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The Home Depot

10 Steps to the Best Neighborhood Holiday Decorations

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > 10 Steps to the Best Neighborhood Holiday Decorations
10 Steps to the Best Neighborhood Holiday Decorations

It can be all-consuming when your goal is to have the best holiday decorations in your neighborhood. With the competition stiff, imagination and creativity will be premium ingredients in your home’s outdoor décor. You’ll need a hefty budget to afford the exterior glitz as well.


The risk of fire and injury is substantial if you don’t pay close attention to your decorations and how you install them. With basic safety measures, you should be able to deck the exterior of your home safely and magnificently. Plan and prepare 10 steps to the best neighborhood holiday decorations. The transformation of your home should be a magical holiday display for everyone to enjoy.

  1. 1.House Outlines

    House Outlines

    The place to start with an outdoor light display is by outlining your house. String lights along the edge of the roof over the eaves. Follow the roofline from one side of the front of your house to the other side. Many people continue the outlining around windows, doors and porch railings, too. A fence could also be outlined with swags of strung lights in between each fencepost. If you’re extra brave – and extra careful – you might string rows of lights either vertically, horizontally or diagonally along the flat expanse of your roof to illuminate it brightly. Light strings might be all white or they could be multi-colored.

  2. 2.Light Sculptures

    Light Sculptures

    Light sculptures can make the landscape of your home come alive with characters, designs and shapes of the season. These sculptures have mounted lights on metal or plastic frames to create the illuminated sculpture. Reindeer, toy trains, Santa, elves, candy canes, a sleigh or a Christmas tree are just a few of the items you might choose for a light sculpture. Create a theme in your front yard and add light sculptures in line with the theme. Place a lit sleigh and reindeer on the roof for a festive display. The options are endless once you start browsing the different sculptures available.

  3. Icicles


    Lit icicles add frozen beauty to your home’s exterior. String these lights along the eaves of your home for a frosty appearance. Icicle strands also work well strung over the tops of windows and along fences – literally anywhere icicles might naturally form.

  5. 4.Trees and Shrubs

    Trees and Shrubs

    Make your trees and shrubs come alive with twinkling splendor. The number of lights you’ll need per tree depends on the tree and the impact you want to make. If you want a medium impact on an evergreen tree, aim for 100 bulbs per foot. If you want a heavy-duty impact on an evergreen tree, increase the lights to 200 bulbs per foot of tree. Deciduous trees generally need fewer lights because you’re stringing them on the trunk and branches only – no leaves. If you’re lighting bushes and hedges, consider using net lights to drape quickly and easily over the plants.

  6. 5.Inflatables


    What holiday display would be complete without inflatables decking the lawn in front of your house? If you’ve got youngsters in residence, try a Santa, sleigh and reindeer inflatable to delight the small fry. An inflatable manger scene might be perfect to set the theme for your outdoor display. Other options include an inflatable snowman, Christmas tree, teddy bear or penguins. Be sure to plan the placement prior to making a purchase and then buying an inflatable that will fit into the spot you’ve selected.

  7. 6.Synchronized Display

    Synchronized Display

    If you’re up to the challenge, you might create a light display for your house and landscape, complete with multi-colored flood lights and standard lights synchronized to Christmas carols piped outdoors for everyone to hear. Even if you’re technically challenged, you still have options – buy a plug-and-play kit that combines the lighting and the music for a simple way to create a synchronized lighting display that will delight the whole neighborhood.

  8. 7.Lit Pathways

    Lit Pathways

    Illuminate your pathways, walkways, sidewalks and driveways with lights this holiday season. Adding ground lights to your landscape is an important feature to include because it balances out the lights you place on your house. If you light your house only and neglect to string light strands along the ground, your house will take on a strange “hovering” appearance at night because of the absence of lights along the ground. Ground-level lights come in blinking strands or separate stake lights for a bolder effect. If you use strands, connect each bulb to a stake and then drive the stakes into the ground. If you use stake lights, drive each one into the ground. When lining walkways and driveways in a snowy climate, keep the lights at least 8 inches away from the edge of the walkway or driveway to allow for snow removal without damaging the lights.

  9. 8.PVC Trees

    PVC Trees

    Even if your landscape doesn’t have the types of trees that are perfect for lighting, don’t let this stop you from adding beautiful lights to your front yard. Purchase PVC trees for your landscape, available in a variety of different colors and styles. Most PVC trees come in the standard Christmas tree style, with a star topper on top. Heights and sizes vary – purchase a tree that fits your yard and your budget.

  11. 9.Rooftop Displays

    Rooftop Displays

    As long as you can install decorations on the roof safely, don’t ignore this area for an outdoor display. What could be better than a sleigh and reindeer perched at the peak of your roof or a Santa on his way down the chimney? Even a hugely bright star suspended over your rooftop could be the perfect addition to your lighting display.

  12. 10.Entryways


    The front door and entryway of your home deserves some extra attention as you design a holiday display. Line the front door with strings of lights. Wrap the entire front door in weather-resistant wrapping paper for a festive display. Add a wreath to the front door, complete with twinkling lights. Flank the front door with miniature potted Christmas trees, bedecked with twinkling lights. If you have columns on a front porch, wind light strands around and around to add more twinkle to your entryway.


    As you design and decorate your exterior home and landscape, keep safety in mind to ensure that the holiday proceeds merrily. All lights and extension cords you use outdoors must have an outdoor rating. Don’t overload extension cords to avoid fire hazards. If hanging lights and decorations involves climbing ladders, work as a team with at least two people tackling the project. Never overreach while standing on a ladder installing lights or you could lose your balance and fall. By prioritizing safety in the pursuit of a dazzling holiday home, your end result will be a beautiful display for the neighborhood to enjoy. Visit the Red Beacon website for more helpful holiday tips and decorating advice, too.

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