How to Hang String Lights in a Backyard Without Trees

There’s just something about sitting beneath hanging lights on a nice summer evening that creates an ethereal ambiance. In addition to being beautiful, hanging string lights provide ample backyard lighting at nighttime and are actually pretty simple to install. Even if your backyard does not have any trees, it’s no problem! With just a little time and a few extra supplies, you’ll soon be sitting beneath the glow of your own hanging lights.

EditHanging Lights along a Fence
Lay your string lights out along the fence where you want to hang them. This will give you an idea of how much length you will need and how many support posts you will need to install. You can lay them on the ground along your fence line or have a friend hold up one end while you hold the other to mimic how the lights will hang. Mark on your fence with a pencil or tape where you will need support posts.[1]
You want to leave a little bit of slack so that the lights can hang and move a little bit.

Check for an external outlet or decide where you will keep your extension cord as a power source for your lights.

Select wooden posts that can support your lights. Depending on the weight of your string lights, and your desired aesthetic, choose wooden posts that will be able to hold them up and are strong enough to withstand the outside elements. Be sure you get posts that are the same size, shape, and length.[2]
You always have the option of painting your posts to your desired color as well!

Attach metal mounting hooks or cup hooks onto the wooden posts. These hooks will hold your string lights so you want to be sure that you secure them firmly. Screw your mounting hooks or cup hooks into the wooden posts at one end.[3]

Install the posts onto your fence to support your lights. Using a hammer and nails or a drill and screws, attach your wooden posts securely to your fence. Use a tape measure to measure the height of your posts so that they are mounted at the same level and your lights will hang evenly.[4] Make sure they are spaced out far enough to support your lights.

Hang the lights along the fence using the hooks to support them. Now that you have installed the support for your lights, it’s time to hang them! First, plug the lights into the outlet or extension cord and place the first bulb next to the mounting hardware to check the spacing. Then, unplug the lights to hang the rest of the string with no power connected. Work your way along the fence to hang the lights on the supports.[5]
If you want to hang your lights directly onto your fence, you can simply attach metal mounting hooks or cup hooks onto your fence and suspend your lights from them!

EditHanging String Lights above an Open Space
Identify any existing supports you can use to hang your string lights. If you plan to hang your lights above your deck or patio, you should first check for sturdy places that already exist that you can use to mount them. Places like a roof, a deck, a railing, a fence, pergola, or the eaves of your house make great supports for you lights! [6]
If these natural supports have different heights, make sure your lights will reach from point to point!

Mark with tape where you will to need create your own supports. If you have a gap where this is no support or don’t have any natural supports around at all, you will need to make your own supports for your hanging lights. You can use tape to mark where you will need to create a support.[7]

Get tall metal poles or wooden posts to use as supports for your lights. Because you are covering an open area, you will need to get poles or posts that are tall enough to hang your lights so people can walk or sit beneath them.[8] Metal poles are the strongest option but wooden posts can look more visually appealing and may be strong enough to support your lights, depending on how large of an area you are covering.

Use deep, heavy planters or buckets to support a post or pole. This is one solution to making your own support that you can suspend your lights from.[9] You can arrange the planters around the perimeter of the space you want to hang your lights over, insert a pole or post with a hook on it into the center, and fill them with heavy materials like gravel or concrete. Be sure that the pole or post is secure and doesn’t wobble around.
Place the planters or buckets where you want them before you fill them as they will be very heavy!

Drive stakes into the ground and slide hollow metal poles onto them. This is an easy and inexpensive way to create very strong supports that you can attach your lights to. Use 18-inch-long rebar stakes and hammer them halfway into the ground, then slide the hollow metal pole onto it. Instead of hooks, you can use cable ties or zip ties to attach your string lights.[10]

Hang your lights between the posts or poles using hooks or cable ties. With the planters, buckets, or poles positioned around the perimeter of the area you want to hang your lights over, it’s time to string the lights between them! Weave the lights from one pole to another. If you attached hooks to the posts or poles, you can attach the lights there. If you do not have hooks attached, you can secure the string lights to the ends of the poles using cable ties or zip ties for a strong connection.[11]
Be sure to hang the lights a little loosely to allow a little bit of give, especially if your backyard gets a fair amount of wind.

