Have you ever gone for a drive around the neighbourhood in the weeks leading up to Christmas and admired the twinkling light displays but have never pictured yourself climbing a ladder tailed by a train of tangled Christmas lights?
You might already have your work cut out for you this busy festive season but maybe it's time you tried to deck your halls and it might not be as difficult as you might think.
1. Start out simple:
Lighting up trees and bushes as focal points is a good way to start if you are new to Christmas light decorating and want a simple display that will still light up your yard.
2. Stay safe and sure:
Be sure you are using lights designed specifically for outdoor use that will be waterproof (you can find outdoor Christmas lights at Bunnings for instance, which specialises in leading Christmas lighting brands, including outdoor lights by Click, Lytworx and Arlec). Be sure to use the proper power outlet (RCDs or Residual-current devices that will break an electrical circuit to prevent serious harm) and keep extension cords taped down and out of the way.
3. Know what you want and where to put it:
There are all sorts of fairy lights available; however, it is important to know what to do with the right type of lights. For instance, blinking rope lights are great for outlining window and door frames, while net lights are handy for blanketing bushes and trees. But never be afraid to get creative! Rope lights around a tree trunk are just as effective.
4. Make a plan:
Create a game plan of how you are going to tackle your space. Measure the locations where you want to string up lights so you can estimate how many lights you need and how long they need to be.
5. Check for burned-out bulbs before they go up:
Make sure to test your lights to replace any burned-out lights that will drain power from the entire string causing all the bulbs to grow dimmer. Most burned out fuses are caused by moisture getting in the connections, so you can try sealing each connection and loose ends with duct tape or electrical tape to keep everything dry and operating. You do not want to be searching for that burned out bulb afterwards in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-style (fortunately today's lights will stay alight even if a bulb goes out as long as the circuit remains complete).
6. Know how to best attach the lights:
Electrical tape is an easy and efficient alternative to nails, staple guns and hooks that will protect electrical connections and your roof from any damage. Use tree clips or twist ties to attach lights to tree branches.
7. Find a yourself a Santa helper:
Invest in a sturdy ladder and enlist a helper to be your spotter and help untangle lights on the way (keep strings of lights untangled by wrapping them around a some cardboard or a cardboard cylinder).
8. Consider the location of the lights:
If people can only see the front of your house or a part of a tree, save your precious bulbs and work by decorating the visible areas only, Santa is still guaranteed to find your house.
9. Get creative:
Consider outlining walkways, paths, driveways, porch columns, adding signage and garden stakes or a product like laser landscape lighting that works similar to a projector. You stake the light that is attached to a power cord in your yard facing the house and the single faceted globe creates an array of laser pin-pricks that are controlled by a remote with a timer. You can buy these products online or at retailers like BIG W where prices can vary depending on brand (between $170.00- $99.00).
10. Don't overload your circuits:
Being the most dazzling household in your street need not remain a mere fantasy but don't overload your circuits. If other lights in your house grow dim when you turn on the Christmas lights, your circuit is being overloaded. Remember to turn off the lights before going to sleep or leaving the house unless they're connected to a timer.