I forgot to share one last tidbit that really made the backyard re-do complete: the new overhead glass bulb lights strung from the house to the fence over the yard.
In Rachel’s words as she came down the back steps for the first time, frosty beverages in hand, it made the backyard “like walking into a paradise!!!” We had some good friends in from out of town the weekend the lights went up, so they got to enjoy them with us for the very first time.
I got the lights on Amazon after reading a handful of reviews. I was nervous about some of the lights showing up broken — a recurring comment in the reviews — so I ordered an extra box, but they were all intact and well packed. Highly recommend these if you’re looking for outdoor lights. Oh, and I grabbed these connector joints to help keep the plugs protected from the rain and also attached to one another in case the plugs pull apart on a windy day.
(A lot of people string up cable or tension wire of some kind, and then attach the lights to those to keep there from being any resistance on the plugs pulling away from each other, but these were hanging so slack it didn’t seem to be as necessary here. And those connectors should keep ’em together even if they do pull apart, which they haven’t yet.)
For the support poles at the back of the fence, I bought some slender PVC pipe in 10′ lengths and painted each of them with some good Rustoleum outdoor silver spray paint that does a pretty good job of matching the color of the metal fence posts along the back fence. I attached these to the fence posts with some simple zip ties.
To attach the lights, I drilled holes in the top of each pole and inserted a silver 1/2″ eye-hook with a nut on the back to keep it in place. I screwed a small hook just an inch or so into the thick PVC trim around the windows on the back of the house for the other end of the lights. And then I used zipties to attach the light strings on both ends.
It took me about an hour to get the spacing and the length right so the plug hangs right at the edge of the deck to be plugged in (we don’t have an outdoor electric receptacle yet) via a short extension cord out from inside.
The backyard was great before this, with the grass and walkway and garden wall that doubles as extra seating, but this little touch made it so we’re looking for any excuse to go out and sit in the yard in the evenings once the sun goes down. I hope these lights last us a good long time!