Easily Hang Outdoor Patio Lights Without Nails

patio string lights

Patio lights can make a world of difference to your outdoor space. They immediately signal to all of your guests that you care about the ambiance of your patio.

However, it’s not always obvious how to hang them up (especially if you have a siding material like stucco). You may be tempted to reach for a box of nails, but hold on!

Before you do something you might regret, read on. I’ll tell you how to hang outdoor patio lights without nails!

Use Gutter Hooks

For at least one side of the lights, you can use gutter hooks to hold the outdoor string lights. These are S-shaped hardware you can purchase at any home supply store (our favorite decorative ones are here).

You can hang one end from the lip of your gutter, and thread the string light through the other end. Voila! No damage to your walls.

Use Adhesive-Backed Hooks

Just like with gutter hooks, adhesive-backed hooks can help you hang outdoor lights without using nails or drilling holes.

However, you don’t hang these off the lip of a gutter or other surface. Instead, you either peel the back or apply adhesive to the hook and pin it onto a flat surface.

If this will be a temporary arrangement, I courage you to use a cleanable adhesive. Our favorites are the Command Outdoor Light Clips!

Wrap The String Lights Around Trees

You can use any trees in your yard as impromptu light stands.

While it’s perfectly fine to do this, you’ll want to make sure to shift the lights regularly. You want to avoid having the string lights grow into the tree (trust me, this can happen).

You can choose to drill directly into the tree, but be careful not to permanently damage it.

Use A Glue Gun

Cleaning up gobs of glue is drastically easier than patching nail or screw holes.

For that reason, I often reach for a glue gun when no other options are available. You’ll want to make sure you use enough hot glue to actually hang the light.

Additionally, you’ll need to hold the light for as long as it takes for the glue to dry. It may be a bit of a pain, but it’s a completely effective way to hang outdoor patio lights without nails!

Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Hot Glue Gun

Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Hot Glue Gun

This is the glue gun that the Captain uses. It’s cheap enough and will go a long way to hanging most types of outdoor lights. Be sure to replace the glue sticks with acrylic glue. Acrylic is much better suited to outdoor use than the alternatives.

String The Lights Along Your Fence

One idea to avoid nailing holes in the side of your house is to simply string the outdoor lights along your fence. You can easily use finishing nails in the wood and wrap your lights around them.

This can be fantastically effective and provide great ambient lighting in your outdoor space.

string lights
It’s unclear how these folks hung their lights, but they sure look pretty!

Can You Hang Lights On Stucco Without Nails?

Yes, you’ll definitely be able to hang outdoor lights on stucco.

I would be extra careful using adhesive-backed hooks, though. Using an adhesive on stucco increases the likelihood of damaging the surface. If you want to ensure that your exterior isn’t damaged, stick with using gutter hooks.

Can You Hang Outdoor Lights On Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is a bit more resilient when it comes to adhesive, so you can use all of the options I’ve presented. In fact, a fantastic no-drill vinyl siding hanger can be found here for cheap!

Vinyl siding also has the advantage of coming in pieces, which is beneficial if you do end up damaging one.

Can You Hang Outdoor Lights On Brick Without Screws?

You should be able to use adhesive-backed hooks or hot glue when hanging outdoor string lights on brick.

Please avoid drilling directly into the brick or mortar, as this can permanently damage the surface. Brick is beautiful (not to mention expensive) and we should want to keep it intact!

How High Should Patio String Lights Be?

Always be careful hanging patio string lights along people’s walking paths. Small, thin strings of outdoor lights are difficult to see when not turned on.

You don’t want to be responsible for someone clothes-lining themselves! It’s hard to tell you a definitive height, considering it largely depends on the height of the tallest person on your patio! However, 9-10 feet is a good rule of thumb.

Why 9 to 10 feet? It’s 4-5 feet taller than an average-sized human being. The lights will naturally hang down and sag over time, so you’ll want a bit of breathing room.


I'm Chuck (the Captain). I'm passionate about my outdoor space and love sharing my experiences with the world at large. I want Captain Patio to become the best place on the internet to find, share, and learn about all things patio-related. When I'm not keeping up my content schedule, I'm spending time with my wife and two kids (usually on my patio!).

4 thoughts on “Easily Hang Outdoor Patio Lights Without Nails

  1. Pingback: Easily Add Another Porch Light With Solar-Powered Fixtures | Captain Patio
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