When my sister changed out the chandelier in her dining room, she was left with an old brass chandelier that nobody could use. Rather than consign it to the bulk trash pile, she and her husband got creative, and today they have one of the coolest outdoor spaces imaginable: an outdoor dining room with a chandelier!
This isn’t a hard DIY project, but it takes some work and some planning. If you don’t feel comfortable with any step in the process, an electrician can do the wiring for you simply and quickly. It will just cost much more.
Before you get started, figure out where you want to hang your chandelier. If you have an umbrella without a center pole (one of the ones with an arch like this ) then you can use that as your chandelier hander as well. The wiring becomes simpler as well.
Otherwise, pick a sturdy tree limb that is high enough, at least 8 feet high, and then figure out how you want to run electricity to the tree trunk. You can use an extension cable from your house as well if you have an outdoor outlet, but you will need to make sure it is long enough and weatherproof.
Now, run your electric cable from your outlet source to your tree trunk. Carefully bury the wire in a nice, even trench, at least 18″ below the ground. This will ensure you don’t mow it over with the lawnmower. On the tree end, the outlet should come up out of the ground. Then put a weatherproof box over the outlet end as a safety precaution and mount that to the tree. More instructions can be found on the ACE hardware link at the end of the article.
Set Up the Chandelier
Suspend from your tree a large hook on a secure line. The hook should be large enough to easily catch the chandelier. Since you are using indoor lights outside, you want the mounting process to be easy! You will need to take the chandelier down when you are done with it so it doesn’t get rained on, so it must mount and remove easily and quickly. Hand the chandelier, and run the electric cable out to the outlet box. If the limb is large, an extension cord may be used.
Once everything is set up, power up the system and enjoy your new outdoor lighting!
Final Tips and Precautions
Outdoor lighting is normally sealed against the weather. Your DIY chandelier will look great, but it is still indoor lighting and should never be left out during the rain. If you need to remove it in a hurry due to rain, always remove power from the entire system by unplugging it at the house end FIRST. Electricity is always dangerous, and water only makes it worse.
Remember to take the time to disassemble the entire operation once you are done with it. Leaving it up overnight is a recipe for disaster when a sudden rainstorm hits or something else unexpected. Be very safe, since this is the safety of your house and your lives that you are playing with.
Sources: ACE Hardware: Installing Outdoor Lighting