Be careful when using power tools as they can cause serious injury.

EditThings You’ll Need
EditHanging Lights along a Fence
Tape measure

Pencil or tape

Hammer or drill

Nails or screws

Metal mounting hooks or cup hooks

Wooden posts

Outdoor extension cord, if needed

EditHanging String Lights above an Open Space
Tall metal poles or wooden posts

Heavy planters or buckets

18-inch-long rebar stakes, if needed

Tall, hollow metal poles, if using stakes

Mounting hooks, cup hooks, zip ties, or cable ties

Hammer or drill

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Today in History for 5th May 2019

Historical Events

1862 – French army intervenes in Puebla, Mexico: Cinco de Mayo
1864 – Atlanta Campaign: 5 days fighting begins at Rocky Face Ridge
1920 – Polish troops occupy Kiev
1930 – Amy Johnson takes off – first woman to fly solo from England to Australia
1941 – Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie returns to Addis Ababa
1987 – Detroit Tigers are 11 games back in AL, but go on to win AL East

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1900 – Mervyn A. Ellison, British astronomer (spectrohelioscope), born in Fethard-on-Sea, County Wexford, Ireland (d. 1963)
1903 – James Beard, American culinary expert and author (Delights and Prejudices), born in Portland, Oregon (d. 1985)
1904 – Gordon Richards, British jockey (winner of 4,870 races), born in Donnington Wood, Telford (d. 1986)
1905 – Arnold Meijer, Dutch leader of fascist Dutch National and Black Front, born in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands (d. 1965)
1905 – Robert Houben, Belgian politician (Minister of Public health 1958), born in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium (d. 1992)
1966 – Mike Stapleton, Canadian NHL center (Winnipeg Jets), born in Sarnia, Ontario

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1766 – Jean Astruc, French physician and scholar (b. 1684)
1931 – Glen Kidston, British aviator and racing driver (b. 1899)
1956 – Karel Rudolph Gallas, Dutch lexicographer (French Dictionary), dies at 88
1985 – Sir Donald Bailey, British civil engineer (b. 1901)
1993 – Irving Howe, American writer and critic (Dissent), dies at 72
2004 – Ritsuko Okazaki, Japanese singer-songwriter (Kanashii Jiyū / Koi ga, Kiete Yuku), dies at 44

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Keep Your Resume to One Page

While a longer resume may be merited if you’re applying for an executive-level position or have 20+ years of experience, for most people a one-page resume is sufficient. Any longer than that and you run the risk that the hiring manager won’t read the whole thing. If your resume is longer than a page, it’s likely bloated with information that you don’t need. Keep your resume to one page by tailoring it to the job you’re applying for, then editing that content so that it’s actionable, direct, and specific. If after that your resume is still more than a page long, try adjusting the formatting to see if you can get it to fit.[1]
EditTailoring Your Resume to the Job
Eliminate items that aren’t relevant to the job you’re applying for. While you may be proud of a particular job experience or educational opportunity, it has no place on your resume if it has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for. You can cut a lot out of your resume by taking out everything that isn’t directly related to this employment opportunity.[2]
For example, suppose you’re a recent graduate applying for a full-time job as a financial analyst. While in school, you worked as a parking attendant. However, since your work as a parking attendant is not relevant to the work you would do as a financial analyst, you can leave it out.

Some part-time jobs may have relevance, even if they aren’t in the same industry. Think about your job experiences critically. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a veterinary technician, it might be relevant that you worked as a pet groomer or pet sitter.

Your resume essentially markets you to the potential employer and shows them why you are a strong candidate for the job. You don’t need to include anything that doesn’t add to that message.

