Decorating trees. There are proven methods for great results.

How do I decorate outdoor trees and bushes? It’s easy!

The first thing to remember is there can never be too many lights on a tree or bush. People love seeing all those individual points of lights!

There are a few tricks the pros use. On small bushes, net lights work well but can easily get tangled up if you’re not careful They provide very uniform spacing of lights… sometimes making the bushes look almost too perfect.

I prefer to use off-the-shelf strings of 100 miniature lights. Hook a maximum of three strings together and start covering the bushes, first in an up and down pattern, then back and forth. This tends to lock the strings on the bushes so they don’t blow.

An important trick when using multiple strings of lights on a bush or tree is to number each string as to go. Attach a paper label to the end of the plug end of the string and use a permanent marker to number the strings sequentially. This makes all the difference in the world when you remove the strings at the end of the season. By removing the strings in reverse order, you don’t get things all tangled up. Tear off the paper label before you put the string back into storage.

Decorating tall trees can be frustrating. If you use a ladder, all your time is spent going up and down the ladder. Instead, get two or three poles of different lengths. You can use old aluminum curtain rods and/or paint roller extension poles found at the home center. The long poles really need to be light weight because they can be tough to handle when it’s windy and your trying to get the end of a string on one certain branch. Attach some sort of hook at the end of the pole and use it to drape the lights in the tree. This technique beats the heck out of using a ladder, keeps you safe on the ground and gives more control where the lights go in the tree. Be very careful of overhead power lines and use common sense. Also remember to label your light strings sequentially and remove them in reverse order.

Another trick is to get a length of electric fence wire and attach a six inch hoop at the end of a light string. Using the hook at the end of your long pole, you can snag the end of the light string easily and drop the hoop on the end of a specific tree branch. I’ll make up a few dozen hoops ahead of time and attach them to light strings as needed.

The last trick to consider is making your own trees.

In the picture at the top of this page, you can see the large aluminum white trees that fold up at the end of the season. The short multicolor trees in the picture above are three legged flower easels wrapped in lights and stacked at the end of the season. These “man-made” trees give you the maximum flexibility when decorating each year and really speed up the putting up and tearing down of your display.

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