How to Install Outdoor Holiday Decorations

by Team HomeServe
Front of a large house at night lit up by an over-the-top holiday light and decorations display.

Outdoor holiday décor can bring your festive holiday visions to life. Decorating for the holidays is a lot more fun than dealing with frozen gutters or scooping snow — but you should take a similar approach to safety no matter what you’re doing outdoors this winter.

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Learn how to install different types of outdoor decorations, like inflatables, wreaths and garlands.

How Can I Decorate My Yard for the Holidays?

Lights might be the first thing that comes to mind, but outdoor holiday décor comes in all types and styles. Common options include inflatables, wreaths, garland, lighted three-dimensional decorations, wood cutouts and hanging decorations.

Start by planning your display. Decide if you want a theme and consider the overall style you want. Maybe you want a traditional manger scene, or perhaps a Disney-themed holiday display might be your style. Christmas displays might use green, red and white color schemes. You might want to use holiday decorations in a range of bright colors, or maybe you prefer minimalist white décor.

Next, measure the outdoor area and decide how many decorations you want. Do you want to decorate just one area or the entire yard? Keep in mind that too many decorations make the space feel crowded.

How Do You Install Inflatable Outdoor Decorations?

Holiday inflatables are a fun way to greet holiday guests. Choose a flat, open space away from trees, overhead wires and other objects that could damage the decorations. Choose a location near an outdoor outlet since the inflatables need to be plugged in. Consider the fully inflated size and the fact that the inflatables will sway in the wind. This helps you plan where to put the inflatables along with other decorations to keep them from colliding.

Always read the instructions that come with your inflatables in case they have special requirements. Most inflatable decorations come with stakes and tethers to anchor them securely. Follow these basic steps to install inflatables:

1. Unroll the inflatable and put it in position.

2. Stake the blower motor to the ground if the inflatable includes stakes for it.

3. Check for holes and look for vents or other openings that need to be closed.

4. Verify that the fan is unobstructed so it can work properly.

5. Plug in the inflatable and allow it to inflate.

6. Check the location and positioning.

7. Stake the tethers to the ground once you have the correct positioning.

How Do You Hang Wreaths and Garlands Outside?

Wreaths add a festive touch to doors, columns and windows on your home. There are several options for hanging a wreath, depending on where you want to attach it:

  • Door hanger: For a traditional door display, an over-the-door hanger is simple and doesn't require any holes. It fits over the top of the door and has a hook on the exterior where you can hang the wreath.
  • Outdoor adhesive hooks: Another no-hole option is an outdoor adhesive hook, such as Command hooks designed for outdoor use. Mount them wherever you want the wreaths for simple installation.
  • Screw hooks: If you don't mind holes in your window trim, door or columns, screw hooks offer a secure attachment option. The hooks screw into the material and provide a sturdy spot to hang wreaths.
  • Ribbon: For a window display, secure a long ribbon loop at the top of the wreath. Tilt in the lower window sash. You might need to remove your window screen as well. Place the wreath where you want it, holding onto the ribbon. Close the screen and window, keeping the ribbon inside. The window should hold the ribbon tightly to keep the wreath secured. Tie a knot in the ribbon for extra security.

Garland looks pretty along outdoor railings, on posts and columns or around windows and doors. For railing placement, wrap or drape the garland along the railing and secure it with zip ties or wire.

To put garland around doors or windows, you can use screw hooks if you don't mind making holes in the frames. An alternative is a pressure-mounted garland hanger that doesn't require any holes or DIY tools and gadgets. Outdoor Command hooks may also work.

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Where Do You Plug in Outdoor Decorations?

The safest option is to plug outdoor holiday décor into an outdoor outlet on your house. These outlets are designed for safe outdoor use, and they make it easy to plug in decorations outside instead of running extension cords into the garage.

When choosing plug-in decorations, ensure you have enough outlets to accommodate everything. Plugging in too many outdoor decorations can overload your circuits. If you need them, only use extension cords rated for outdoor use.

Tips for Outdoor Holiday Decorating

Before you start decorating, take these tips into consideration:

  • Check restrictions: If you live in an area with a homeowners association, there may be restrictions on the types or sizes of outdoor holiday décor you can display, as well as where you can display them. Review the rules before you plan your display.
  • Climb safely: For decorations mounted on the roof, trees or other high locations, use a secure ladder. Ensure it's on level, sturdy ground. If there's snow or ice on the ground, wait until it thaws. Having someone hold the ladder while you install decorations can help.
  • Test things first: Check that your holiday décor works correctly before installing it. This is especially important for lighted decorations or items with movement, such as a lighted reindeer figure that moves its head.
  • Keep the packaging: When you buy new holiday decorations, keep the box and instructions. The original packaging provides a protective storage spot, which will help prevent damage. The instructions might come in handy if you forget how to set up the decorations next year.
  • Check decorations regularly: Wind and other winter elements can affect your holiday decorations. Check them regularly to ensure they're still attached securely and in good working order.