Spread festive cheer through the neighborhood with outdoor Christmas decorations. Exterior spaces present new conditions to consider, so it’s important to pick outdoor décor that are up to the task. To help you get started, here are some questions to ask before buying Christmas yard decorations.
What Is Your Theme?
Having a specific holiday theme gives your outdoor décor a cohesive look and helps determine the items you need. For example, a modern, minimalist design requires fewer decorations than a traditional or winter wonderland theme. Start by picking a few key elements, then choose secondary accents to complement them.
Use the same color palette to coordinate your indoor and outdoor Christmas decorations. You can also display outdoor-safe pieces inside your home, such as matching artificial wreaths and garlands on your front door and above the fireplace mantel.
For more ideas, browse our Christmas decorating themes.
How Much Is Your Budget?
After choosing your theme, check the Christmas yard decorations you have and list additional items you'll need. Mixing new and existing pieces is an easy way to complete your display while staying within budget.
Size and energy efficiency are other factors that may affect your spending:
Size – Think about how grand you want your display to be. Budgets can be scaled up or down according to preferences and available space. If you want a sprawling display, you may need to spend more on life-sized figures. Alternatively, you can stack or line up smaller decorations together to create a bigger impact.
Energy efficiency – Most outdoor Christmas lights and pre-lit décor come with either incandescent or LED bulbs. LEDs produce minimal heat and consume less energy than incandescent lights, making them a safer and more cost-effective option in the long run. Some items also feature a built-in timer that automatically shuts off lights and sounds.
Where Should You Place Outdoor Christmas Decorations?
Maximize your space by choosing the right spots to install Christmas decorations. Scope out the available areas, then take note of outdoor elements that may affect your décor.
Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas for Different Areas
Illuminate the walkway with festive lanterns and drape outdoor Christmas lights on hedges and plants.
Weather Conditions To Consider
- Sunlight and Heat – Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the color of your artificial foliage and other decorations. Excessive heat and humidity may also cause discoloration of ornaments and faster deterioration of lights. If possible, place your décor in covered outdoor areas to protect them from harsh UV rays.
- Snowfall – The coldness of snow may cause incandescent lights to burst, so it's best to limit the operating time of these lights in snow-prone areas. Elevate small decorations to keep them from getting buried under snow.
- Rainfall – Outdoor-safe lights are made to withstand light to moderate rainfall. As a precaution, switch off and unplug outdoor Christmas lights when it rains to lessen electrical risks. Hot incandescent bulbs may burst under cold rain, so consider LED lights, which are cooler and more resistant to leaks.
- Winds – Strong winds may damage your outdoor décor, so make sure to secure loose items.
Finding power sources for Christmas yard decorations can be tricky. If you have a large lawn, a power stake is perfect for decorations mounted on the fence or in the garden area. Battery-operated or solar-powered products also come in handy to eliminate the need for electrical cords.
Are the Decorations Safe for Outdoor Use?
Check the product information online and on the packaging to determine whether decorations are designed for outdoor use. Here’s how to identify outdoor-safe Christmas decorations:
1. Look for the Safety Label
Find the UL Label to identify whether the item is made for outdoor display. Lights with a green holographic UL sticker on the cord are suitable for indoor use only. A red holographic UL sticker means the product is safe for both indoor and outdoor use.
Choose products that are treated with UV-resistant coating to ensure their colors will remain vibrant amid sun exposure.
2. Read the Display Instructions
Outdoor décor can endure harsh conditions within certain limits. Check the recommended display time indicated in the product manual. For example, outdoor-safe foliage items from Balsam Hill are best displayed for up to 3 months a year to preserve their beauty.
How Long Will Outdoor Christmas Decorations Last?
With proper care and storage, outdoor decorations last for years. Premium products with a lengthy warranty often last longer, ensuring that they can be enjoyed season after season.
Lifespan of Outdoor Decorations
Outdoor Christmas Lights
According to the , indoor incandescent lights have a projected lifespan of up to 3,000 hours. For outdoor incandescent lights, you may need to start replacing bulbs after about half that time. LED lights tend to cost more but are rated to last around 25,000 hours with normal use.
How To Secure Outdoor Decorations
Extend the lifespan of your outdoor décor through simple weatherproofing methods. Follow our tips below.
Step 1 | Fasten Lightweight Decorations
Garden stakes help keep lightweight items from getting blown over by strong winds. Alternatively, use thin wires or chains to attach life-sized figures to sturdy objects such as trees and light posts.
Step 2 | Protect Outdoor Christmas Lights From Snow and Rainstorms
When a storm is looming, switch off and unplug lights and pre-lit décor. Cover them with a tarp or durable plastic sheet. Move extension cord outlets to a higher ground to prevent water from reaching them.
Step 3 | Check Indoor Electrical Connections
Rain can pose a risk even if exterior lights are plugged into indoor sockets. Check the ceilings, floors, and walls around the sockets to ensure there are no leaks or pooling water that may cause damage.