Patio Light Project Completed

At least part of my Sundays are usually spent like this

I prep Mason jar salads for hubby and myself for each day of the upcoming week.  I've actually come to enjoy it - methodically chopping and employing a mise en place method with each different element in its own little bowl - it's almost cathartic.

Yesterday I used up some of the ingredients from my mac 'n' cheese this weekend to make a squash casserole.  

I'm so excited to have completed a project today that I've been mulling over for months now - patio lights!

I posted an inspiration board a couple weeks ago for this space, and finally things are falling into place.  We've used this patio only a handful of times, as its lack of lighting was prohibitive for doing anything but stargazing.  I can't wait to entertain out here this fall!

I went back and forth awhile on how to secure the bases, but finally decided I wanted something ultimately moveable in case we want to set up a banquet table in the yard for an event or play cornhole after dark.

Budget won out when picking out the bases - I got black plastic pots from the garden center of my local home improvement store for cheap.  I covered all the drainage holes with duct tape (while I watched Hocus Pocus, natch).

I used two 50-pound bags of Quikrete for the 6 bases, 1/2" metal conduit as the upright supports for the lights, and plain ol' white PVC pipe to stand in the middle of the concrete base.  The interior diameter of the PVC snugly fit the conduit, so I can insert and remove the conduit uprights and store everything under the deck out of the way when we get tired of looking at it.

I cut the PVC pipe to the same height as the plastic buckets and affixed them temporarily with duct tape to hold them in place.  Then I (with help from hubs) troweled Quikrete in the bases, making sure the PVC stayed upright - this was my biggest fear, that they'd get bumped and end up at a wonky angle.  They stayed pretty straight!

I painted all 6 metal conduit uprights with black hammered Rustoleum and used the whole can on this one project.  I ran out short of finishing, but it's good enough for me.  They don't need to be perfect, I just didn't want super-shiny silver poles sticking out like a sore thumb!

To affix the lights to the poles, I used these neat little conduit hangers for under a buck apiece.  They're perfect - they're adjustable, and the edge opposite the screw is the perfect place to clip the lights on.

Everything technically works, however, I may need to go back and pour a wider concrete base for each pole.  They are fairly sturdy as-is without being too topheavy, but as you can see in the Instagram photo below, a couple of the poles are leaning (which is alright since I have them propped up against a wall).  I only affixed the clips as high as I could reach on my tippytoes, but they're so easy to change the height of.  So definitely if I decide to put the lights higher on the poles, I may want to consider adding a wider base of concrete for more stability.  Plus, I need to play around with the spacing of each base - that might solve my problem, too.  All in all, I'm so pleased with how it came out, and the whole project (lights, quikrete, poles, bases, clips, and paint) was well under $100!