Outdoor Christmas planning, preparation & safety aspects

01
NOVEMBER, 2018

Christmas

After planning our budget based on the type of decorations we want to do, it’s time for proper planning and preparation.

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1. Planning

Just like anything else in life, planning is a must. Every outdoor setting differs in terms of layout and size, and your preferences will vary from those of your neighbors. While you may get some idea from neighboring residences, try to be original. After all, there is no set rule how to go about it, and you can include or exclude anything you like. However, this general guideline will give you some guidance as to how you can go about it. It will be particularly helpful for those who do not know where to start, or what part to decorate first.

So, first things first. The centre of attention in many outdoor areas is the Christmas tree. You will need to decide what kind of tree you will opt for. This generally depends on your budget. Unless you have planted your own tree that can be decorated as a Christmas tree, you may wish to buy a real one and set it up in a key place in your garden or patio. Real Christmas trees come in various kinds and sizes, so shop around and choose one that really suits your tastes. Next, you will need to decorate it with lights and decorations. Once your tree is all set you should then move on to the most extensive task of all outdoor decorations – the lights!

You can find more information on how to pick the right Christmas tree size at http://yaman.startflyjobs.co/christmas-tree-size.

There is no Christmas outdoor decoration without lights. Lights give that unique ambiance and you just have to invest in various kinds of lights. These will range from string lights, light-up decorations, and net lights. You need to make sure that your outdoor area is properly lit. So you will need to start from the pathway or driveway and make your way to the lawn, the doorway, and the house façade. You might be tempted to buy many lights without paying attention to the practical aspects.

You need to examine your electrical outlets as you do not want to overload any power source. It is generally recommended to add outdoor outlets, especially if you do not have any that you can use. You could also string an extension cord from an outlet that is outside, all along your house, or else if you want to use an outlet that is indoors you might be able to string an inside extension cord from beneath a door or window to feed the lights outside.

It is important to take the time to evaluate your outdoor area and determine where you can put lights. From lights on the roof, on bushes and tree trunks and branches in your garden, to spiral lights on any railings or gates, you will be amazed at how many lights you would like to have. 

You will also need to decide on the types of lights you will be buying. Icicle lights are great for the roof, whereas net lights are ideal for the façade or on bushes. Mini lights will be needed to decorate the Christmas tree as well as any other trees. The larger C9 lights can be used to illuminate the pathway, and the perimeter of your outdoor area, unless you prefer to use pathway markers on stakes. Molds or light-up figures look great for Christmas and you will find a vast range to choose from in all kinds of shapes and characters, from reindeers and elves to snowmen and candy cane.

If you do not have much experience hanging outdoor lights, you can find detailed guides at www.partylights.com/how-to-hang-outdoor-string-lights.

Once you have everything planned, you can go shopping for the lights. Try to choose lights with colors that work well with one another, and make sure to buy lights that are suitable for the outdoors. Then you can start putting them up! This will take quite some time, but it will all be worth it. Besides these types of lights, many choose to put up a nativity scene with a floodlight on it for maximum effect, as well as a projector to give off animated lighting onto the house façade.

In many outdoor Christmas decoration projects, you will be having one or more inflatable decorations. Before buying such decorations, which by nature tend to be quite bulky, make sure to measure the space/s where you intend to place them. Plan where each decoration will go and avoid putting too many as this will make your outdoors look overcrowded and it will detract from the beauty or value of each decoration. It is important to choose the locations for inflatable decorations carefully. You do not want to place an inflatable decoration within close proximity to a tree where there are low hanging branches, or any sharp objects close by that could tear it. Secluded areas are best so as to avoid the negative effects of wind. When inflating these decorations make sure that you position the base properly and spread the fabric flatly so as to ensure a smooth inflation throughout. Close any fasteners, zippers or vents properly. If the inflatable is equipped with air intake at its bottom make sure that it is clear from any obstructions. When the inflatable decoration is inflated it is best to make use of stakes to anchor it well.

Finally, you can then decorate the smaller elements. Typically these are left for last as they do not require that much effort or time. These include the finishing touches, such as the wreath and garland to the front door, placing the doormat, decorating the mailbox and other smaller titbits that will finish off your beautifully decorated outdoor area for Christmas.

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2. Practical necessities for your outdoor decorating

You are definitely going to need multiple strings of lights. You need to plan where you intend to hang the lights, and measure up those areas, so that when you go shopping you will have a good idea of the length of string lights you will be needing. Consider string lights to line the house, to decorate the trees and to have lights along the pathway or driveway.

If you have bushes then web or net lights are a good outdoor decoration to bring them to life.

The size of your lawn will dictate how many lawn figures or statues you would like to decorate with. The bigger your lawn is, the more you are going to need, and they should ideally not be too small as otherwise, they will not be noticeable. Be it just a nativity scene, or several Christmassy characters scattered on stakes across the lawn, make sure you plan well so as to nicely decorate your lawn.

While still discussing lights, you will need to consider how many extension cords you will be needing for all the lights you intend to install, as well as for any light-up figures.

You may wish to invest in light timers so as to save up on some energy costs.

The wreath for the front door is an absolute must!

A nice bow or ornament for the letterbox is another essential decoration!

A holiday doormat of course!

Window decorations. Add up all your front windows and consider what decorations you plan to place at each one of them.

A Santa on the roof. These are very popular and if your budget is not an issue this is another must-have decoration. Santa in a sleigh will need to be well anchored down to prevent any problems that could arise when it is windy.

One or more inflatable decorations. These are really becoming a must-have due to their affordability and practicality. They are easy to set up, and since they are large but so well-priced, many homeowners opt for them when decorating their outdoors for Christmas. Plus, they are much loved by children!

Last but not least, the Christmas tree, either real or an artificial one suitable for the outdoors. And of course, lots of decorations for it, and lights. As a general rule of thumb, you will need about 100 lights for every foot and a half.

You can find more information on Christmas decorating essential checklist at christmas.365greetings.com or www.realsimple.com.

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3. Safety aspects

On a final note, we would like to draw your attention to some safety tips you should bear in mind when decorating your outdoors for Christmas. Do not let the Christmassy spirit make you forget about the importance of staying safe.

  • Never use any nails or metal staples when securing Christmas tree lights outdoors. The best option is insulated hooks.
  • Always use outdoor-rated extension cords.
  • As a general rule of thumb, it is best to never connect more than three strings of lights to an extension cord.
  • Only purchase outdoor lights that have been tested and verified for safe outdoor use by a reliable testing lab such as UL and ETL.
  • All outdoor string lights should have built-in fuses on their lines.
  • All plugs need to be connected into a GFCI-protected outlet.
  • Do not place any lights too close to gutters which might get filled with dried up leaves and lead to fires.
  • Outdoor lights will need to be strung tightly so as to avoid damaging them when the wind is a bit rough.
  • Whenever possible opt for solar-powered lights as they are the safest of course!

As you can see there are countless ways and means to decorate your house’s outdoor area for Christmas. The options are endless, and you can find something suitable for whatever your preferences and budget might be. Not to mention different DIY decorations you could prepare yourself too if you have a knack for that! What is most important is that you plan ahead, give it your personal touch, and stay safe!