Adding lights to your patio/garden area is an easy way to make your outdoor space more inviting. It might seem a little bit intimidating to buy a bag of concrete mix, but it’s really not difficult to make these DIY garden posts! The hardest part is getting the posts home in your car. There is absolutely nothing better than sitting outside on a summer night under the warm glow of lights around the patio.
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Supplies for DIY Garden Posts:
4″x4″ pressure treated posts (at least 10′ long)
Gravel (enough for a couple inches at the bottom of each hole to prevent the post from rotting)
Quick-setting concrete (one 50-lb. bag for each hole; we used Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix in the red bag which is only $6 per bag and sets in just 20-40 minutes)
Post hole digger (you can buy one for anywhere from $20-$50, but I would recommend that you get one with a fiberglass handle since they’re way more durable)
Post level (definitely essential!)
4×4 Post caps (these are the super-cute copper ones that I got from Amazon)
Outdoor wood glue
String Lights (I bought mine from Ballard Designs years ago, but here is a link for similar ones on Amazon)
Brackets to hang baskets/lanterns/etc. (I don’t remember where we got ours, but here is a link for similar ones)
Hanging baskets (I got mine from Wayfair, but here is a link for a similar one)
Timer for string lights (this one is amazing! It has a sensor so that it turns on at dusk and will stay on for a set amount of time after turning on)
Instructions for DIY Garden Posts:
- Decide on your post placement
- Dig holes with post hole digger. Dig to a depth of 2.5 feet, and a diameter of about 10-12 inches. Technically you are supposed to dig a post hole to a far enough depth so that 1/3 of the post is in the ground (For example, a post that is 6′ above the ground should have 3′ below the ground). However, we decided that for us a slightly more shallow hole would work since these posts are not holding a lot of weight compared to a fence post.
- Cut your posts to proper height if needed. We chose to have the top of our posts 7.5′ above the patio.
- Stain posts with desired stain. If your post caps have any unfinished wood, you will want to stain them at this point as well.
- Add a couple of inches of gravel to bottom of post hole (this will prevent the bottom of the post from sitting in water which can create rotting issues)
- Place post in post hole and make sure it’s square and level (use your post level)
- Put on your respirator mask (you don’t want to breathe in the concrete dust!), then add the Quikrete powder to the post hole. It’s best to add it slowly all the way around the post, otherwise the pressure of the concrete mix can shift the post out of position
- Add water and mix with a stick. I think we added about one gallon of water per 50-lb bag. We really just jabbed it around for a little bit to let the water get down into the concrete powder. It’s really not a huge deal if you don’t mix it completely since the concrete powder will draw in water from the soil until it has just enough.
- Using your post level again, double check to make sure the post has remained square and level thoughout the previous two steps. You only have a few minutes where you can actually move it so be sure to do this right after you add the water!
- Repeat for each post hole, then let the posts set. I let mine set overnight until I did anything else with them since I was paranoid about making them crooked, but theoretically you should be able to start using them in less than an hour.
- Add post caps. I used a little bit of wood glue to attach them.
- Add hooks. First drill pilot holes, then screw in the hooks. I installed mine 2 inches below the bottom of the post caps.
- Add string lights! I used a zip tie to attach the string lights to keep the line taut and prevent sagging. The first year we had the string lights I didn’t secure them with zip ties and they sagged down to an awkward height. If connecting more than one string, fold the cords back on themselves and secure with zip ties to keep the spacing the same between all the lights.
- Install timer for lights. I absolutely love this timer! It turns the lights on automatically at dusk and you have a few different options for how long you want the lights to stay on for (for 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, or until dawn). Even if we’re gone and we don’t have time to sit outside, it makes me happy just to see the lights on when we get home at night! It looks so beautiful!