I was visiting with a friend today and I made a passing reference to net lights (what a shocker!). She made a little face and complained that net lights were just a little too “uniform” for her. See, in her neighborhood all the hedges are nice and striaght and every Christmas everyone installs their net lights and there are rows after rows of perfect hedges.
Seems my friend is a bit of a rebel. As part of the same conversation, I mentioned pink mini lights and pink C9 lights and the idea that she could have a completely pink house this Christmas made her eyes light up with anticipation. (We were conspiring that she and her daughter could surprise her husband and son with their all pink decor!!)
Well, I had a small solution to her net light concern. Net lights are just the best way to decorate a hedge, hands down. Especially in clear mini lights. Each bulb is laid out in a precise grid and the set takes approximately 30 seconds to install.
If you find all that order disconcerting then try the following: Instead of just one set of net lights, buy two. Throw the first set over the hedge then throw the second set offset by a couple of inches over top of it. The gridlike pattern will be minimized and you’ll have 300 mini lights in a some odd 24 square foot area.
I could see her eyes light up at the prospect of having all the convenience of net lights with the massive over the top look that she always spends hours and hours on ever November. Her words: “I like to wrap and wrap and wrap each branch of the hedge”.
I’m starting to wonder how the hedge manages to withstand all that Christmas lights affection.
If you decide that net lights are not the way to go because you want to do your entire house in purple, pink, teal or yellow (net lights are commonly only manufactured in traditional Christmas colors – red, blue, green, and clear) then here are a couple of tips to help you adorn your shrubs:
1. Since Christmas lights can only be run 3 sets to a single run before you have to use another extension cord, consider choosing the longest strands that you can get your hands on without going overboard. Consider 4 inch spacing since that is the most common and easily accessible distance between mini lights available on a set. For large tree trunks, you might look at 6 inch spacing. I like the sets that have 100 mini lights per string with 4 inch spacing because they give you 33 feet to work with.
2. Make sure your hedges are all trimmed up so that you don’t have pokey branches messing up all your hard work. This advice is strictly for folks in the deep South who don’t experience much winter. Or for our South American readers 🙂
3. Roll the lights up like balls of yarn before you begin installation. The principles here are the same as they are for yarn. The sets will stay better organized and you will be less likely to knock a bulb out – which will begin your search for the open socket when half the set refuses to light.
4. Consider installing the lights at night so you can see all your empty spaces and correct as you go.
(Be safe – don’t do this if you live in the hood like my neighborhood used to be 10 years ago. Use your good judgement.)
5. Use a modified figure 8 to install the lights on your greenery. The figure 8 pattern will help disguise irregularities and make holes less likely. Just bob and weave…
Most of all, have fun. Some folks like neat and tidy nets, other like the cacophony of chaos. Pick an all one color theme or go crazy with multi or mix it up – it’s all good and fun at Christmas time.