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Let there be light – Outside

Posted by joeabbott on December 30, 2012

In my last post I looked at our static/non-electric decorations; now it’s time to move into the age of Edison and one of the best things about the Christmas season at our home: lights! It didn’t start out as my favorite aspect of the year but it certainly has become it: soft glowing lights and a peaceful ambiance. You can sit in nearly any room in our home and enjoy a good light display, especially outside!

The Basics

Every year we haul out boxes and while Suzy decorates the insides, I spend a chilly afternoon in the garage working on getting our outdoor deer lighted.


We have a herd of 16 deer, all of which have a power cord and require some minor maintenance. Since we put in the loft storage deck in the garage, it’s been easier to leave the deer assembled and just placed out-of-way. Now I just pull them down, put each one on a table I setup in the garage, plug it in, and figure out what’s not working. Many work out of the gate, but about 30% need some sort of fiddling to get all the lights working, all the parts strapped in and on, and making sure heads move. As much art as science.

Once that’s done, we place the deer about the yard … and a couple inside! Yup, we put two on the plant shelf inside (lighted, of course), two go in the front yard, but the rest are in the back! Two are in our small yard/lawn, two on the plateau, two in the raised planters, two on Cat Hill by the trees, a cluster of three by the stone path, and a loner out near stretch and the south gate. Additionally there are a couple lighted trees (two outside, another on the plant shelf with the deer) and a string of blue lights for the tree in the deck. It takes a couple days to set it up but once done we have a month of enjoyment!

We have all our lights (indoors and outdoors) on timers, from about 4:30PM to 10:30PM. I typically won’t turn on our normal house lights as I stroll about the lower level, instead enjoying the glow of the many things we have plugged in that are giving off light. If you’re read this far and are still interested, let’s take a tour.

P1050803Front Yard

It’s pretty simple: just two lighted deer. The one on the left is a bit fainter and a “new” deer in the group. We have purchased a number of our deer through after-season sales and this was an LED model. The manufacturer knew the lights were dim and so the wire frame they strung it on was made of a shiny/plastic sort of material that was designed to give a bit of extra sparkle. Hmmm … not seeing it.

This may be a good deer for putting farther out in the back: we need a goodly lighted deer for the front … like his partner!

The deer on the right is probably our best lighted deer. All the lights work, they’re bright, and strung on a bright white frame. It’s a good combination.

The blue glow above the well-lit deer is our indoor Christmas tree. I love the blue lights; it makes for a very calming room.

Backyard – lawn

P1050792The backyard deer are in several areas but the two closest to the house are a brown pair. The brown wire frame is covered with a wicker material that looks good in light and, at night, we get head movement from both of them. It’s a goodly pair.

P1050794View from the deck

There are a lot of views from the deck but this one looks up over our fountain (off for the season) and toward the coop. The blue-ish lights in the distance above the rear-most deer are some lights hanging off the gated entry to Chickenville.

The two columns in the foreground are a couple of trees that we place on either side of the fountain. You can’t see the blue lights on the tree in the deck but this is what you’d see if you were standing next to that tree.

Plateau deer

We have two deer on the plateau and another behind it by the gate. The two on the plateau are the center and right-most deer. These have been our stand-out brightness deer but the center guy is falling on hard times. I swear he had all his lights working when I put him out there but Suzy noted he looks more like a “deer constellation” than an actual deer just now. And, along with being very clever in her observations, she has a good point. And one I’ll look into when I’m putting them away.


The backyard

P1050798The overall backyard is hard to capture. One of the centerpieces has to be the tree in the middle of the deck; it’s a great focal point. As it’s close to the house, it can be a bit overwhelming for some of the fainter lights in the the yard.

The picture to the left shows most of the deer, although it misses the plateau and south gate deer. Still, a very nice picture of the fun lights in our yard.

To the right is our peeling bark maple. It’s a great tree and fun to decorate with lots of lights. It takes a bit of time but worth it when you can see what actually looks like a tree all in lights!


We have a few other views that I like and tried capturing but failed: the lights on our gate and the view from the coop looking toward the house. But, I’m sure if next year is anything like the previous ones, we’ll put a little time and effort into figuring something out and doing it up!

We’ve asked ourselves whether we should try and put more lights out front for our neighbors to enjoy but we realize that more of our time is spent looking out back: whether from the dinner table, my office, the downstairs, or even the den in which I play my video games. Those are the places that we see the most and enjoy, so we’ll likely continue to dress up the back yard for us and enjoy this small tradition for years to come.


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