Highlight hard skills that set you apart from other applicants. Read the job listing carefully and look for hard skills that the employer requires or recommends that candidates have. List as many of those as possible on your resume.[3]
Hard skills include certification or demonstrated proficiency in computer programming or operation, the ability to speak languages other than your first language, and office skills such as typing speed. Do not include soft skills, such as “leadership” or “team player.” Instead, show these qualities through the description of your accomplishments.

It can be tempting to list hard skills you don’t actually have. Be careful with this because it may come back to haunt you. Assume that, if hired, you will be asked to do anything included in the job listing as part of your job.

List relevant volunteer work in your “Experience” section. Work experience means work that you’ve done – not just work that you got paid for. Volunteer work or internships that are relevant to the job you’re applying for can help boost your resume, especially if you’re looking for an entry-level job.[4]
For example, if you’re applying for a job as a veterinary technician, you would definitely want to include information about volunteering at your local animal shelter, zoo, or nature center.

If you have the space, you can leave in significant volunteer work even if it doesn’t directly relate to the job you’re applying for. This is a good idea if you’ve researched the employer and know they support particular causes related to your volunteer work.

Remove references unless required by the potential employer. A potential employer may ask you for references, but they generally aren’t necessary on a resume. Cutting them out can buy you a few lines. There’s also no need to include a sentence that says “references available upon request.”[5]
If an employer does require references, you can often include them on a separate piece of paper, rather than including them on your resume.

Include hobbies and interests only if they’re relevant to the job. The section on hobbies and interests in any resume is typically fluff that can easily be removed if you’re trying to cut your resume down to one page. However, if they relate directly to the job you’re applying for, it’s a good idea to keep them in.[6]
For example, if you play a sport in a community amateur league, you might want to keep that information on your resume if you’re applying for a job as a sports writer.

If you really need the space, you might include them as a line under your work experience section. Change the section heading to “Experience” rather than “Work Experience.”

Through your research, you may have discovered that you and the hiring manager have various hobbies or interests in common. In that situation, it’s tempting to leave them on your resume. However, it’s better to save them for the interview when you can strike up a conversation about your mutual interests.

Trim your “Education” section to relate specifically to the job. It may be that you’ve earned a degree or certificate that is entirely unrelated to the job you’re applying for. If that’s the case, simply list the degree and the school, but don’t include any additional detail.[7]
If the degree isn’t required for the job, you can leave it off entirely. For example, if the job listing states that a bachelor’s degree is required, you would need to include your bachelor’s degree on your resume even if it was in a field of study unrelated to the job. However, if you had a higher degree, you could safely leave the bachelor’s degree off to save some space.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you don’t need to include your high school education. The potential employer will realize that you have a high school diploma if you have a bachelor’s degree. However, you may want to leave it on if you went to an elite high school and you learned through research that the hiring manager graduated from the same school.

EditEditing Your Content
Delete the “Career Objective” section entirely. Standard resumes often have a “goal” or “career objective” section at the top. However, there’s really no point in having this section. If you’re applying for a job, it’s clear what your goal is.[8]
Depending on the length of this section, removing it could give you an extra 3 to 5 lines that you can use for valuable content that sells your experience and value to the potential employer.

Make descriptions as specific as possible. For each work-related experience you’ve had, you likely have several lines describing your duties and accomplishments in that position. Instead of simply listing your responsibilities, state specifically how you implemented that duty or responsibility. This gives potential employers information about your soft skills.[9]
For example, suppose in one of your previous jobs you created a training course called “Negotiation Tactics.” You’re now applying for a new position that requires extensive negotiation, and you want to highlight your expertise in that area as well as your leadership skills. You could write: Created “Negotiation Tactics” course; 10 sales executives increased sales by 25%.

Specific numbers draw the eye as a potential employer scans your resume and don’t take up a lot of space. For example, “Drafted 24 trial briefs” gives your potential employer far more information than simply saying that you drafted documents for senior attorneys. If you round or estimate, include a word such as “around” or “about” so the potential employer doesn’t get the impression you’re using an exact figure.

