Choosing Lights for Your Picket Fence

Factors to consider when choosing outdoor lights for your picket fence include the average life of the bulbs, the style and color of the lights, and your choice of style and color when it comes to both the fence and the lights. If you have included a classic picket fence as an enclosure to your yard or garden, you have a wide range of choices in terms of adding lights in order to dress it up. Outdoor rope lights are a popular choice; they come in many varieties and can be installed either temporarily or permanently.

Types of Lights

The most common strings of outdoor lights are those classified as accent lights. They are white lights with small tube shapes and are spaced approximately ½-inch apart. They can be bought in strands of varying lengths and are available in flexible PVC material. This material can be molded to highlight the shape of the fence. The bulbs can last up to about 20,000 hours without scorching or burning out.

Another popular choice of outdoor lighting is that with LED bulbs. These are more environmentally friendly by using around 20 percent less energy than other types. One drawback of standard white LED lights is that they only give off enough brightness to be noticeable after dark. These are often the lights of choice for those concerned about reducing the amount of light pollution in their neighborhoods.  

Color Options

For those with a more festive preference, both accent lights and LED lights can be found in a variety of colors and are either blinking or have a steady burn. Most choose the version with a steady burn for picket fences because they are not quite as distracting. They can also be used throughout the year and not just during the holiday seasons.

Fence Style

It is also a good idea to consider the style of your picket fence when selecting your lights for it. If the heights of the pickets are varied for an ornamental look, placing rope lights strategically can add an intricate and dynamic appearance to your fence. Most picket fences are built in a self-spaced design, with the width of each picket equaling the width of the spacing in between each of them. This is another thing to keep in mind when placing your lights.


If you have a plan to keep your picket fence lights installed throughout the year, it is advised to consider whether you have a picket fence made of wood or vinyl. Wood picket fences are notorious for chipping and peeling paint, and as a result need to be repainted on a regular basis. Removing ropes of light, applying a new coat of paint, allowing for drying time, and then re-installing the lights may be more labor-intensive than some may prefer.

Rope lights with clips are more secure against slipping and bad weather, but they are also more time-consuming to remove and reattach as part of the fencing repainting process. As an alternative, a picket fence made of vinyl never needs to be repainted and will last for many years.