one idea, but the option that stands out is to decorate the outdoor trees. Using decorative lights on a wire to light up tree will take your festive decorations to the next level. It will not just illuminate your house on the outside but will turn your house into an attraction during the holiday season. It will be a treat for your guests during the festive dinners.

There are several ways to decorate the outdoor trees and we will look at some of these ideas. The best way to decorate the outdoor trees is to use LED outdoor lights. One can use the simple yet bright yellow ones or multicolor ones to wrap a tree with lights. LED string lights or fairy lights can be wrapped around the trees in several creative manners. Do bear in mind to use lights meant for outdoor purposes because indoor ones aren't weatherproof. Plus, they may run out of batteries too. 

How To Decorate Outdoor Trees with Decorative Lights?

There isn't one or two but close to about 10 ways of wrapping string lights around the trees. During Christmas the trees are all bare, so lights are the easiest way to turn the leafless trees into bright and decorative statues. Following are some ideas on how to decorate outdoor trees with decorative lights-

  • Wrap it around the trunk- perhaps the easiest and the most popular way to wrap light around a tree is to wind it around the tree trunk. This look works best on a thick trunk of an established tree that has many branches. Remember you will require a lot of fairy lights to cover the trunk and the branches. Plus, a lot of patience too. But the end result is worth it. A circular decoration of branches looks absolutely beautiful. 
Wrap it around the trunk
  • Hanging it down the tree- for this look to work you need a large and tall tree. All you have to do is wrap one end of the string lights on the branches of the trees and let the string drop. This creates an illusion of snow falling and looks exquisite at night. Yes, you do need a lot of fairy lights, but it saves you time. The curtain of string lights will brighten up your backyard or the front porch.
  • Go multicolor- you can go past the traditional white and yellow color lights and decorate outdoor trees with different colors like red, blue, green, pink, or purple. For a better look, you can use a red, white, and blue net wrap of fairy lights. This look stands out in the dark, and a bare tree would look gorgeous. Use medium sized trees and bold colors.
  • Mix and match- on the same note, you can mix and match cool and warm lights. For example, if you have a row of medium sized trees, you can alternately wrap cool and warm string lights around them. 
  • Pastel tones- are you looking to create a feature tree with decorative lights? Use pastel color fairy lights. Wrap a tree completely with pastel color lights, and it will stand out in your garden. 
  • Single color lights- if you have a lot of trees and bushes then decorating them completely with a single blue or red, or green color fairy lights would help cover as many trees as possible. Turn your porch or backyard into a blend of bold and pastel colors.
  • Neon green- go past the mundane decorating ideas and use neon green lights to decorate a tree. This will surely be the centerpiece and yet won't look too tacky.
Neon green
  • White lights and snow- in snow-bound areas white is the theme. Imagine decorating a tree that has snowflakes on it with white lights. This classic look is hassle-free and worth every effort.
  • Copper fairy lights- ooze out warmth. If sunshine is what you miss, then decorating a bare tree with copper/silver wire fairy lights will do just the job. They have copper color wires. So, the final look is quite exquisite.
  • Create a wishing tree- how would you do that? Choose an almost bare tree in your porch or backyard. Tie fairy lights on the branches in such a manner that they drop like a fountain. For the look to work, use a medium sized tree. Multicolor or single-color lights, anything can be used to turn a brown tree into a wishing tree.
  • Using candles- no, not the traditional wax ones but the LED faux candles. When it comes to the question- of how to decorate outdoor trees with decorative lights, LED faux candles create the traditional look of a candle-lit tree. The only difference is that you decorate the outdoor trees with candles. The candles won't blow off in the breeze and will not set the tree on fire.
  • Blending the outdoor decoration with the tree decoration- if you have used wreaths and foliage to decorate the house from the outside, use the same elements to decorate the outdoor trees. This look will give a well- thought-out theme to your overall outdoor decoration.
  • Use floodlights- if you have huge trees in your backyard, consider using floodlights of different colors to light them up. The brackets can be fixed on the tree branches, and voila! You have an entirely different decoration for the trees. This unique idea requires minimal effort and will highlight your house plus tree decoration. 
  • Hanging lighted ornaments- this idea requires minimal effort and time. Instead of fairy lights, hang huge-sized ornaments fitted with mini-lights. This look will create an entirely decorative factor for your tree decoration. 
  • Hanging lanterns- to create a magical land look, hang lanterns from the trees. Ensure that you choose a weatherproof material. To save money you can use solar-powered light globe in the lanterns. Again, this decoration requires comparatively minimal effort and time.
Hanging lighted ornaments
  • Cascading look- if you are one to devote minimum time towards outdoor tree decoration, then this idea is for you. Simply tie a bunch of fairy lights at the top of an evergreen tree and let the individual strings cascade down the tree. Little effort and a great look are the mantra behind this option.
  • Festoon lights- the traditional filament style bulbs when wrapped around the tree branches look breathtaking. This is a year-round look. It is yet another effortless outdoor tree decoration idea. The warm white LED lights look welcoming and ooze out warmth.
  • Cheery tree design with lighting- this simple idea involves lighting up only the branches of the tree and not the trunk. Cover all the branches with lights without leaving any gaps. Try this on a medium sized tree, and this may turn into a feature tree on your backyard or porch.
  • Christmas tie with LED lights- yes, you read it right. We are talking about LED lights on a tie. The classic or the bow tie can be used as decorative lights on a tree. This is a totally out-of-the-box idea!

