How to Make Dreamy String Light Planters in Only 5 Steps

published Jun 9, 2023
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Want more DIY tips, tricks, and inspiration? Check out more stories featuring the 2023 Apartment Therapy DIY Collective. This content is presented in partnership with The Home Depot; it was created independently by our editorial team.

I have a small balcony in my home that probably looks like something a lot of apartment dwellers are working with, too: It’s a long, slim space that started off very plain and boring when my husband and I moved in. As I was making it into a cozy space where we could spend time, I wanted to create a unique and showstopping DIY that would really complete the look.

I’d already added a cafe table and chairs, plus plants and a rug, but I needed something extra special. I decided that string lights were exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an obvious place to hang them. Fortunately, I’m not afraid of a little DIY!

This is the solution I came up with: a pair of light poles in oversized planters, with string lights between them. This DIY is completely beginner-friendly and very forgiving, and it’s perfect for anyone who loves to spend time outside in their balcony or garden. Best of all, it’s totally renter-friendly! Here’s how I did it.

Credit: Anh Lin

What you’ll need to DIY string light planters

  • Two tall planters
  • Outdoor-rated string lights (I prefer solar)
  • String light poles with a multi-prong base
  • Potting soil
  • Plants of your choice

How to make string light planters

Credit: Anh Lin

1. Choose outdoor planters and string light poles.

This is the , as you need to make sure that the stakes on the bottom of the string light poles fit inside the planters you’re planning to use. Lucky for me, the ones I bought ended up being an almost exact fit in the planters I’d chosen — but as long as your planters are a little wider than the prong base of your string light poles, they will work.

Credit: Anh Lin

2. Place the poles in the planters.

String light poles with multi-prong bases are a lot more stable than a pole without any sort of base, so unless you live in a really windy area, you can just place the pole directly in the planter. If you do live in a windy area, you could consider adding gravel (removable) or concrete (permanent) around the base of the pole to keep it in place and give your planters some extra weight.

3. Fill the planter with soil.

Once your pole is in place, add in your potting soil. Make sure to tightly pack the soil under and around the poles so they don’t sway or get crooked.

4. Add in your favorite outdoor plants.

Choose your favorites! I went with flowers to get some color. A climbing plant that grows up the string light pole would also be really pretty. You will probably have to add in more soil at this stage too to fill in any gaps.

Credit: Anh Lin

5. Hang the string lights.

Place your planters where you’d like your string lights to hang, then hook one end around the first pole. Swag the string lights between the first and second poles; you will probably be able to go back and forth a few times if the distance between the poles isn’t very far. For solar string lights, place the solar panel in the planter where it can get enough sun so your lights will be fully charged each night.

Credit: Anh Lin

If you choose plug-in string lights, make sure that the package specifically notes that they are for outdoor use. And when you plug them in, keep enough distance between your planter and the outlet so that when you water your plants, there’s no danger of accidentally splashing the outlet and plug. The cord and the lights themselves, as long as they are outdoor-rated, will be safe around moisture.

That said, I like solar-powered lights because they can be moved anywhere there’s sun — you aren’t restricted by the location of an outlet!

Once your lights are strung, you’re all done! This project is very easy and once you have your supplies in hand, you can do it in an hour or two. I love that it’s customizable, so you can choose any planters and plants you love. You can also move them around wherever you want, and even pack them up with you to take to your next home. These lights surrounded by blooming flowers helped turn my balcony into quite the idyllic hangout spot.

If you make your own, we want to see! Tag @apartmenttherapy on Instagram or TikTok to show us how it went.