Rhode Island GardenContemporary Deck, San Francisco
Rhode Island: Garden design by Growsgreen Landscape Design, photo for Sunset by David Fenton. Used with permission.
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2. Install mounting hardware or use a string light suspension kit — or both. There are two ways to mount string lights: on their own or attached to a sturdy wire as part of a light suspension kit. Mounting to a wire isn’t necessary, but it can help maintain tension if you’re hanging string lights over a larger expanse, and it can provide more support if your backyard is breezy.Hanging without a wire: To hang the patio lights without a wire, screw a cup hook into the wall, fence, pergola or tree trunk to use as mounting. (You may need to drill a hole first, before putting in the screw.) Hanging with a wire: If you’re using a wire, you can purchase a wire hanging kit that comes with a cable wire and suspension hardware (turnbuckles, snap hooks, pad eyes and lock clamps). Install according to the instructions included with the kit.
Decks that are 12 by 12 feet (3.7 by 3.7 meters), plus or minus a foot or so, can be ideal for hosting a small group in a space that feels intimate rather than too spread out. If your existing hardscape feels larger than what you can use for a lounge, consider quartering off a section of it as a small group seating area. For example, this San Francisco backyard by Growsgreen Landscape Design uses an L-shaped bench seat to define a lounge area around an outdoor table. The space feels cozy and inviting for four or five people to share a conversation.
6. Design for your group size. Whether you often have a couple of friends over after work, host dinner parties or prefer to keep your garden as a private retreat for one or two, design your seating area to best accommodate your group size. If you host the occasional larger party, keep things flexible with a mix of built-in seating and open areas where you can easily set up a folding table and chairs.