Decorated Holiday Garden

By Steven V. Philips –

Remember hanging up there with them? Usually starting in November but maybe even October. Or worse, they’re still hanging there from last year?

Hanging up what, ask you? Strings of lights along the eaves of the house, and/or branches of the trees, on small bushes or the dog’s collar. And wherever they were, usually some were not on.

Back in the Edison ages of Holiday décor, lights were 7-watt frosted bulbs in the shape of faux-flames. Those little beauties burned hot enough to be real flames and sometimes actually did char the tree. They kept the local volunteer fire department sober and on alert.

Next came the smaller 4-watt bulbs. No decrease in fire calls.

Onward to the tiny cooler little bulbs that, when one burned out, it was time for a new string? Usually within 12 minutes after you hung them up. Every year a new set. And now we’ve got L.E.D.s, with piercingly bright COLORS!!. Las Vegas in your yard.

So next you’re outside, stringing the lights. Where’s the outside plug? Ok, plug it inside and keep the window open a crack.How many extension cords? Soon, 110-volt electric spaghetti. Now you’re swaying on the ladder to hang up the stuff. Joyous festive communications with the spouse on the ground directing? OK, yelling. Then, there’s post-holiday-mortem, taking this malarky down. In January? Or February? Or never?

Ta-dah! I bring ye non-alcoholic Holiday cheer to save your beleaguered situation. Small bills accepted, as henceforth your fear of the daunting annual performance vanishes.

Vanishes, I say. Plus your neighbors will be impressed with your creativity and the result will get you the Best on Street Award for 2012.

Anyone who can tie a knot can do this. OK, well, a bunch of knots. Installation is from the ground, or at most from a stepladder. And economical to do Santa, despite this being the Season of wretched excesses.

So first, off to Bigestmart to buy a bevy, as we say at the Pole, of 100% plastic, unbreakable, shiny spheres in the 4” and 6” sizes. Plain. No designs if possible. All colors. Just very shiny.

Next, you need a ball of string. Cheap and thin. Cotton is fine, but polyester will last more seasons. I use white string as I want the hanging line and globe together to be a design statement. You could also use fish line and then the globes will appear to float mid-air. Either way, but for a non-angler, fish line is the b-word to knot. Whichever, cut four foot, five and six foot lengths. Per ornament run one piece of string thorough the holding loop and tie the ends together in a square knot. If you make your knot around a metal “S” ornament hanger, this’ll give you a hook to hang them more securely.

Next hang ’em up, Dan-oh. Random colors. Hither and yon. The photos are of a gum tree but this idea works with any tree that spreads out with its’ branches five or six feet above the ground. Maple, oak..?.  X-nay on giant redwoods. The different line lengths, combined with varying heights of the branches where hung, makes for random final hanging levels just below the tree canopy. Leaves or no leaves. Fantastically simple for fantastic effect in the daylight, which electric lights don’t do. (Note that I don’t miss much.)

For your after-dark max-fantasmo effect, buy three or four of those $4.50 outdoor (waterproof) bulb-holder fixtures and screw in 60-watt floods (not spots). Spread them around under, and point them up at, your shiny Holiday solar system. I hide my fixtures in flower pots so you don’t see the light source, only the light from an invisible source, bouncing off of the ornaments.

And then the air moves everything slowly around, giving an even more fantastic effect…Ergo, your life is not risked and the effect is very festive, night AND day. Happy Holidays!


  • My plastic globes are still pretty shiny after three seasons. Started with 24 and now I’m up to 40 and I have probably another 40 in reserve. But I keep them up only Thanksgiving to New Years.
  • Colors? Red, blue, gold, green, purple and silver. Mix is more merry than mono.
  • If you do two sizes, randomize. But I prefer the 4”.
  • Would urge polyester string over cotton where you get rain/snow/ice, poor things.
  • A square knot is the “left” strand over the “right” strand and then the right over the left.
  • The metal hooks allow you to wrap tight around the branch in case of wind.
  • Best part of this is that you never have burned-out blank spaces!



7 thoughts on “Decorated Holiday Garden”

  1. As always reading helpful hints with Mr. Phiilips dry sense of humor puts me into a good mood.
    Even in the NE this is a great idea…lights are not buried under snow and remain ther until spring.

  2. These are very good ideas and we have taken all the advice on
    board……..A.J. cheated, he had an electritian put lights all
    over this beautiful pear tree, everyone sees it when they drive in,
    BUT when he went to put them on last week, no lights!! so Mr. Electric had to return………your ideas are sooo much better.

  3. So simple but yet so creative. Based on my big box store shopping this week, I think I’ll need to plan WAY ahead and purchase some globes in October for the holidays. I’m sill a light lover but might incorporate the globes. Ho Ho Ho

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top