Remove redundant language and consolidate bullet points. Have each bullet point under experience or education items relate to a single skill or responsibility. If you see several bullet points that all relate to the same thing, keep only the most important ones and consolidate them into one bullet point.[10]
For example, if you have a retail sales position listed on your resume, you might have a bullet point for responsibilities related to customer service and another for sales goals. If you had managerial responsibilities, you would likely have a third bullet point discussing your performance as a manager.

Read your bullet points aloud and note where you repeat words. For example, “Designed customer service training program to train coworkers to provide better customer service” could be shortened to simply “Designed customer service training program; satisfaction rating increased 18%.”

Avoid personal pronouns, articles, and most conjunctions. Writing in complete sentences takes up a lot of space and is generally unnecessary in a resume. Save your complete sentences for your cover letter. Use brief phrases separated by semi-colons.[11]
Start bullet points with an action verb. Then, write a brief description of your action or responsibility. Place a semi-colon after that phrase, then include a brief description of the outcome of that action. For example, instead of writing “developed and implemented an email campaign that increased sales by 10% in 1 month,” you could write “developed/implemented email campaign; increased sales 10% in 1 month.”

You can often use punctuation instead of conjunctions, which will cut a few characters. For example, instead of writing “designed and conducted training program” you can write “designed/conducted training program.”

Use industry-standard abbreviations where appropriate. If an abbreviation is commonly used in your industry, there’s no need to spell it out. If you’re familiar with it, chances are a hiring manager will be too. Additionally, it will make your resume easier to read because abbreviations stand out.[12]
For example, instead of talking about “point-of-sale transactions,” you can use “POS transactions.” The potential employer will likely understand what this abbreviation means, particularly if you’re applying for a job in the retail sector.

At the same time, avoid filling your resume with a lot of industry jargon that has a loose meaning. It can make you look as though you aren’t actually that knowledgeable and are simply throwing together industry buzzwords.

Cut adjectives and adverbs from your descriptions. Adjectives and adverbs generally indicate subjective information, and you want your resume to be as objective as possible. Instead of using adjectives and adverbs, try to find a way to demonstrate that thing with a brief description of the outcome of your action.[13]
For example, instead of writing “Successfully trained 10 employees on new computer system,” you might write “Implemented training program; increased productivity by 38%.”

EditAdjusting Your Formatting
Decrease your font size to no less than 10-point. The default font size for most word processing applications is 12-point. If you’ve edited the content of your resume as much as possible and you still need to cut some space, consider lowering the font size to 10.5 or even 10. Avoid going any smaller than that, however, because it will make your resume hard to read.[14]
Make all the text in your resume the same size, rather than having the names of employers or schools larger than the rest of the text.

If the labels or headings for the sections of your resume are larger than the rest of your text, you can also experiment with making them smaller. Try making them the same size as everything else.

Tighten up the line spacing. A good resume uses white space to break up text and allow for easy scanning. However, too much white space can push your resume over one page. You can adjust the line spacing in the text formatting menu on your word processing app.[15]
Decrease line spacing by the smallest increment possible. Make sure your words don’t overlap and can still be read. You may want to print out your resume and see how it looks.

Cut your margins in half. Most word processing apps default to margins all the way around. However, you can typically get away with decreasing those margins to give more room for the text. Test your document by printing it before you send it to the potential employer to make sure it prints okay.[16]
Particularly if you’re emailing your resume, there’s a good chance your resume will never be printed on paper. However, you still want to make sure it’s printable if necessary.

Experiment with multiple columns. Your word processing app defaults to a single column. However, it’s possible to create 2 or even 3 columns on a document. If you’re finding it difficult to get your resume down to a page, you may be able to use a 2 column or 3 column layout to get more information on the page.[17]
If you want to use multiple columns, you’re better off starting a new document rather than simply converting the document you have. You’ll have an easier time arranging your information correctly.

Once you’ve finalized your resume, convert it to a PDF to preserve your formatting. That way, you can email it to the potential employer without worrying about your formatting getting ruined. Include your full name in the filename for the PDF.

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