Whiskey Barrel Planters with Built-In Posts for Hanging String Lights
I’m excited to finally share my favorite summer DIY project with you. It has been such a busy summer around here. We moved to Apollo Beach at the end of April and we really wanted this new home to be a great place for outdoor entertaining. When I spotted some half whiskey barrels at the hardware store, I knew right away that’s what I would use as the base for my DIY planters with a pole for string lights.
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DIY Planter with Pole for String Lights
I absolutely love how this string light pole planter project turned out. I really enjoy the ambiance of having the backyard lit up with string lights at night.
Note: If you can’t find the half whiskey barrels at your hardware store, I did find these wooden barrels on Amazon for a reasonable price.
Andy and I did this project early summer after a dry spell with water restrictions. The grass is dead, dead, dead in some of the pictures. I’m glad to report that we’ve had quite a lot of rain since, including a couple of Tropical Storms. And, we’ve even had a chance to light a few fires in our modest fire pit.
Since we live so close to Tampa Bay, our community is considerably built up to prevent flooding. The downside is that more than half of our backyard is on a very steep slope that is really unusable space. I feel like the addition of the DIY string light poles and a modest fire pit helps us makes the most of our small backyard.
We have a large lanai and all summer have been enjoying grilling meals most nights and spending evenings outdoors.
There’s just something magical about string lights. I love nothing more than turning on the string lights and sitting out on the lanai with a glass of wine in the evening.
half whiskey barrel
8′ x 4″ x 4″ wood post
4 large L brackets
1 1/2 inch screws
1/8 inch drill bit
#6 Screw Hooks
How to Make DIY String Light Poles
Step One: Drill holes into the bottom of barrel for drainage.
Step Two: Attach a #6 Screw Hook to the top of the post.
Step Three: Place the barrel where you plan to keep it. Once it is filled with soil and plants, it will be difficult to move. Center bottom of post in barrel. It will be useful to have a second pair of hands to hold the post in place. Use L brackets and screws to attach the post to the inside of the barrel. I considered using concrete to secure the post but decided that the large brackets and weight of the soil and plants would be more than enough to hold the planters in place. We had some strong winds with this summer’s storms and the planters didn’t move an inch.
Step Four: Once the post is secure, you can use a paint brush to apply stain to the post. You can skip this step but I think the stain better matches the aged appearance of the whiskey barrel. I chose an oak color for the stain and really like how it turned out.
Step Five: Once the stain has dried, add soil and plants to the barrel. We chose inexpensive annuals which gave us beautiful blooms all summer long.
Be sure to generously water your new plants.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be swapping them out for some mums in the colors of fall. I’m really looking forward to the cooler weather. We’ll definitely spend most evenings outdoors and more comfortably be able to do more entertaining.
How to Hang String Lights
Step Six: If you are attaching the string lights to your house, you can use the same screw hooks. There are plastic soffit hooks on the market for Christmas lights, but they don’t seem durable enough to withstand the weight of the outdoor string lights and year-round weather.
Step Seven: Lastly string your lights, beginning where they will plug in to your outdoor electrical outlet. Be sure to not pull the sting lights too tightly. Rather, string them with a bit of draping. Andy and I strung our lights in a zig zag pattern between the house and the string light posts.
For our backyard space, we made a total of three whiskey barrel planters with string light poles.
What Size Pole for String Lights
You want a wooden pole that is sturdy enough to carry the weight of your string lights and that is tall enough to provide clearance beneath the lights. When choosing the post for string lights, we considered the size of our half whiskey barrel planters which was rather large and also added some additional height. We considered the pitch of our back yard and since we were stringing the lights between the poles up the soffit of our house we ended up purchasing 8′ x 4″ x 4″ wooden posts.
What Kind of String Lights Should I Hang Outdoors
When choosing outdoor string lights, you’ll want to make sure the lights you purchase will stand up to the elements. Select string lights which are Outdoor Commercial Grade, Waterproof, Impact Resistant, Shatterproof and UL Listed. For our 3 whiskey barrel planters and smallish backyard, 2 strings of 48 foot Enbrighten Classic LED Cafe String Lights with 24 bulbs worked perfectly. We found them on Amazon and absolutely love the warm glow they emit.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this project. I hadn’t planned on writing a tutorial when we made these string light planters and hope I provided enough information to help you do your own. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
Here are some other favorite summer DIY projects you might enjoy: