02 January 2011

garden: New String Lights


Lighting is a critical part of the livable, or lived-in, garden. The garden, for me, is all about extra rooms, and they just happen to be rooms outside where we share space with the worms, bugs and other critters.

Here at the Grackle, we've tried to create room-like spaces throughout the garden that we can enjoy at all times of the day and night.

An important component of enjoying the livable garden at night is having light. Not spotlights that glare when they detect motion, nor glamor lights that spotlight trees, but lights that create ambiance. There are so many good ways to create that ambiance, even candles or a fire pit will do the trick.

Our solution for ambient lighting has always been to hang string lights. You know, Christmas lights. And it's worked beautifully. We don't yet have any large trees with sprawling branches from which I can hang other types of lights. Nor do we yet have arbors or pergolas. Even further, we don't have a back porch light at all! Ah, the joys of a house from the 1940s.

The string lights we have been using are from Target, and they've served us well aside from one problem: the fuse in the first plug always blows out because we have too many of the strands strung together. All together, they pull too much electricity from the outlet and thus blow the fuse and that melts the plug. That's scary and dangerous, actually.

I had been talking to my engineering-inclined brother about this issue, and he obviously had his Christmas gift ears pricked. I relayed to him that I've never been able to find the nice, commercial-grade lights that I see in restaurants about town.

Oh man, am I so happy with this gift! My brother found just the lights I've been looking for at oogalights.com. And they are fabulous.

Just installed them today, with a minimal amount of blood and cussing. The light they give off is warm, yet substantial, and I love that I can see the glowing filaments within the clear bulbs. Super nice.

Whoo hoo! I'm ready for the next warm winter eve!

15 comments:

The Whimsical Gardener said...

The right kind of lighting adds such a nice element to an outdoor room - very nice choice...your brother has good taste!

Janine Robinson said...

what a HOT tip! love the warm glow and size of the bulbs. the web site looks great. mind if i ask exactly what type you have?

Tina Poe said...

Lovely lovely lights! What a great idea to get you at in the garden in the evenings.

RClippa said...

That is the 50' starter kit in the commercial lighting section. They have all sorts of bulbs for them and you can even add a dimmer to make it more adjustable.

Lee, I am really glad you like them. I hope you get many enjoyable Austin nights under them.

Pam/Digging said...

Very nice! We installed this type of lighting in our former garden and liked it so much we took it with us when we moved. In fact, we just put up a second strand over the upper patio.

You can find this commercial grade string lighting at The Light Bulb Shop on Burnet Road. They carry extra bulbs too.

Mamaholt said...

OMG you are TOO good to share the link. I've been looking too as we have strands and strands and strands of Cmas lights. I do love them too, but oh, the blow-outs are so frequent and irritatin. OFF to shop!

Mamaholt said...

Pam, they DO? Ooo, maybe I'll go there instead. Thanks!

string led lights said...

You've done a great job there. String Led Lights are a quick and easy way to brighten up anywhere in and around your house, they also look great out in the garden like this.

Budget Lighting said...

The lighting you made are wonderful. It adds beauty and grace to the surroundings. And gives more beauty the plants around too.

Anonymous said...

SO awesome. I have a few questions :) I checked out oogalights.com and these look similar -- are they same as what you have?
http://www.oogalights.com/Starter-Kit-48-Commercial-Linear-Light-String-Strand-Medium-Base-Black.aspx?LineItemId=088d962d-38fb-4b81-ac75-e8f025e07849

It's advertised as 48' not 50' and actual socket unit near where the galvanized wire runs through it looks different -- it has ridges to make it more bendable I'm guessing (and sorta looks like a microphone on each side), where yours don't have that, or at least you can't tell from your pictures. You can see that detail here: http://www.oogalights.com/Business-Industrial/Electronics/Commercial-Linear-Light-Strands/48-Foot-Kit/LSM48BLK-KIT-Starter-Kit-48-Commercial-Linear-Light-String-Strand-Medium-Base-Black-002.jpg

Either way, I love whatever you have!

Also, did you purchase the galvanized wire from oogalights.com too, and how did you attach them to your house (as seen in the one photo)? Thanks! :)

Dale said...

Nice thank you

Allison Shallenberger said...

“An important component of enjoying the livable garden at night is having light.” - Exactly! It’s not only an important aspect to enjoy a livable garden; proper lighting at night also has a very important role for growth of plants. There are specific lights for growing of plants; these are commonly called grow lights. For example, if you choose blue lights, it can help boost the leaf growth of certain plants, whereas red lights encourage flowering and/or yielding of fruits. ->Allison Shallenberger

Joe said...

These look great. So as not to confuse people, installing these lights (as seen) involves the A. string of lights, and B. a galvanized wire to provide more stability to the wire. Regarding a previous comment...you can pick up galvanized wire at your local big-box hardware store. When all else ask at the store, and they'll help you. Mind you, you don't need to use the wire, but I'd recommend it to add more stability to your string of lights. Installing your galvanized wire is pretty easy, but it will reqire some minor tools to attach it to the outer points in the yard/building. I'd encourage you to learn how to install these galvanized wires, as there's some other pretty cool uses for them if you use your creativity. Have fun!

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Anonymous said...

Please help joe!

What kind of "minor tools" are you referring to for the galvanized wire? Please be specific. Im attaching lights to the exterior of my shed (wood) & house (Masonary).

Please help..
Eileen