So, this was our list of ideas on how to decorate outdoor trees with decorative lights.

Tips for Hanging Lights from Outdoor Trees

Now that we know the umpteen ideas for decorating outdoor trees with lights, let's take a look at some things to bear in mind while hanging the decorative lights-

  • Choose the right tree for the kind of lights you plan to hang from it. It is best to pick trees that will stand out when decorated with lights. Large trees mean more lights. So be prepared to purchase lots and lots of lights.
Tips for Hanging Lights from Outdoor Trees
  • Before you start hanging tree lighting, test each and every string of light. Treat this tip as a pre-requisite. You do not want to end up doing all the effort only to realize that the lights do not work.
  • Use a ladder wherever necessary. Do not be too overconfident. If you think standing on the ladder will help you achieve better results, then use one. Make sure that the ladder is standing on an even and firm surface.
  • To keep LED lights from falling, secure the string lights or any other type of lights with planting tape wherever you deem necessary. 
  • Remember, trees are huge, even the medium sized ones. You may feel you have enough lights to decorate the trees, but it's best to purchase more and keep them in reserve. To get that magnificent look you will need boxes full of lights.


How long does it take to wrap a house?

The entire process can take anywhere between two to three days approximately. It actually depends on the size of the house.

Why you don't put Christmas lights on Palm trees?

As it turns out, Christmas lights on palm trees can be harmful to the tree. It may appear beautiful, but the heat generated from the lights can harm the delicate limbs of the palm tree. 

How do you put lights on a tree outside?

Putting lights on a tree outside involves the following steps-

  • Begin by selecting a tree you feel would look best with lights hanging or wrapped around it. If it's a big tree ensure that you have enough lights for it.
  • Next, test all the lights you plan to hang on the tree.
  • At this point, you can join all the tested strings together to make one big string light.
  • Place an outdoor extension cord at the base of the tree. Ensure that the cord has GFCI (ground-fault-circuit-interrupter) protection. Since the cord is used outdoors, it must be protected against shock hazards.
  • Plug one end of the string light in the cord.
  • Begin winding the lights around the tree. Ensure to keep an even gap between the wraps to get that symmetric look.
  • Once you reach the top of any limb, wind down the string light overlapping the upward wraps to maintain the look.
  • Once the lower branches are wrapped with lights, use a ladder to hang lights on the higher areas of the tree.
  • Secure the end of the string by tucking it into the crook of the branches or use planting tape to keep it in place.
  •  Plug the extension cord into an outlet and switch on the lights. Your project is as beautiful as it can be. 

How many lights do I need for an outdoor tree?

There is no one answer to the question. It involves some calculation. Begin by measuring the circumference of the tree trunk and the branches. Decide on the spacing you need between each wrap of the tree. To arrive at the total length of the string light divide the tree height by the space between the wraps. Multiply this with the total circumference. 

For 6 feet or more high trees, you need at least 15 meters of string lights or about 300 bulbs. 

What kind of Christmas lights are best for outside?

There are several types to choose from. Starting from LED lights to mini lights, rope lights, strawberry bulbs, globe lights, and incandescent lights work. You can arrange these in any fashion you like. Mix and match with different colors to get that beautiful and elegant look. 

Final thoughts

With new ideas flooding the market every year, there are several ways to decorate outside trees with lights. There are a plethora of choices when it comes to the type of decorative lights you want to hang. Select the trees you want to highlight with the lights, and then work on the type and manner in which you want the lights to look.