Transforming your patio into a cozy and inviting space can be as simple as adding small touches like bistro lighting. With this DIY project, you can create modern string light posts (or planters) that double as moveable bistro light posts. 

These stylish and moveable string light posts will add a touch of texture and create a warm ambiance for your outdoor gatherings. 

I wanted a modern twist on the rustic style planter light posts I’ve seen all over pinterest so for this project I decided to use modern style planters and came up with the genius idea to use heavy duty metal closet rods as the poles instead of pressure treated lumber.

I initially wanted to use copper or steel pipe but both of those options were super expensive (like $50-100 per post) so I opted for the closet rods instead since they were just $22 each. Using these as posts give these light poles a sleeker look and make them more durable since the metal will outlast wooden poles.

In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll guide you through the process of making my DIY modern string light planters to elevate your patio’s aesthetics and transform it into a captivating retreat. 

watch the process



DRILL [for drain holes if adding plants]

Step 1: Preparing the Planter Pots

Start by choosing tall planter pots that match your desired style. Ensure they are sturdy and weather-resistant.  I recommend pots that are at least 12” wide and 24” tall to ensure they’ll be heavy enough to hold the posts and lights. 

I opted for 4 posts but you can create more if needed — the number you choose depends on your desired density and length of lights. 

Measure your patio to determine how long and wide you want your lighted area to be and how many times you want the string lights to stretch back and forth across your patio to come up with the right quantity of bistro light posts for your space.

Step 2: Make  & Install the post tops

Start with the full circle wood pole socket (choose the one that is a complete circle not the one with a notch cut out, see below) and screw the eye hook into the pre-drilled center hole. 

Twist the eye hook it until it’s all the way through. If it’s hard to twist, you can slide a screwdriver through the hole in the eye hook and twist this way to give you more leverage and make it easier to turn.

Add a toggle to the other side of the screw eye hook and screw it on as tight as it will go. Ensure that the toggle is facing the correct direction (as pictured below)

Once the screw and the toggle are in place, add a VERY generous amount of industrial adhesive (you can use any glue rated for multiple materials that works on metal). 

Pinch the toggle bolt and slide it into the hollow end of the closet rod ensuring the inside of the wood pole socket makes full contact with the end of the pole and lines up flush.  You can wipe away excess glue or add more glue as necessary.

Let these dry fully according to the directions of the glue you used (usually it will take quite a few hours or even overnight to cure fully)

You CAN move on to the next step before these are fully cured if you are very careful not to bump the ends — this could get them out of alignment which can lead to lopsided lights.

Step 3: Secure the closet poles in the planter

Start by pouring half a bag of dry fast setting concrete mix into the bottom of the planter.

Next, place the closet poles into the center of each planter pot, ensuring they are plumb and centered. 

You can use a level to check that they are straight and add some painters tape to hold them in place so they stay straight.

Once the poles are in place, carefully pour water into the pot and let the water fully saturate the concrete mixture. Measure water according to the package directions and let it sit long enough to fully cure before touching or moving the poles.

OPTIONAL: Sand OR Planting in the Planter Pots

SAND for a hardscapeOnce the concrete is fully cured, I added about half a bag of sand per pot around the posts to stabilize them. You could use more concrete for this step, but I wanted to add sand so that it’s removable in case I ever want to change these up and use the space on top of the concrete to plant some flowers or patio plants.

Once the Fill the planter pots with potting soil, leaving enough space for your chosen plants or flowers. Plant them according to their specific requirements, taking care to arrange them aesthetically. Water the plants thoroughly to help them settle.

With the sand in place, I removed all the painters tape. The light pole looks like this:

I added rocks to my planters for a hardscape look, but you can also use the top part of the planter above the concrete for plants. If you want to opt for this, you’ll likely need  drill drainage holes just above the top of the concrete base in each pot to prevent water buildup. 

Step 4: Attaching the Outdoor String Lights

Place the planter pots in the desired locations on your patio.

Starting from the top of each post, secure the outdoor string lights to the top of your post using zip ties. You can secure the zip ties through the eye hook of your light and around the wire of your lights OR some outdoor string lights have little tabs on the top of each light socket intended to be used for hanging.

Ensure that the lights are evenly spaced and pull them taut for a neat look. Don’t forget to eave some extra length at the end to connect the lights to a power source.

Step 6: Final Adjustments

Connect the outdoor string lights to a power source and test them to ensure they are functioning properly. Make any necessary adjustments to the positioning of the lights or plants for an optimal visual effect.

You can create stunning modern string light planters that are also moveable and adjustable, transforming your patio into a captivating outdoor space. These versatile light poles will provide an enchanting ambiance for your evening gatherings.

Get creative with different plant choices and planter designs to personalize the project to your space. Now it’s time to enjoy your transformed patio and create unforgettable memories under the warm glow of your DIY modern string light planters!

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