I’ve been wanting that coveted Parenthood backyard since Pete and I began watching the episodes last summer.
I’m nowhere near it. And won’t be any time soon considering how slowly the vegetation is taking over the property.
But I decided could temporarily light the space in a similar style, by stringing otherwise stored-away Christmas lights over the backyard. Pete’s surprise fiesta last weekend seemed like the perfect time to give it a try.
All in all, for the number of lights I wanted, I needed 4 strands straight from my Christmas supplies, and an equal length of wire. I bought a $8 roll of 16-gauge wire at Home Depot, and wrapped the strands of lights around it carefully to reinforce the . Said and done, I probably could have gone for a higher gauge that was a little easier to manipulate, but this did just well.
I should also mention that getting that entire coil of wire wrapped into a mammoth knot while sitting on top of the garage, in tar, in what felt like 150-degree heat after just having tipped the ladder to a seemingly unsteady angle (meaning I wasn’t sure I could get down) was really, really bad idea. While wearing jeans. Sweating profusely. And cursing while the dog looked up at me with curiosity. I took no pictures during that half-hour block of angst-filled time. So be careful with the damn wire, because it tangles easily.
And I did speak with Pete for about 10 minutes while I was melting down on the roof; because it was a random project for his surprise party, I couldn’t let on where I was, what I was doing, or what situation I had put myself in. Go me for keeping my cool.
I found by trial-and-error that securing the wire and the lights to the pergola first was the easiest solution; they were going to be evenly spaced, so I placed them before extending them to the garage roof across the yard.
I didn’t want the wire or the light strand being pinched or tugged in such a way that would be electrically skeptical, so affixing the wire to the strand and the wooden girders was a careful process but I did manage to balance and secure the end of the strand well without causing an issue. No hiding it though, it was still a little sketchy.
My goal was to make 3 long strands extend to the garage; two strands were spanning a shorter distance, meaning I could run single lines of lights from the pergola to the garage, but the third required me to double up the length of my light strand, which is why I noted earlier that it took 4 strands of lights.
Anyways, I brought the wired light strands to the top of the garage using a fancy little pulley system involving hanging another wire over the side of the garage from the roof, and wrapping the three loose ends to it and pullin’ her up.
To secure the strands to the roof, I brought 3 leftover pieces of 4×4 pressure-treated boards from the garage; the heavy boards acted like cinderblocks that I was able to wrap the 16-gauge wire around and anchor each strand of lights into place.
Worked like a charm.
I was able to set my own tension between the pergola and the 4×4 boards on the garage roof, and opted for a just out of arm’s reach height for me (I’m 5’9″) so that it was sure to clear any guests heads.
I had also planned well in having all of the plug-end of the strands up on the garage roof, because I was able to extend a single outdoor extension cord from the shed to the rooftop to light ‘er up.
The last thing I did (once I tested out that all of the wiring had worked out and the lights went on) it out was wrap part of the wire and light strand with electrical tape; I did this because the tiles on the top edge of the garage that the wires were sitting on were really, really hot in the sunshine, and in addition to wrapping the 16-gauge wire in such a way that helped prevent the actual strand from even touching the tile, I wanted to reinforce the coating on the lights just a little bit more. Just in case.
I think it turned out pretty fabulously. I wish I could leave it up all year round. Maybe sometime in the future when my yard is more Parenthood-lush.