When you have a structure that’s made of concrete and steel it can be tricky to figure out how to attach, well… really anything. We knew we wanted to do the string lights but it took some creativity to figure out how to attach 2 points of contact on the yard side of the patio without being a pro welder. And attach an additional 3 contact points on the house side without touching the house (don’t want the wind slamming glass bulbs into the house….and I guess…lightning rod?) or having the bulbs drag the shingles.
This whole thing actually started the same day our patio was poured. Blake and I were having ourselves a celebratory wine picnic on the patio that night and we noticed some random wires sticking out the side of the house (not your average house). I don’t know if it was the wine or what but we remembered there was also a switch inside the house we never figured out what went to. Without saying a word we looked at each other and parted ways….Blake to get the voltage meter and me to the switch. “On the count of 3!” aaannnndddd…..we had electricity running to the patio this whole time and didn’t know. What a LUCKY surprise! Blake extended the wires up through some conduit and attached an outdoor outlet to the house to plug our lights into. Anyways, back to the DIY how to.
We went on a couple (what we call) scouting missions to Lowes looking for materials and pricing the project out of hanging the lights. Our phones are so full of different hardware and their various prices we could almost run an independent Lowes website. If you’ve ever wondered what the photocloud of someone renovating a house looks like…it’s this:
Anyways, Blake devised the following plan:
We would attach 8ft. poles metal conduit poles to our existing rails using hose clamps. The hose clamps were rated for the specific weight and pull we thought we would have and we used 3 on each pole for extra security. For the middle portion of the house side we actually cabled them into the side of the house just using a really basic clip (again, high weight rated). If I had it my way they would have hung below the window but we couldn’t let them drag the shingles.
On each pole Blake used a clip to attach the lights to another longer piece of metal we simply dropped down into the pole. We didn’t secure it at all but gravity and the pull to the sides keep it in place.
So the total cost of lighting this whole shebang was $180.94 which I consider a steal to have taken care of all the lighting for our patio.
- 3 boxes of outdoor lights (heavy duty) from Costco =$144
- Poles x4 = $2.30 per 8ft. pole = $9.20
- Metal weights with loop at the top x 4= $3.96/each = $15.84
- Clips= $2.38/each x 5 = $11.90
The only thing we wish we had done was use a stronger metal pole. Ours have bent pretty seriously and it’s just because we used the cheapest materials (however, still rust proof). The stronger material we’ll probably upgrade to one day cost $14.50 each. The poles we have wouldn’t break they just let the lights swag a little….which, who doesn’t like a little swag on their patio??
Speaking of cheap materials (ya’ll, paving a patio and adding a hottub will leave you approximately 5 cents in the bank to finish said patio). We HAD to add a gate for obvious reasons. We still don’t have a railing on the stairs but at least we have a gate, right? Right.
Blake attached a wooden frame to the existing steel railing like so:
He built the frame of the gate itself like any other gate kit would have you do. We wanted the gate to have the same modern feel as the whole structure so we decided to keep that flow. Blake drilled out placeholders for rods to be placed in. We didn’t have it in the budget to buy stainless steel for this project and we also didn’t have time to wait. We actually used PVC pipe and sprayed it with metallic spray paint to mimic the silver of the other railing. Now, up close can you tell something is different? Yes. But from far away we have a darn good fake if I do say so myself. Especially when the sun hits it all (see photo above)…it’s pretty much all blinding anyway.
The latch system we purchased is one of those self-closing ones because with young kids you just can’t take the chance of someone forgetting to latch the gate back…so it’s spring loaded.
It’s our plan to stain that frame the same color we opt for on the wooden accent (trex board) we’ll be adding to the all the rest of the handrail. This should really help the whole thing look less like a prison and look a little softer/still modern.
Progress my friends, progress.
We still need to:
- Add railing to the stairs
- Fix the surface of the stairs
- Add trex accent to the handrail of all railing
- Figure out some privacy screens for the sides
- Replace guest bedroom window with a French door for two points of access (and one closer to the bathroom)
- Need to talk about some awnings
- The whole underside of the structure needs to be sanded and painted (UGHHHH)
That list was daunting to even type. Might be a while before we are working on all this again! The inside of the house is calling 🙂